America has recently seen a number protests and debates taking place regarding the removal of Confederate statues, and it gave me food for thought. It’s about time that the issue was brought up and discussed because this is a conversation which is painful and uncomfortable, but necessary. Why am I writing about this, though?! I felt compelled to write about it because we are all fighting a similar battle in our own personal lives. Everybody has a past, and within it there are many instances which we now look back on with regret, embarrassment, anger or disgust. The question is; do we confront these events and look at what led to their passing so that we can learn from them? Or do we simply pretend as though they never happened at all?!
With regards to the statues, I understand both sides of the argument, and both parties have valid arguments. Those who want the statues removed argue that they are a painful reminder of a very dark period in America’s history. The interests of the rich and powerful led to a race of people being brutally enslaved and suffering unspeakable pain and suffering. Greed and the pursuit of money took priority over empathy. Furthermore, there are a minority of warped individuals who glorify and celebrate the atrocities of this period, and actually believe in racial superiority. Words fail me as to how people like this still exist, but they crave attention and we mustn’t give it to them. The other side of the argument is that the statues provide a warning and a lesson. The Confederates fought to preserve the status quo and protect the oppressors committing these unspeakable acts on other humans for a profit, so their statues are painful to see in public places. It is important, however, that every trace of them is not removed and forgotten about, because as long as the statues remain their victims have a voice and are remembered. They provide a warning as to the dangers of prioritising profit over people, something which is still relevant today. They also serve as a memorial to those who suffered during this brutal period.
The past is often littered with painful reminders but I don’t believe that shying away from them is healthy. They needs to be confronted if we we are to make sure they never happens again. If we are able to look at a particular period in a nation’s, or our own personal, history and identify the actions and decisions which may have led to whatever happened, we become better equipped to ensure that it never happens again. We become aware of certain triggers or warning signs, which we can act on to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself. Failure to confront it only leads to the same issues potentially arising again later.
It is important not to dwell on past events too long as this will hinder us as we try to move forward. We do, however, need to reflect on our past before we try to bury it and move on. In this way, we move forward stronger and wiser.
In order to provide the best future for its people, a nation must confront it’s past, no matter how painful.or uncomfortable. There are valuable lessons to be learned. Much is the same with us and past events. Doing our best to forget about the bad times, or pretending as though the events never happened, is certainly the easiest path to take but it really doesn’t help us to learn and grow. If we want to lead fulfilling and successful lives, we need to confront our pasts and learn from them. In this way, we learn from our mistakes so that we can avoid repeating them in the future.
Forget the mistake but remember the lesson