Last week marked 6 months of my living in DC, y’all – can you believe it?! Even more shocking perhaps than how much time has passed is that, global pandemic notwithstanding, I actually really like it here. Some might wonder why I moved to a place I wasn’t sure I’d like, but since I did, let’s all just celebrate that I am happy with my decision.
One of the primary reasons I love living in this area are the friends I’ve already made. With a few notable exceptions, I never really felt like I found my “people” in Nashville. I had a lot of people who cared about me, and I about them. But, having a group of friends where you’re automatically included in weekend plans is harder to find, and something I haven’t had since I left Virginia Beach almost 7 (!!) years ago. To find it so quickly here is an answer to prayer, one I’m not even sure I fully articulated.
Perhaps living in the political capital of the world, though, has made me want to get more political. Or maybe it’s just that everyone else has suddenly decided to get political, so I feel compelled to keep up with the Joneses.
Either way, I have a few thoughts. I took a break from social media (mostly) for the better part of the past month, and it was so refreshing. Everything is heavy right now – every issue is political, from whether or not you like Hamilton, to whether or not you have extra toilet paper in your house. You can’t scroll through any social media platform without being subjected to one-sided arguments shouted at you – from both sides.
I had a really great Fourth of July this year, full of oohs and ahhs over the gorgeous fireworks surrounding the monuments to our national heroes. Imagine my surprise, then, when I came home from the spectacular display to discover that, according to social media, I wasn’t supposed to have celebrated America this year at all. Or at least not without a giant side of vocalized shame.
Imagine my even greater surprise when I learned that Hamilton, a show written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, darling of the liberal artistic community, and whose producers famously refused to cast white actors in its lead roles was now facing criticism for being tone deaf and insensitive because it featured historical figures who had owned slaves. Never mind that a recurring theme with one of the characters was his mission to free the slaves.
Lest there be any confusion, slavery was wrong, and we are still dealing with the repercussions of white America’s horrible treatment of black people 150 years after the slaves were liberated. For more on my thoughts about race, please feel free to read my previous post.
But we can’t just “cancel” every historical figure that did things that were wrong. For one thing, canceling does not accomplish anything. It does not change the past, nor does it promote critical conversations in the present. For another, if you cancel someone altogether, that gets rid of the good they did, as well as the bad.
So, we can cancel Washington because he owned slaves, but then we literally have no country at all, and we drink a lot more tea. (And we still have slaves.) We can cancel Lincoln because he was more concerned with preserving the Union than with ending slavery – but, then slaves still aren’t free. We can cancel Teddy Roosevelt for his racist ideology against Native Americans (and a lot of other non-whites, honestly), but then we have none of our modern environmental protections. We can cancel FDR because of the horrible Japanese internments during WWII, but then we do not have the New Deal and the social programs which became the backbone of the Democratic party. We can cancel LBJ for starting the “War on Drugs” which has unfairly targeted black people, but then we do not have a Civil Rights Act ending segregation and racial discrimination…and I could go on.
We cannot cancel everyone who had inconsistencies with our modern sensibilities because we’ll never be able to stop. Soon, we’ll have nothing left of our history or our nation. A nation which, despite its sins both past and present, has actually done a whole lot of good for a whole lot of people, at home and abroad.
Society is supposed to evolve and grow and become better. Every generation since the beginning of time has thought itself more progressive and enlightened than the one before it, and generations from now will probably look back at us and criticize our attitudes and behaviors, as well. But let’s hope that when they do, they will also see the good that we’ve tried to accomplish and they will have a rational conversation about our positive and negative decisions, rather than a conversation that discards us altogether if we do not achieve moral perfection by their modern standards.
So, take down the Confederate statues – they were also traitors to the country and do not deserve to be honored. But rather than destroying them, let’s put them in a museum so that we can still remember our history, learn from it, and become better. And for everyone else, let’s talk about their contributions both good AND bad instead of just pretending they never existed.
I have more to say, but I’ll save the second half of my history lesson for another post. For now, I’ll just pick back up with where I started this post – with a description of my life in DC, and the part that I think everyone really cares about: my dating life.
Y’all, dating here is not awesome. Everyone said that would be the case, but for a while, I thought they might have been overstating it. All of my dates have had super fascinating jobs and I’ve enjoyed learning about them. But, most of their personalities…have not been as fascinating. And, as I’ve complained before, Nashville is just a prettier town than DC. So far, I know about 2 good looking men in this whole city, and I’ve already dated both of them. But, as has always been the case in my life, hope springs eternal, and maybe now that things are starting to normalize, my fortunes will turn around.
And just so I don’t completely abandon my original purpose for this blog, here is a photo of an outfit that I had posted on Instagram. For the record, I did not, in fact, meet my soul mate that night.
Thanks for reading everyone – much love to you all. And to America; she still deserves it.