A Tale Of Two Cultures

In 1859 Charles Dickens wrote the historical novel A Tale of Two Cities. A story centered around London England and Paris France before/during the French Revolution. It has been referred to as the best selling novel of all time (and certainly must be in the top 10, assuming it is even taught in schools these days) and it opens with the iconic line:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

You can find an online copy of the work here (at Project Gutenberg).

Today I do not have a question, but rather an observation of how little things change and what great opportunities we (as a society, as a Nation, and even as a World) have before us to learn Truth and to apply lessons from history in order to help make all of our lives better.

One might consider the similarities between the events of 1789 in France and what is occurring in the USA today in 2020 (231 years apart) in that both are predicated by social and political unrest that affected (and affects) everyone in the land. In other words, it was a National, social and political upheaval. Oh sure, there were pockets of events, within cities, small towns, and even neighborhoods, but the prevailing mood was not just contained in small areas. It was felt Nationally and was seen around the world.

And before you get too far down the path trying to pick the analogy apart, let me just point out that it is not all that original of an idea. This story from the Daily Signal references a tweet from Senator Lindsey Graham with the same observation.

And No, I did not know of Senator Graham’s tweet when I started authoring this post, but I generally like to do a little due diligence before I post something. And even with Senator Graham’s tweet, I decided to go ahead with the conversation because I believe it is relevant.

And yes, I also realize there are those that are simply going to dismiss the analogy because it is Senator Graham‘s tweet. Because those of you who hold such wisdom have been elected to (what is arguably) the most significant legislative body in the world today. Right? Perhaps you might want to rethink your ability to assimilate and interpret data.

And whether you agree with the analogy or not, there are a couple of very interesting comparisons. You might say that today is “The best of times”. In all of human history we, as a people, have more than has ever been had before. Which is pretty funny when you consider that the #BlackLivesMatter revolution is being fought out of air conditioned homes, run off an abundance of fine food (and I don’t care if we’re talking McDonalds hamburgers here, compared to what the French were eating during their revolution, that is pretty fine dining), enjoying the benefits of social media, and traveling around in air conditioned autos with Dolby stereo systems in them. The French revolutionaries had it much harder I assure you. You might also say that today is “The worst of times” in that there is more political and social upheaval in the country than any of us has known within our lifetimes. Another interesting comparison is that both periods tried (and are trying) to remove perceived ills from the world. When the French tore down the Monarchy, they ended up with a Dictator (in Napoleon) before they got to the desired democracy. Let’s certainly hope that history doesn’t repeat itself there.

But the comparisons of the French Revolution and the state of social and political upheaval in the USA today are not what I want draw your attention to. They are merely illustrative of how history repeats itself and how we can learn valuable lessons if we only open our eyes and our minds and seek wisdom.

What is a little closer to home is the sheer lunacy that is occurring with the #BlackLivesMatter movement ripping down statues of Christopher Columbus, Frederick Douglas, and our founding fathers (stories here, here, here, and here – search for ‘statues torn down’ if you want to read more). The argument for all of this wanton destruction and terror is that they depict ‘white supremacy’. We cannot know the pain that a black person feels when they walk past one of these statues or memorials.

Well guess what? You cannot possibly know the pain that I feel when I visit a WW-II memorial, or an American Civil War battlefield where #WhiteLIvesMatter fought and died just so #BlackLivesMatter could have the privilege today to tear down all the memorials because they are too painful to walk by. But I don’t want to tear any of them down. Rather the contrary. I want my children’s, children’s, children to see them and to understand that freedom isn’t free. It is bought and paid for with a price.

What my friends over at #BlackLivesMatter might want to consider is the consequences of their actions (and I mean for their children’s children). Take another group, #JewishLivesMatter. Do you think the Jewish people want to erase all remnants of WW-II and the holocaust? Quite the opposite. They build memorials and museums all over the world to remind people of what they went through. Why? Because they don’t want people to deny that it ever happened. They don’t want history swept under the rug. And if you think that #JewishLivesMatter are being a little too paranoid, consider these kooks here, and here, and the fact that it is a prevalent enough theory to warrant a Wikipedia article (here).

And the sheer irony of the matter will be, that one day, when slavery has been erroneously erased from American History, it will be #BlackLivesMatter that will have been the cause and will have brought down the consequences upon themselves.

So before the protesting continues, before more statues and memorials are torn down, before we rewrite any more of history than has already been rewritten, perhaps #BlackLivesMatter might want to take a page out of #JewishLivesMatter playbook and consider:

Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;

Deuteronomy 4:9

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