• Dana Webster

History ... Repeat

Updated: Feb 6

I've been wracking my brain trying to find something nice to write about. Or, if not nice, at least positive. But I seem to be stuck in a relentless groove of yuck. It scares me and saddens me to see people carrying Nazi and Confederate flags out in the open, with pride, as if it has anything at all to do with Canadian values. Imagine being the guy who thinks genocide is cool.

I happen to love history. Not the what war was when history which is full of meaningless dates and where women apparently didn't exist. Have you noticed that? History is populated by white guys. Don't get me wrong, I come from a long line of white guys but I am also borne of women who, to hear history tell it, did nothing but stand around in the kitchen while the real work of killing people was left to the men. Too reductive?


I hope kids are learning a different, more inclusive history now. I had to wait till I got to University and signed up for Women's Studies courses before I found out about women's role in our evolution. And also, as an aside, that Black and Asian women wrote brilliant novels. Sheesh.


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. (George Santayana-1905). Over and over again, as it turns out.


Do you remember the days when smokers could and did smoke anywhere and everywhere? My mom was a chain smoker. My dad, too. There isn't a single photo of my mom without a smouldering butt between her fingers. She smoked in the grocery store, in the car, at restaurants, whilst shopping for clothes, and of course all day long at home. Meanwhile, we kids sucked it all in.


Second-hand smoke laws were enacted to protect bystanders from the toxins they did not choose to ingest but could not avoid. We all understand now how deadly secondhand smoke is. Isn't refusing to get a vaccine the same thing? Spreading a preventable virus like Covid should not be left to individual choice because this is about the greater good, not personal "freedoms". Seems like a no-brainer to me.


And honestly, there are SO many more social ills one could put their energies toward. I totally get the frustrations, the anger, the being fed up with so much that is unfair and just plain wrong in our society, I really do. I just don't think the refusal to get a vaccine is the hill I'd want to die on. Literally.


I do believe that on a long-range scale, we are moving toward a more just, more inclusive, more accepting society. Things have changed a lot since I was a kid growing up in the 60s and 70s. We are moving in the right direction but, what is that science thing? For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, pushback. None of us likes change; it can be very uncomfortable. Most of us go kicking and screaming into a new understanding, a new way of being. Some of us simply dig in our heels, rage and rant, until we wear ourselves out. Others do their best to hold back progress. to put the genie back in the bottle once it's been released and that never turns out well.


I think those who are refusing to give up their comforts and their privileges, are in the death throes of protest. And honestly, if you're arguing against the right of all human beings to comfort, safety, and prosperity, you're on the wrong side of history.


And that's the best I can do this week. Last word goes to Willie Nelson.



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