Critics have accused President Barack Obama of weakness for his apologetic tone in regard to events in our nation’s history. As the great nation we are, we cannot ignore our past or continue to view it through “red, white and blue” glasses.
The land that constitutes the United States was accumulated by the systematic genocide of the indigenous population. Whole civilizations were obliterated by the greed for land and minerals. Men, women and children were massacred, and their killers became national heroes. It is a tale of betrayal, broken treaties and a scorched-earth policy.
Once the land was stolen, it was built up on the backs of African slaves — another shameful chapter in our nation’s history. Once emancipated, the former slaves were subjected to Jim Crow laws, the Ku Klux Klan, lynchings and the roles of second-class citizens.
In our own time, we have seen questionable wars in Vietnam and Iraq, rampant violence, racism and political divisiveness.
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To know what we do right as a nation, we must understand what we have done that is wrong.
Sometimes it takes more strength to apologize than it does to defend a shameful past.
Tom Bauer, Morro Bay