Tent Talk: Dr. Carol Anderson and Lauren Groh-Wargo – Voting in Georgia

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Wednesday, May 22, 2024, 12:00 pm EDT

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BigTentUSA

Navigating The Past To Understand the Present

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“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  – George Santayana
A significant number of far-right US political leaders are whitewashing and re-writing history by banning books and any discussion of unsavory historical events. Yes, we see you Governor DeSantis and you too Gov. Abbott. The tireless “antiwoke” campaigns are designed to leave citizens ignorant of the past. The manipulation of media is leaving the entire country ignorant of the present. Unless we have an accurate record of current events, and are taught accurately about the past, we have no hope of taking actions to preserve our democracy. 
 
By ignoring our past and redefining the baseline of acceptable behavior in a democracy, the far-right has mainstreamed radical actions like seditious conspiracy, and not for the first time. WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH ALL THIS BEFORE. 
 
In some instances, history is being blotted out that could serve to guide change by helping us imagine a better world. For instance, many people are unaware of the extent of equality that was the norm during the brief period of reconstruction following the civil war.
As was laid out in the podcast Just Security, many of the same actions we see today were used by fascist regimes last century, which resulted in World War.  That we have a soft spot for seditionists in this country is apparent from a look at history.  
 
“We will undermine the morale of the people of America…. Once there is confusion and after we have succeeded in undermining the faith of the American people in their own government, a new group will take over …”
 
Who is the new group? Well, read some history and you will know how this one ended:  “… this will be the German-American group, and we will help them to assume power.”  ADOLF HITLER, 1933
 
Let’s learn from our mistakes. Authors such as Paul Mason, have observed that “If a group of Nazis from the 1930s hopped on a time machine and travelled forward to the year 2020, Mason argues, they would relax, thinking that their mission had worked.  We need to constantly touch base with history and compare what is going on today against learned lessons from the past.
BigTent Call to Actions: 
Share this Blog post and tell your friends that history matters to democracy because it illuminates the principles upon which our nation was founded, traces the evolution of our political institutions, and provides invaluable lessons from our past.
Attend our Spotlight Speaker event on 5/31 at 7pm ET  A Conversation with Journalist, Author Jonathan Alter and Historian David Greenberg: “How Did We Get Here and Where are We Now?” Register here.