Sorry. I just don’t think either of us were up for writing about a book today. I know A has been reading The Underground Railroad and I’m reading Stamped From the Beginning, but I don’t think we’re ready to pair either of them. And nor are we…
Well, at least… I am not ready to write about a book today. And I know A just opened a new show, so she probably doesn’t remember that today was even Friday. But I doubt she’d be ready to pair anything today, either. In whatever case, there is no pairing today. We’re taking it off.
I do want to say one thing, though:
Throughout history, whenever the tyrants have risen, whenever the darkness has come crawling, the world has also seen the rise of greatness. Last time this happened, we got Winston Churchill and FDR. And, yes, both of those men were problematic, but they were the exact people the world needed when Hitler, Mussolini, and Imperial Japan decided to come a-conquering. (This is also another lesson in maybe not allying ourselves with Russia, even if it seems like we’re on the same side now. Because we aren’t, and Russia has its own agenda that just isn’t compatible with ours.)
Somewhere in the world is our Churchill and our FDR. Maybe they’re even here in America, but maybe they’re not. People who will rise up to fight and to become the emblematic leaders of our age. Hell, maybe we’ve already met them and we just don’t know it.
It comes as no surprise to me that this whole thing happened as the generation who fought in WW2 is dying en masse, leaving us without a living memory to rely upon. We’re humans; we need a human face, and those faces are disappearing. But they leave their words behind, their lessons, their experiences. And maybe–just maybe–we’ll have learned enough from them to get through this.
You’d think, as a historian, I would have lost my idealism a long time ago. Because history is just humanity making the same mistakes over and over, thinking that they’re going to be the one to make it. It’s Hitler not learning from Napoleon not learning from everyone whose plans outlasted their supplies and/or the morale of their men (ie Hannibal and even Alexander the Great). But I do have faith.
Our FDR is coming, if they are not already here. Our Winston will join them soon.
Or maybe they’re already here. Maybe, this time, it’s us.