history is here!

If you’ve read anything from Footsteps before, you are probably aware that I, the author, am a student trying to earn a degree in English.  What I don’t think I’ve revealed here before is that I also plan on obtaining a history minor.  I’d love to double major, but for now I’m starting small with just a second minor.  When I finally made the decision to go for a history degree, my mother was overjoyed.  I knew she’d been crossing her fingers, hoping for such news.  She knew that my love of history dates back almost as far as my love for English.  While I’ve never been good with dates or names, I always loved the stories.  


But reading those stories in history always left me with questions.  One of which being:  Where did all the heroes go?  I couldn’t understand why history was always in the past and no new tales of bravery ever popped up.    As a child, I always preferred world history, because there was more of it.  But for the purpose of my topic, I’m going to focus on American history.  In school, I learned about Paul Revere, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin. I was told the stories of Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Sojourner Truth.  These people were America.  When the world looked at us, those individuals–and each of their actions–is what they saw.  I was young, but not too naive to realize that people with that caliber of character were of a time long-past and did not exist today.  I realized that America’s glory-days of heroism were over, only to be cherished in history books. 


When I got older and took a long look at modern times, only one exception came in my bleak outlook of American valor: I was impressed with the heroes of 9/11.  We haven’t seen courage like that in decades.  But even those amazing acts seemed to fade as Americans fell into the stagnant, dull routine of life.  They got a line or two in a couple history books that recently underwent reprints for updates, but other than that, 9/11 was only discussed as an argument in the war in Iraq debate.  “Have you forgotten 9/11”  “We invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11”, etc.


I’ve kept asking myself, over the years, Where are the heroes?  Our recent election seemed to produce the antithesis of heroes.  Politics may not be stagnant, but it sure is ugly.  I’ve heard the claim that we are no longer separated as “Democrats” and “Republicans” but the parties of “Corrupt” and “Stupid.”  I was really upset by this election.  Not the results–I didn’t vote for President Obama, but I had the attitude of “Que Sera, Sera”  (what will be, will be.)  What I got so worked up at was the rude people, illogical arguments, nasty and underhanded attacks and just how inhumane I was witnessing my fellow Americans (on both sides of the political aisle) act.  I mourned that our history book would recall my generation negatively.  I mean, its great to defend your beliefs, but if your beliefs are illogical, unfounded, corrupt…what pride is in that?


I now see hope!  America has come alive!  I’m not even sure how it happened, but our last nerve finally got stepped on and hear us roar!  The people finally understand that they are supposed to hold the power in our democracy.  I’ve always tried to keep up-to-date on the news, but never has it been so much fun.  Watching the news makes me feel like I’m living in my history book!  Is it crass to claim that watching our nation fall apart and yell at each other is “fun”?  Maybe.  But it is not so much the issue I care about as the fact that we are finally sticking up for ourselves.


This is one of my favorite demonstration videos: 



To quote Senator Spector, YES–that was democracy in action. 



In this video, Senator McCaskill voiced a question that a lot of people want to know.  She said two things: 1) she didn’t understand the rudeness 2) Do you think you’re persuading people by shouting out?   I’d like to address those comments.


1) Yes.  It’s rude.  There’s no doubt.  But people have been “nice” for years.  We’ve let our senators and congressman do whatever they pleased, only sending an e-mail or a short phone call to express opinions when we found it necessary.  But what we found was that our politicians vote by their opinions, not ours.  They go with their own personal agenda as much as they can until they’re afraid of sacrificing votes for re-election. Politics is one big, sick game.  We’re tired of it.  Now, not all politicians are corrupt.  But the American people have reached a point where it doesn’t matter.  We just don’t like politicians, period.  All across the nation we are treating them as the bad guys, the enemies, because that is how we view them.  That may not be good or fair…but its the way it is.


2) We aren’t trying to persuade anyone with our shouting.  During election time, debates got heated, people acted rudely and no one knew with 100% surety what the other side was trying to say.  That upset me.  It angered me because, as Senator McCaskill pointed out, you can’t convince people that your views are legit by yelling.  However, I’m supporting this and here’s why: the time to yell has come.   We aren’t trying to debate, we’re trying to get our voice heard.  The politicians who get to vote on this bill are already known and most will vote the way they meant to in the beginning, regardless of the protesters.  We know that our voice doesn’t matter anymore–not like it did during election, anyway.  But we want to make it loud and clear that there is opposition to what is going on and watch out at election time!


I don’t know how the Health Care debate will turn out, but I can’t wait to pick up a history book and read about these everyday “Joe’s” putting the elite politicians in their place.  I really do think this issue will get worse and I think it will grow to such proportions that our history books will take note of it.


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