While I was a student at the University of Victoria, I studied politics. Out of curiosity, I decided to compare the facts in a Russian encyclopedia and an American encyclopedia. Events we accepted as factual and accurate were recorded from a completely different ideological angle. This often changed the facts. The two countries role in World War Two were very different yet the American version is that they won the war. The Russians claim it was their troops that won the war. When you write, or as is happening now in North America, rewrite your own history, you get to write whatever you want. Often truth suffers.
According to the Baltimore Sun, a crowd tore down the Christopher Columbus statue near Little Italy and rolled into the Inner Harbour. In Canada, there is a request for a mayor to take down the statue of John A MacDonald in Regina.
These statures represent discovery and growth in how America and Canada were founded and settled. The conflicts regarding Indigenous people and their culture and the way in which both these countries developed ought not to be denied. Neither ought we hide our past.
There is danger in re-writing or erasing history because we don’t like it.
I don’t like the Holocaust. I don’t like human trafficking and the slave trade. I don’t like the number of missing or murdered Indigenous women in my country. I don’t like the violence and the divisiveness of the left-wing anger in the United States and in Canada. In the end, do I want these things expunged from history or re-written to claim these were good things. Good or bad they happened. And they continue to happen. We must embrace all of our history and in doing so, we embrace all of who we are individually and corporately. We can rejoice in the good and learn from the bad.
If I look at my own personal history, I see many victories. I also see many defeats. Many good choices and many bad choices. I don’t have to like all my darkness but I have to acknowledge that it exists. In a sense I need to embrace it as part of me. I need to own it. I also need to own my light. The light that is good and loving and intelligent and loyal. These two things worked together to make Andy, Andy. Together they complete the story of me. They make me whole.
A person who is not whole is a person divided. Many problems people face have to do with lack of self-acceptance, denial of identity, or self-hatred. They just do not see themselves as whole. They focus on their darkness over their light or they deny one or the other. Once they accept that it is okay to have both good and bad in their life story, they can grow and become whole.
The same is true of nations. Throwing statues into the sea or tearing down memorials because we don’t like them or understand them is a dangerous precedent. America is really struggling trying to be whole. It has been for a long while and especially since the Democrats lost the last election. Canada is less violent but just as censored. Freedom of speech is gone in both countries as the bullies push their ideologies on the rest of us. We are denying part of how we came to be and who we are.
I am not glorifying one set of ideals over another. I am simple saying we need to be whole. If I deny my mistakes, I will repeat them. About a hundred years ago, George Santayana wrote that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Studying history is necessary to avoid repeating past mistakes.
I chose to go forward towards wholeness. I pray that Canada and the Untied States will also choose the path forward and become whole.
Andy Becker is a retired counsellor and author of The Travelers, a fictionalized account of spiritual warfare (available on Amazon) as is, Stupid Thyroid, a book he co-wrote with his wife, Stella. Andy and his wife, Stella, lead Lighthouse Ministry in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest areas. He is a retired counselor, speaker, and writer. Andy Becker is working on his second book about spiritual warfare. His first book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.