[NB: I wrote this letter to the editor about ten days ago and sent it to the Spokesman-Review. They contacted me, seeking permission to publish it, but it hasn’t appeared yet. So, I’m sharing here. If it appears on the newspaper’s website, I’ll link it.]
In her recent appearance on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers pleaded for unity. It is a common call. President Bush pledged to be a “uniter, not a divider,” and President Obama followed suit. The bipartisan public is weary of the deeply divided, dysfunctional political system. Continue reading
“The historical sciences in the universities are the guardians of truths of fact,” according to Hannah Arendt. Although Arendt considered herself a political theorist and not a historian, she recognized the essential role historians play for keeping truths sacrosanct. This is an essential task. Continue reading
Legacies produce all places. As a historian, I am perhaps more sensitive to that than most. I see multiple pasts, multiple narratives everywhere I turn, stretching from the immediate present back through years, decades, even millennia. The evidence is all around us if we bother to look and listen. Yet, reconciling the successive, overlapping, or competing pasts in one place can confound the historically inclined. It did me on a visit to the University of Victoria.