I have an affinity for history. I spent my academic life studying it. I’ve spent my life since then reading as many books about it as I can get my hands on. I haven’t always agreed with the conclusions drawn by those authors. Some of them seemed to go out of their way to disregard major events and themes of the times of which they wrote. Even good historians get it wrong now and then. New facts overturn the old and our basis of knowledge and understanding in the field grows day by day and year by year.
What never occurred to me, then or now, is to be ashamed of our history – not even the ugly parts. It’s our history. Good and bad. It’s what made us. Sure, we can choose to ignore it. We can re-write it to conform to our collective national “sensitivities.” We can become apologists, tripping over ourselves to hide or disavow the deeds of the past. None of that changes the past though – not the real past – not what actually happened.
It’s our history. As someone who’s spent three decades with a healthy respect for it, I won’t hide from it or cleanse it to serve the purpose of the day. I won’t be ashamed of it to conform to the whims of the moment… and I damned well won’t apologize for it.