My daughter came home from school this week talking about 2 people. She wanted to learn more about Andrew Jackson and Queen Isabella I of Castile.
She wanted to know what I thought about them. She was troubled, because they sounded like heroes, but she had questions. If Andrew Jackson was a great American hero, why did he treat the Native Americans the way he did? Isabella’s role in the Inquisition, what was that all about?
Feeling conflicted about these two myself, I tried to explain that it was possible to admire and detest a person at the same time — that history was sloppy around the edges and the good guys were sometimes bad and visa versa!! That settled our discussion, but it left me thinking…
It made me wonder — why we are so eager to find the flaws in our current leaders? Can we have heroes? Do they need to be shiny with goodness, or is fraying OK? Are we afraid that if a hero is imperfect it reflects on us?
History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. –> Maya Angelou