History is written, interpreted by flawed people

We’ve learned there will never be one single way to look back at our past.

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to “Remember how we achieved the ‘most level playing field”, published Sept. 23.

Mr. Thimgan’s emphatic assertion, “history always… vindicates the protesters!” presents some problems for the discerning reader. Does he mean every protest? Protesters and rioters? Every protester? Every rioter?

Even if we sail past the boatload of ambiguity in the statement, it’s just, plain inaccurate. Why? Because, in part, how you view history depends on the source(s) you read, watch, listen to, or otherwise engage with. If you’ve taken a university-level history course in the last 10 years, you’re aware of a major shift in the way history writing is viewed and taught. Never again will history books hold the authority they once did. No single source of history, or even collective opinion of it, will be held as the view. We’ve come to realize that history is written by people, and people have biases informed by their culture, income, education, religious beliefs, and a host of other factors.

Equal truth, it turns out, has been found in the quieter voices, not just the ones that make all the noise and get all the attention.

We’ve been hood-winked into believing all these years that majority is truth. I’d go further and say that we’ve often been deceived into believing the loud voice represents the majority.

History, beyond the correction of faulty facts, can’t vindicate anything or anyone. There will always be differing interpretations of it. And I can promise you there will be no difficulty finding books and articles that condemn these riots and all riots. Those will also be part of history. I think what the writer intended to say was the version of history he chooses to hear, vindicates protesters.

Finally, describing the billions of dollars in damages, the lost livelihoods, and deaths and injuries caused by rioting as “kind of ugly,” is woefully flippant. I would guess a short walk through downtown Portland around 10 p.m. would inspire language far more tactful and grave.

Protests in America need to undergo some of the progress they cry out for. They are an important tool for free people that should not be abused. But as long as some people keep ho-humming the destructive monsters they become when they morph into riots, that progress will be delayed.

Brandy Garton


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in Letters to the Editor

LtE bug
Respect other opinions, don’t take down flags

Our community must respect other people’s opinions, even if we don’t like them.

LtE bug
Trump and what my parents taught me

I am not a “sucker” as the president so eloquently put it.

LtE bug
The Bible shouldn’t be used out of context

Rich Elfers should look at the Bible in a different light.

LtE bug
Vote ‘no’ on Referendum 90

The bill would require students learn things about dating and sex that is not age-appropriate.

Be mindful of the community, not yourself

Thank you to all the first responders that have helped Enumclaw these last couple of weeks.

Disappointed by former officer’s response to young columnist

Police should have thicker skins, retired or no.

History is written, interpreted by flawed people

We’ve learned there will never be one single way to look back at our past.

There’s a reason we have generalizations

Sometimes, the observations we make about a few people are accurate to the group.

Letter writer misunderstands the economy

The economy stands on people spending money, not businesses paying taxes.

We should remember how we achieved the ‘most level playing field’

Countless people died, and we’re still not where we should be.

Columnist should examine his own achievements

The president has many — do you?