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Thursday, February 4, 2016

We Americans Don't Seem to Learn From History


This week, I watched the first screening of PBS' Murder of a President  on American Experience, telling the story of US President James Garfield, his life, his deeply tragic assassination and death 200 days later.

James Garfield

It was fascinating to the point of riveting. Such great and deep history. Sad it isn't taught in our schools. Seems he was a brilliant man who fought for the people and even for the slaves of the nation, a very welcome rarety.

Too bad we don't still, to this day, have such Republicans.

Anyway, it pointed out to me, once more, how we Americans don't learn from history and I'll tell you why.

We all know our President Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed, also tragically and needlessly, in 1865, at the hands of a mad man.

At the time, Presidents didn't have security guards and protection. So the assassin came in, had access to the President and shot and killed him easily, if horribly enough.

You would think we would, as a nation, learn something from that, right? Like that we need to protect our presidents?

Nah.

We're Americans. Learn something?  Heck, no. Not from the past, not from recent history, nothing.

16 years later---sixteen whole, long years---then-President James Garfield, still unprotected, was headed to a train station, rather famously as it was in the newspaper, for pity's sake, so a crazy man came up and shot him, repeatedly. It didn't kill him instantly but soon enough, it was done.

No body guards. No protection. Nothing.

So a couple centuries later, do you think we'd learn anything from, say another countries military foray into another country?

Do you think we'd pay any attention to the world and international, military history of, say, France, that had attacked and fought the people of Vietnam?

Oh, hell, no.

Go ahead. Attack. Go in. Think you're going to win. Think you're going to win the people over. With bombs.

We all know how that went.

Couple decades later?

Not just one nation but two.

Iraq?  Afghanistan?

Oh, heck, yes, let's attack.

Forget that the British and Soviets both attacked and fought and were repelled and in effect beaten in these places and by these people.

Ignore it.  Go ahead and attack.

We're Americans.

We don't need to learn from history.


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