The sitcom “Dad” demanded the kids’ telephones and tablets. “On Thanksgiving, we are going to talk as a family,” he proclaimed, “real conversation, no electronics.” Per the TV stereotype, the teenagers refused – so, Dad convinced the children to acquiesce with the warning that he’d join Facebook. One can assume from the fear the threat advanced that, one, Facebook was still relevant to young people and, two, that they judged anything that included parents as a bad, even uncool, idea. Sure, we need to separate ourselves from our folks. We feel compelled to have our own secrets, even our own culture.
From rock ‘n’ roll to the cat’s meow, we have pushed to separate ourselves from the unenlightened generation that predated us. We rebel against those institutions and hierarchies that restrict our access to power. Along the way, we often improve our lives and the lives of those around us. Unfortunately, sometimes we don’t. For each enlightenment, there is a Dark Age. For each great leader, there is a despot. But in the short course of a human lifespan, we lack the scope of understanding, or the patience to know that our generation may not be the pivotal one, to adequately evaluate the downside effect of our actions.
Still, shouldn’t we do something? Shouldn’t we tear down those statues of Stalin? Didn’t he kill 60 million humans? Some think so. Then, do we fill the empty pedestals with Putin? Is he the great savior? Even before, where are the bronze sculptures of the Czars? Were they melted to make the ones of Stalin? Isn’t it all a bit circular? What is Russian history? Cossacks, then Czars, then Marxists, then oligarchs? Should we melt them all down and make something new? Maybe. When is history set in stone? Can a foundry determine its form?