Is history no longer important?


Our country, these United States, seems to be stumbling through a time of confusion and disruption. I’m not sure if it is a result of our ever declining educational system or a severe bout of malaise and hypocrisy. Has our history been exaggerated, manipulated or simply forgotten?

For example, why is it that immigration is such an overwhelming issue when we are all immigrants, except for the people who greeted our forefathers. Old Henry Ford had an Irish father and Belgian mother; Edison was Canadian: Fermi, Italian; Einstein, German; Koch brothers, Dutch. And then there’s Steve Jobs, whose biological father was Syrian and his mother Swiss/German. His adoptive parents were German and Armenian.

Our great country was built on the sweat equity of the pilgrims, pioneers, industrialists and anyone willing to contribute to help the nation to grow.

We have had 44 presidents, all with ancestors from elsewhere. Thirty-eight came from the British Isles, four were Dutch, two German and one had an African father.

The current occupant of the White House is a German- Scot first generation American. The first First Lady born outside the U.S came from London. The current First Lady was born in Slovenia.

We have 50 states, the very first being Georgia, the last Hawaii. Being born in any of those states means automatic citizenship. If you’re not a citizen, you, of course, don’t get to be president.

The flag that flies over our 50 states has it’s own history — some fact, some fiction. Betsy Ross did not make the first flag. We do not dip the flag to any thing or person because it is considered a living thing representing a living country. That means, other than as a pin or patch, you do not wear it, eat off it or paint it on your face.

The National Anthem, that poem written by a lawyer in a war no one remembers, is about a flag, one with 13 stars. While there are strict rules for the military to follow, the decision to sit, stand or kneel when the anthem is played is a matter of one’s conscience or belief, not a mandatory regulation. Trust the First Amendment on this one.

Our Constitution was written at a time when 20 percent of the Colonists were of English extraction, third and fourth generation. Sixty percent of the Continental Congress spoke passable English, sometimes even needing an interpreter. ( By the way, as a nation of immigrants, we have no official national language.) In 1787, five distinguished new citizens of the United States invited a group of distinguished Native Americans to provide insight and input into that hallowed document. After all, the Five Nations of the Iroquois had lived under their own Constitution since 1605. Theirs consisted of three main principles: peace, equity or justice and the power of good minds.

Imagine that, the power of good minds. The people of the United States, for the most part, have good minds. Which is why I ask, is history no longer important?

Lee Ann Messimer