Just the facts, please
0 comment Friday, September 26, 2014 |
Today my attention was caught by an interesting story out of Jamestown, Virginia, where a couple of events have been in the news. First, this minor story: Descendants of Algonquin tribes, whose ancestors supposedly greeted the Jamestown settlers, traveled to England where they are being feted by authorities; the Indians in turn are complaining about the lack of formal recognition of their tribes by the U.S. government.
Surely there could have been more to write about, in this meeting of two peoples. There ought to be some interesting angle to the experience of these American Indians in England, and the viewpoint of the English people on this visit from an Indian delegation. But no, the story devolved into the preferred template of the leftist news media: victims and guilty oppressors, the necessary ingredients for a good agitprop piece. Injustice, unfairness, racism. Same old, same old.
The Chicago Sun-Times ran this story, with the comical headline 'Pocahontas' ancestors journey to England.'
Someone apparently needs to look up the meanings of 'ancestor' and 'descendant.
The article is an AP piece, by Sarah Ball, who seemingly believes Pocahontas to be an 'ancestor' of the delegation of Indians visiting England. However, presumably the Indians who went to England could not be Pocahontas' descendants, given that she married colonist John Rolfe and went to England, where she died in 1617.
It looks like the state of the English language is as imperiled as our American history and culture, when journalists, who make their living with words, don't know the meaning of common terms like 'ancestor' and 'descendant'.
Such is America in 2006.
The next story involving Jamestown promised to be more interesting and exciting: a number of well-preserved artifacts were found in a well at the location of the first English settlement. Among the artifacts was a well-preserved snaphaunce pistol, apparently Scottish-made.
The pistol is among the oldest artifacts of European origin found in North America, and seems to have created a stir among the archeologists at the site.
And Richard Luscombe in the Scotsman writes about the find; the article is titled, 400-year-old pistol found on site of first American colonists.
Depressingly, and altogether predictably, the very first comment posted below the article at the Scotsman website on the article was one from an Aberdeen woman, 'Marina' who says, unctuously:
Isn't it rather sad, and prophetic, that the earliest artifact found from settlers to the New World is a pistol.
So there seems to be no escape from the politicizing of everything; this discovery should, in a saner world, be a chance to get a glimpse of our ancestors and how they lived; an opportunity to learn and to examine these rare finds from four centuries ago. But instead, the usual suspects have to turn it into another cultural skirmish: the holier-than-thou anti-gun prohibitionists are up on their moral high horses again.
However, to the credit of some of the subsequent commenters at the Scotsman website, they take this self-righteous gun-phobic zealot to task.
American commenters 'Peggy' and 'Steve' offer some very to-the-point responses to the gun-hating commenter. Peggy and Steve obviously live in the real world, in which firearms are sometimes a necessary tool for survival, not evil devices meant only to commit mayhem and murder.
The plain and simple fact is that without firearms and other such weapons, the Jamestown colony would not have survived. Sentimental, goody-two-shoes pacifists like some of the Scotsman commenters would not have lasted in the Jamestown colony or in any other colony. My colonist ancestors survived, against the odds, and firearms and other such defensive weapons no doubt were essential to their survival.
It is greatly depressing and maddening to me, as an American, and as a direct descendant of many Jamestown colonists, that so many of the liberal-minded commenters see this story as merely a pretext for preachifying about American militarism and 'aggression' and about the mythical 'genocide' of the American Indians. It's genuinely exasperating and an affront to people like me that our ancestors' lives are nothing more than fodder for political sermons and moralizing on the part of the po-faced leftist types.
All I have to say to those judgmental phonies is: leave my ancestors out of your morality plays; stop using and exploiting my kin in your Manichaean good-vs.-evil melodrama.
Stop trying to squeeze everything in history into your narrow modern-day preconceptions and dogmas. This present age is not the repository of all wisdom and enlightenment; we are not the epitome of human enlightenment, despite the self-satisfied beliefs of the present generation.
It's high time we regained some healthy respect for past ages, and for our ancestors who after all bequeathed life to us. We would not exist if not for them, and most of the freedoms, privileges, and comforts we enjoy and take for granted would not exist either, but for their strength, wisdom, toughness, and determination.
I just wish for a day when we could open a newspaper, or watch a newscast which presented us with 'just the facts, ma'am', minus all the editorializing and sermonizing and agitprop. Just give us facts and information and let us think for ourselves. There is a place for opinion and editorializing, but we need a media that presents us with facts and information, not cookie-cutter ideology.
I wonder what our forebears would think, if they could have foreseen that our right to free expression (and the right to bear arms, for that matter) would be so threatened? Would they have bothered to win our freedoms for us if they could have known how easily we would acquiesce to the weakening of our freedoms?
If only we could re-learn to exercise our right to think freely, and to express ideas freely, in defiance of PC strictures. The blogosphere is at present one of the last refuges of free speech and the free exchange of ideas, and thank goodness for it. But we need to work at reclaiming lost ground in this war of ideas and philosophies.