HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES---ARE WE GOING TO HAVE A HOPEFUL FUTURE OR ARE WE GOING TO BE ANGRY ALL THE TIME?
Here is a history of the United States (And to some extent of all the Americas as well.) * Indicates Black people get raw deal in the process.
1. A land empty of people and with many big animals
Image of Giant Sloth by Apokryltaros.
2. The Bering Land Bridge allows people to come to North America. These people play a role in killing many of the big animals. (And increasingly, there are new ideas about when folks first arrived in our hemisphere.)
(Picture is of possible scope of land during last ice age.)
3. In time, Europeans come and establish an uneasy balance of personal, military and trading relationships with the descendants of the people who arrived before. *
(Drawing is of arrival of Pierre Radisson at an Indian camp in New France in 1660.)
4. Enough Europeans arrive over the years so that any balanced relationship with native inhabitants can be ended by wholesale slaughter and taking of land. *
5. Anglo settlers make use of the land they took. They plant farms and build cities. They do these things for better and worse. *
(Painting is George Caleb Bingham's Jolly Flatboatmen from 1846.)
6. Self-appointed and often very decent and effective civilizers and progressives work for better education, better working conditions, the arts and urban parks. Later the descendants of the progressives focus on food trucks, street art & taxpayer subsidized entertainment districts. *
(Picture is of Jane Addams.)
7. The descendants of folks who killed the natives and cleared the land join police forces, fire departments and the military. (They also make sure for as long as possible that folks different from themselves can't join these things.) In return for the dirty work, these folks are looked down upon, sold-out and sent to wars based on lies. *
(Picture is of Minneapolis police officer directing traffic in 1959.)
8. Some in working classes blame everybody but themselves for their decline after years of voting for people who played to their fears and worst instincts and despite the benefits of the land and labor they took from others. *
(Picture is of Governor George Wallace of Alabama blocking integration.)
9. Hopeful and peaceful Civil Rights movement and other movements inspired by Civil Rights movement expands freedom for all Americans.
(Picture is of Martin Luther King.)
10. Despite the gains in everyday freedom, Cold Cultural Civil War goes on and on while rich get richer and decent full time jobs become ever more difficult to obtain. Permanent elites of all ideological stripes prosper while many fight for just scraps. *
(Picture is of man carrying open gun in a Burger King in Colorado.)
11. All the years after the initial migrations to North America, the arrival of Columbus, 1776 & the Civil War, everyday Americans are left with the everyday decision to be hopeful and to fight back against ignorance and entrenched privilege, or to instead give up with apathy and anger. The work of freedom is up to each of us.
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