Cloaking a bright holiday in darkness

28 Nov

The little catch phrase I use as the top of this blog is, “Speaking, because it is allowed.”

The phrase carries some irony for me because I believe society discourages uncomfortable speech and attempts to silence it.

There are two basic kinds of offensive talk. The first is false; the second true.

Regarding the first: Lies hurt, and large numbers take great offense when someone slurs a race or a people. For me, I prefer it when everyone fully expresses themselves. It reveals their hearts.

Regarding the second: The truth often hurts more than the lies, especially if it reveals us as monsters.

One such truth is the genocide by Americans of Native Americans.

Last week a University of Texas journalism professor named Robert Jensen published an opinion piece about Thanksgiving. In the Daily Texan, his university’s newspaper, he associated the holiday with this genocide and implicated our founding fathers.

Reacting quickly, UT president Larry R. Faulkner wrote the Houston Chronicle a letter in which he calls Jensen “a fountain of undiluted foolishness on issues of public policy.” He was “disgusted” by Jensen’s article, he added.

In his article, Jensen quotes several U.S. presidents in a grand show of ill will toward Native Americans. He has Theodore Roosevelt saying, “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”

Jensen later asks: “How does a country deal with the fact that some of its most revered historical figures had certain moral values and political views virtually identical to Nazis?”

I hope all good and informed American know that perhaps 30 million buffalo were slaughtered by white hunting parties (some sitting in trains) in an attempt to deny food to the Plains Indians. I find that as haunting as gas chambers.

This is our heritage, uncomfortable as it is.

Professor Jensen deserves credit for bringing forth what usually is unspoken.

I suggest we all follow his example in these times when it can be done. If we do, we may develop the courage to continue when and if society tries to ensure that it can’t.

–By Lanny Morgnanesi

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