In the first half of “History is History”, I talked about how history is distorted in schools to further a contemporary agenda. This second half is about how history comes up in modern politics to argue a modern political viewpoint…
History often comes up when people argue about politics (Anywhere! Not just in the United States!) and is used to further political causes. When people argue about politics, they may mention a historical event, or the historical people of the modern place they’re talking about. To argue against someone, they may say something along the lines of ” (insert X historical event) You see? They were always like that!…” or to argue for someone, you just glorify them using a historical event too! The problem is, while some events in history may be reflected on a society involved in it, said society probably has changed since then. Albeit similar circumstances, a contemporary event is different from another event in the past. Politics change so much, it’s no wonder circumstances can change! To really make a good argument, why not directly address the issue at hand and not default to the history books? While history does influence the present, citing historical events to make judgments upon a contemporary problem seems to mostly evoke emotions, not logical thinking of the problem at hand.
Another point is when people like to destroy their current enemy’s heritage. Yes, we all get the message of how much you hate your enemy and what they stand for as a culture, but what happens when the culture you’re destroying isn’t the same culture as today’s that you hate so much? Take all the destruction of Egyptian artifacts because of some political instability over there for example. The Egyptians who made all of those artifacts were not the same Egyptians those people were after! If they really read up on Egypt’s history, they would realize that modern Egypt has a different culture than ancient Egypt! Why take out their rage on a bunch of ancient people who have nothing to do with the present day culture they don’t like? Another example is the destruction of Mesopotamian artifacts in Iran. The Mesopotamians were not contemporary Iranians! Their culture was certainly not the culture those people were after! It doesn’t even matter whose side one is on, bashing an ancient culture does not make sense if the modern culture one disagrees with is totally different! Wouldn’t you think a culture may have changed in a few millennia?
While history affects the present, contemporary events are unique in their own right and debates about them should address the event at hand more than history. The past is different from the present, maybe not drastically in some cases, but each event is unique enough to be considered individually. Societies change as well, a society you may not agree with in the present, was probably different centuries ago… If there must be a debate about politics, let it be about TODAY’S politics!!!
To read more on my examples, visit these sites: