The most important questions historians need to tackle are:
- “why was trump elected president of the united states?”
- “what recent policies fertilized the ground for a fascist america?”
Until you answer those two questions - all that other history is fairly meaningless.
Like Goebbels did, the GOP understands that revisionist history expedites attaining and maintaining power.
Economic concerns have trumped facts and science during most epidemics in the US and abroad throughout history, resulting in the a lot of revisionist history surrounding epidemics, or in many cases pretending the epidemic never happened.
I recommend Howard Zinn’s book: THE PEOPLES HISTORY OF THE U. S. Trump says it is " unpatriotic, propaganda". Read it for yourself and then make up your own mind.
Always hated history, mostly because it was taught as received facts about the past and never about inquiry into important questions. Did take a history class at Cole’s institution and found it deadly boring in the middle 1960’s. Most works of history I read are about description: What, exactly, was going on? Very little is about explanation. That needs to change.
Professor Cole is a special, honest voice; a voice of thoughtful reason, integrity and perception; rare these days. In politics such integrity is almost extinct in favor of the corruption and wealth of the few that drives and controls the direction of life on earth for the 99%.
Some people, some men, stand apart from that political and economic corruption and deceit, to speak truth, to inform others honestly and comprehensively on where we come from that shines a spotlight on where we are going, why, and how we may alter the future learning from the past. Professor Cole is one of those. Kudos.
When we factor in that Colonialism is a brother to Fascism then elements of Fascism were present in Amerika since its founding in 1776…
Yes, I agree those are important, necessary questions.
Getting to be a cliche alert-----but where we are with the level of chaos, climate/social breakdown is like being on a boat that is sinking. If you were on a boat that is filling up with water you would not just sit around talking about how on earth the boat got the holes.
You would try to survive and bail it out. Then make sure— should you venture out to sea again---- you are on a more seaworthy boat!
I would add that these questions you write above have been explored (more than ever) since trump has come to power.
I find new, excellent articles about the u.s. heading into fascism/authoritarianism etc. and why this is happening weekly if not daily.
Colonialism, patriarchy, oligarchy, cannibalistic capitalism, neoliberalism (a combination of all the aforementioned!) are some of the issues that there is consensus around re: what brought the u.s. to this point.
And that it was expected.
The most important question that I am faced with each day is how can we stop it?
I think we’ve run out of time for figuring out why we got here—we are in the (cliche again) sinking boat.
Maybe we can’t stop it.
Some commenters here feel Biden is worse than Trump. Do you want a fast collapse?
That is not meant to be a snarky or rhetorical question.
I believe we will have cruel, brutal collapse that will be at warp speed if Trump gets 4 more years (if we have 4 more years).
If we can’t stop it, how will those we care for and love (including nonhumans) survive amidst the chaos which I believe will go exponential along with human induced climate disaster chaos if Trump “wins”.
I do not think we can survive more insane years of Trump and his enablers.
I am terrified of D.T. expanding his powers. The Trump supporters around me will be even more crazily emboldened if he pulls this off. They are literally driving around their mud coated ATV’s with huge Trump flags (bigger than the ATV) flying from their vehicles. They would spit in my face if they knew I was a progressive.
There are many here who feel Biden is worse than Trump.
I’d like a word of reassurance from those who feel that way as to how to cope here in the u.s. with more years (whatever we have left) of Trump et al.
Seriously—think about it----what do you think will happen . . . say over the next few months to a year and beyond? I’d like a picture painted that offers some reassurance as there are some here who are VERY confident that Biden is worse than Trump.
This vote isn’t just about Trump and Biden -----it is about the voting population as well.
If Trump “wins”, Trump cult followers will have their hate, racism, misogyny fully legitimized (even more so than in 2016).
I do not see/feel that hate with people who are voting “blue”.
My stomach turns when I read on this “progressive” sight that Biden will be worse than Trump. I know Biden and the dems are part of what brought us here but the boat is sinking and burning and saying it’s ok if Trump gains more power is like suggesting we throw gasoline on the fire of the burning house.
So, please reassure me how I (and those I care for) will be safer with Trump than Biden the next 4 years. And I don’t want to hear about Trump not going to war. That is bullshit. If he felt going to war would benefit him he would push the button, send in the "losers, drop the bombs in a heartbeat.
Suggesting that Trump is consciously not going the path of war is suggesting that he has any amount of social, emotional intelligence. He has none.
The dems are very short in that department to but if I was forced to leave my children with Joe and Jill Biden/Kamala vs. Donald and Melania/Pence it would be a fairly easy decision.
The fundamental problem with history as we are presented it is encapsulated in the word itself.
It is not so much a presentation of the facts as it is HIS Story. It a male dominated version of events meant to perpetuate myth as the given writer would like to perceive it to HIM self first and foremost.
Howard Zinn was one of the few that broke that mold which why so many HIS Storians hate the guy.
Thomas Jefferson as example was not a great guy as those books would have us believe. He was a 1 percenter “me first” thug. 9 out of 10 HIS Storians will not tell this truth as they are not comfortable with the truth. They prefer the “great men” myth.
Ask yourselves how many Countries on this Globe have a “Founding Mothers” myth. There a reason for that and it not a good one. One reason I am so very fond of Native American lore is the central position they give women in their creation myths.
Thank you, Professor Cole, for your insights in this commentary on history and historians.
This piece is educational and inspiring, as historians become more diverse, and “history teaches us that things could have been different (contingency) and can still be different.” So there is hope!
If Trump gets re-elected people will be motivated to take to the streets, if Biden gets elected, Democrats will go back to sleep for 4 years patting themselves on the back while nothing really changes.
I was fortunate enough to have had several interesting, inspiring history teachers, who hooked you with stories, and the question, How come? Sadly these teachers are few and far between in today’s educational climate focused on test scores.