Thursday, September 24, 2015

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it

I was mortified by the story of the Chicago TV station that used the yellow star of David, a Nazi emblem the European Jews were forced to wear so they could easily be herded onto trains for the death camps, in a Happy Yom Kippur story.  Obviously we have learned nothing from the past.

We are being overtaken by younger generations who are ignorant of the incredible amount of hard work that was required to get us to the place we are today.  I was at a writing meeting last night and a young member voiced her opinion that she was tired of hearing about what women and African Americans had gone through years ago and that they should “get over it already.”
I wanted to deck the poor kid, but instead, I tried my best to make her understand that the past should NEVER be “gotten over,” and indeed, needs to be remembered vividly and accurately.  She looked at me quizzically as I described what women my age had to tolerate from society and what women had sacrificed to make sure that she could get whatever job she wanted, be better paid, and have legal recourse for issues in her life that we didn’t have 50 years ago.

I tried to make her understand that discrimination was discrimination regardless of the genre:  gender, race, religion, sexual preference, or citizen status.  I pointed out that repression was unforgivable, and being ignorant of or forgetting that people died and suffered for the freedoms we have right now is unacceptable.

I hope she remembers what I said, because our history is not something we have to “get over already.”  It is something we need to hang onto for dear life, so we don’t get sucked into repeating its atrocities.