Letting our historical past be our information

CO Montgomery

I really enjoyed my latest edition of The Log Chain, published by the Hancock County Historical Society. It’s well written and insightful. This month’s edition focuses on Black History Month and race ethnicity in Hancock County.

One article that piqued my interest was an article about Jared C. Meek, the first child born in a green field. Mark Sullivan describes the ethical background of Greenfield and Hancock Counties well. Even in the early days of our county we had a diverse ethnicity. It then consisted of a few Indian tribes, mainly the Delaware Indians. My friend and ex-neighbor Mike Kester is the company’s president.

Another friend of mine, Joe Skvarenina, wrote about George Knox. I have had the pleasure of working with Joe on some of his many books. George Knox, who was black, was a very successful barber, Civil War veteran, former slave, and later an influential newspaper man.

I found the comments from “The Log Chain” very timely. Our country is in a very divisive time and situation. Why so? Some would say it’s because we Republicans caused it. Others would say it’s because the Democrats took over; and President Joe Biden tries to undo the Trump years. I state it’s a bit of both. Please become a history student. Please, people, stop trying to blame any party or ideology.

These ideological arguments have been an ongoing discussion since our Founding Fathers broke off from England. Has history taught us anything? Yes, it has. It taught us that while mortal men are in command, we mortals are likely to make a mess.

I recently came across a tweet from author Jon Gordon. “Think about everything that you are worried and stressed about. Think about the people you are angry at and the battles you are involved in. Now remember that one day you will die. It may sound sick, but it’s true. How would you like to end up spending your time and less energy? Love more. Fight less. “

The interesting thing about our history in Hancock County is that it is naturally tied into the history of our country. In a previous column, I wrote that politics and social unrest are indeed cyclical. Today there is talk of certain states leaving the United States. Some have argued that this is a constitutional right. Sorry folks, it’s not that. In 1869 the Supreme Court ruled that a unilateral spin-off was unconstitutional. Oddly enough, the same Supreme Court said that revolution or consent could lead to a successful secession. In the years 1860 and 1861, 11 southern states declared their resignation. As everyone knows, they founded the Confederate States of America. It collapsed in 1865 with the defeat of the Union armies.

Well, I ask you folks in 2021, do we really want another civil war? I clearly say NO! George Orwell’s famous book “1984” tells of a future world in which “Big Brother” would watch you. Well folks, 1984 will soon be four decades in the rearview mirror. Orwell’s predictions have come true. Interestingly enough, Steve Jobs wasn’t born until about six years after Orwell’s book. Thanks to Steve Jobs, we have the iPhone these days. Technology is great. I am also telling you that it offers the technology to spread discord.

I’ve lived long enough to eyewitness (via technology) much of the unrest, from the Democratic Convention of 1968 to the January 6th attempt to hijack our national capitol.

So where are we going with all of this? From the earliest settlement of Hancock County to the attempted takeover of our government, my assumption is that while mortal men are in command, we will continue to have chaos. Does it have to be like that? The answer is “somehow”.

I ask you again to become a history student. It has been said that if we do not study history we are doomed to repeat it. I firmly believe that. God makes us mortals very passionate people. If we truly believe in our ideals, we are ready to die for them. I pretend we must all find a way to get along for the sake of humanity.

Another famous saying goes like this: madness does the same thing over and over and expects different results. I claim we have to study history, not rewrite it. We definitely have to find a way to get along.

CO Montgomery of New Palestine is a former teacher and former trustee of Sugar Creek Township. He is now on the board of directors of Love INC.

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