Things to Ponder: Our History, The Present, The Future

Peggy Foege, Board Member

During the months of February and March, every Tuesday from 12:00 to 1:00 pm, WILPF -St.Louis has been having discussions about the book ‘Caste’ by Isabel Wilkerson. For those unfamiliar with this book it explores the caste systems, specifically those in India, Nazi Germany and in the United States. It is a brilliantly written, thoroughly researched, a work of art. It is an intense, often uncomfortable and overpowering book to read, and I greatly appreciated the weekly discussions and input from the other discussion members. Let me just quote a sample to her genius of summing things up: “Germany bears witness to an uncomfortable truth – that evil is not one person – – – “. The caste system, she summed up is an enemy to all, “it is a threat, it is not one man, it is us, all of us, lurking in humanity itself.” Wilkerson delves into our history, the beginning of our country, the colonists that created and then used an extreme form of slavery. It was during this time, the making of our New World that humans were set apart on the basis of what they looked like, and by being black in color put you in the bottom of our Caste system. You became not quite human, a property.

This is a history that wasn’t taught in our country, many citizens were unaware of this history, or it was conveniently ignored and therefore, never came to grips with. The book, ‘Caste’ tears away the blinders and exposes the truth, the good and the bad, of our past.
All United States citizens should be aware of our constitution, our Declaration of Independence: ‘all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights – Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’. Is this really what our country stands for? Is this what January 6th was about? Is this what some in power are after with the push to make voting in our country more difficult, is this the goal of people in power claiming we had a ‘fixed’ election, and that our elected President ’stole the election’? Dana Milbank, Washington Post, columnist, wrote: “The only route to power for a white-nationalist party is to become anti-democratic.”

Every citizen has the responsibility to learn about our history – our factual history – then, look around and take a real look at the present. Are we living up to the words of our founders, are we really working to perfect our country as a Democracy? Our Future – it’s ours, it is up to us to make it a more perfect union. Seems we have some work to do!

Editor’s note: visit our Book Club webpage for more info

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