To most people, history is something to love or loathe – the endless parade of dates and wars that chronicle the stupidity – and temporary overcoming of stupidity – that is almost exclusively male-centric. For others, history is something less publicised and more personal, an exploration of some facet either connected to or of interest to them.
In my family, my mom is the genealogical guru, researching family branches for over thirty years now. She’s found interesting stuff, most especially the trail leading back to Susannah Martin North and five other Salem witchcraft trial defendants.
There is a story – what is there not to enjoy reading about the tryals? There are false accusations, sensational accusations, people summarily arrested and tried, if found guilty a sentence of death, yet if they ‘admitted’ their witchery, they could go free. Add in a community running on ignorance and superstition, fearful of an unknown they believe existed but had no proof thereof, and it all adds up to a wild story, with tragic consequences. And my grandmother, eight generations removed, swung from a rope twined out of that lunacy.
What of us, the learned 21st century peoples? We are above such accusations, we’d never fall for such imagined spookery. Yeah, right. Ever listen, read, or watch American political debates? With the campaign monetary regulations pretty much toast, we are in wild west campaign mode now. Anything goes, no matter how inane, and it will get worse in the coming months.
With no challenge to Obama on the left, all the noise will come on the right, where an array of candidates run around claiming Obama is the worstest presidential villain, responsible for out of control spending, loss of jobs, and who knows what else. Facts are not part of this equation, what matters are only clever sound bites for rebroadcast and retweeting. Never mind the man is the most committed compromiser of my lifetime, trying to bring left and right to some sort of uneasy governing partnership, it is all his fault. I know what life can be like playing that middle role… people shoot at you from both sides.
So what do we do? Left digs in its heels (and at this point, I feel my heels sinking in mud) while right digs in its heels, and all of us point at the man waving us to move to the middle for a congenial chat. “It’s all your fault!” we scream as one, the only thing political we may all agree on in some way, left because he doesn’t get down and dirty as Truman would have – so it’s unanimous.
We are all wrong. One person is right, because he’s the only damn one willing to work with everyone, and he’s centred in a twelve lane road, cars whizzing by him from both directions, uninterested in the reasonable propositions of man in the middle.