Saturday, November 28, 2015

Parenting, History, Politics

When you are a parent, you get credit you don't deserve and blame you don't deserve.  Early in our marriage, my wife mentioned with warm nostalgia that her father had often - perhaps even always - made pancakes for his children every Saturday morning. Sometime in those early years of adulthood, she mentioned this to her parents.  Her father looked puzzled.  Her mother looked irritated and said that her husband had made pancakes a few times on Saturdays when the children were small, but it was not anything like a regular occurrence.

Stuart deserved great praise for many things he did, but not, apparently, pancakes.

Those who come after assign blame and credit inaccurately
"You never went to any of my games/dance recitals/award ceremonies!"
I MISSED THREE IN TEN YEARS, AND ONE WAS BECAUSE I WAS IN THE HOSPITAL!

"At least my real mother always listened to me."
 ONCE.  SHE STAYED UP UNTIL MIDNIGHT LISTENING TO YOU ONCE WHEN YOU WERE FOURTEEN!

It's just the way life is.  One of my cliches is "Do not judge your parents until your own children are grown." It has been true in my life.  I now forgive my parents of things I once said were unforgivable.  I now understand that they had huge failings I overlooked when I was young, but absolutely deserve blame for now.
*****
The same thing happens in history.  The recent Thanksgiving example is the "Pilgrims.*" 

Say what you will about the Maritimes, and the Virginians, Marylanders, and Spanish. They had different vices, different virtues. Different decades, different aims, different economies. It doesn't all just meld together as "white people." Nor were the native tribes much alike over hundreds of miles.  They'd be the first to point that out.

The Pilgrims were not refugees. If you encounter a writer who claims that, stop reading.  If you are very tolerant and read farther, the odds are 20-1 you will be wasting your time. People only write such foolishness when they hope to parlay it into some political advantage now.

The Pilgrims/Puritans/Strangers/Colonists/Fishermen/Adventurers deserve a lot of criticism.  They did terrible things, to the natives, to other Europeans, and to each other.  You can debate whether they were worse than anyone else on any Atlantic coast or just Regular Selfish Bastards, but they clearly did bad things.  Just not the things they get blamed for now.  They get credit for a pre-American democratic sentiment they don't deserve, and blamed for oppression they never engaged in.

The Dark Ages weren't (dark).  The Holy Roman Empire wasn't (though that denial is equally flawed).  The Crusades weren't. The Civil War wasn't.

Sort of like parents.

 *Not identical to Puritans.  Not identical to Puritans.  Not identical to Puritans.  And there were other colonists anyway.

******

You wouldn't think that people could be much crazier than Trump supporters, but Trump critics have them beat by a mile. It's rather an echo of the Sarah Palin phenomenon.  She wasn't qualified to be one-heartbeat-away-from-the-presidency, but she was way less crazy than her critics.  The Donald is not a fascist. You don't have to go full-screaming-Hitler to see this, you can just contemplate the much-admired Mussolini or Franco to see this.  Do a sample body count, or even potential body count.

He is a buffoon, which should be an automatic disqualifier for the presidency, and he is also a blowhard, which should be a disqualifier but isn't. He is blamed for saying things he didn't and advocating things he doesn't, yet he also gets credit from disaffected Republicans for being a conservative hope, which is just about as insane.

Cue Hillary and Bernie supporters, who are often decent people who believe entirely backward things about their candidate. The feminist candidate has done a great job harming women over the last 25 years, and the anti-1% candidate supports policies that will favor the rich in the long run (though he does agree with Trump about limiting immigration. in order to protect th3e native-born poor).

******
Spend a moment right now.  Whatever you are sure you are right about, ask yourself, as the medieval rabbis did "Is the opposite also true?"

6 comments:

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Sam L. said...

In the Air Force, we would have filed this post under "Nuking From Orbit". A DAMN FINE job of it, you did, Mr. AVI! My sincere congrats and admiration!

Grim said...

So, am I to understand that they are not identical to Puritans?

Texan99 said...

Hey, even Puritans had their good points. They were rebelling against some things for excellent reasons, even if we tend to remember them mostly from The Scarlet Letter or The Crucible.

RichardJohnson said...

As my parents are long gone, there is no way to check up on our respective memories.One memory I have is that my father prepared Christmas breakfast with the following: scrambled eggs, kielbasa from a local meatpacking plant [much jucier and tastier than what one buys today], and a coffee cake with a crispy topping. My memory of my father cooking is correct, as he took charge of a lot of the cooking when my mother was bedridden for years. It wasn't a one or two shot affair. Moreover, he still prepared the Christmas breakfast after my mother was in good health.

But your story about pancakes reminded me of a childhood memory of a record, which YouTube confirmed: Peter Please, It's Pancakes. I didn't remember all the story lines, but the melody did ring a bell.

Re Pilgrims and Puritans: a neighbor of mine in NE informed me that there was a street in a not far away city with the same name as his mother's maiden name. The family wasn't big on genealogy, so they never told me, but I found out that the famous ancestor was one of the Hanging Judges that decided the fate of Charles I.

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