By Keith Nobles
I woke up this morning thinking about my grandmother.
She was born in 1901 at Hanson in what was then the Sequoyah District, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory but is now in Sequoyah County, Oklahoma.
Her father was a Cherokee and her mother was the daughter of a Confederate veteran from Mississippi who may have behaved poorly after the Civil War and found that Indian Territory was a good bet for his future.
My grandmother remembered her grandfathers, one of whom (a Cherokee Confederate veteran) died in 1918 while the other, the Mississippian, died in 1908 at the age of 82.
The story she would tell was that when she was a little girl, her grandfathers’ sons and son-in-laws would gather at his dog-run cabin every morning and lift him in his bed and carry him out of the cabin and park him, still in the bed, under a tree by the road. He would then spend his day in bed, outdoors, but where he could visit with the people who went up and down the road.
Toward the end of the day his sons and son-in-laws would return and carry him, in the bed, back into the cabin. That seemed to be my grandmothers primary memory of him, at least by the time I came along in the 1960’s.
This fellow was born in 1826 and was raised in the plantation culture and when he became an adult he himself had a plantation, with slaves, near Sardis in Panola County in the Mississippi delta.
Let us now stipulate the obvious – we all know now it was wrong, immoral etc. – not the point to this particular tale.
The point to this tale is that I would be willing to bet that he believed that this culture, and he knew no other culture but the slave/plantation, would never end. Certainly not in his lifetime.
He had no reason to ever believe otherwise.
Well, no reason to ever believe otherwise until a fellow named Lincoln won an unlikely victory in what was one of the oddest Presidential elections we have ever had.
I sometimes wonder at what point did he realize that culture was over? When Lincoln won? Gettysburg? When Union soldiers appeared in Panola County?
That brings us to today. The world order is changing radically, and daily, before our eyes. Domestically both the Trump and the Sanders people are fighting to preserve something and resisting change, and violently resisting change. Perhaps the most alarming thing about the United States as we reach the end of the year 2018 is how many people are fighting to win the past rather than the future. What is more, that past that both the Trump people and the Sanders people are fighting to preserve is mostly a myth created for political convenience.
One could reasonably argue that both the Trump and Sanders people are not even actually fighting to preserve the past but that the fight is over defining the myth of that past.
All too often the things they are arguing about, or the points they attempt to make, are not even real. Both camps regularly engage in historical fiction and revisionism in order to find some way to bolster their existing arguments – because the existing arguments are often absurd.
It is easy to blame this on the catastrophic failure of the education system. In a very real way the education system is nothing more than a rent-seeking government entity attempting to maintain a claim on an ever-increasing share of public dollars. That the education system is reciprocating value is an ever more dubious claim – and if you do not believe me just ask someone under the age of fifty to explain the monetary policy of the United States or the difference in on-budget/off- budget – yet they are typically quite versed in Marxist social theory without even being aware that they are spouting Marxism.
As a nation we are running headlong into changes that will probably be as drastic as those of the Depression/World War II or the Civil War (hopefully without that level of bloodshed) with a population that is focused on a perpetual scuffle to redefine a mythological past rather than focused on winning the future.
Buckle up, reality will intervene just as it did for my great-great grandfather in Mississippi. It always does.
Oh, and Merry Christmas!