The history you recount, it is there. There is no denying the impact and the intentions. But so many other stories are part of it too. I had one relative ship over on the Mayflower, he was a cooper and not a Pilgrim. I don’t know what he ran away from or was running towards. Other relatives came from the Ukraine at the start of the 20th century. They left to escape the pogroms. A Scottish great-grandfather came over at about the same time after he and his brother tossed a coin, the US or South Africa. He came to find some other opportunity than what was on offer in small town caste/class-bound society. Another branch came as farmers escaping the narrow brooding Swiss valleys to farm Nebraska. I am not out to make them noble or special. They reaped the benefit of a land taken and a system that conferred benefits unevenly and unequally. I guess my point, though I am not trying to make one, is just to wonder at the mix of the small stories and the larger telling and how our voices, actions, and maybe silences more than anything else, contribute to acts we would like to say belong to others.

I am reading the Sixth Extinction now and here is the global impact of the set of attitudes and behaviors you describe. At the start of school talk to the staff I remembered Walt Kelley’s character Pogo, who said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Thank you for being such a strong and courageous voice here on Medium. If we are to create change we must confront, disrupt, and create anew. The past got us here with a burden of unresolved issues and crippling perceptions and assumptions. Our retelling of history and blithe belief that we can all just be happy, look on the bright side, and things work out for a reason are some of the ones that need to be addressed. Things work out because courageous, truthful, clear eyed people have sweated and bled to make them that way and we are a long way from anything like real progress. This went on rather longer and more windingly than I thought.

ben

Writer, walker, poet, educator. Commercial fisherman, builder, donut maker, organic grower. Boston, U. City, Maine, South Africa, Madrid.

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