Monday, February 20, 2017

Oliver Stone's The Untold History of the United States

When I hear about something from several trusted friends, I generally take a look if it interests me. Oliver Stone's documentary series on the the 20th century (available on Netflix) concerning historical information that mostly has not been revealed to the public came up three times and so I started watching.

As a well educated person, I know that no history is objective, that all history is slanted in a certain direction, looked at through filters and the biases of the historian. And Stone makes it very clear in the beginning that he has an agenda. And I still find what he reveals shocking and discouraging.

The racism and bigotry of Truman and Johnson and Nixon in their own words is blatant. I knew of Kennedy's struggles with drug addiction but didn't realize how deep it went. The spin on the atomic bombs on Japan was that the bombs helped us win the second world war but according to Truman's writings, he used them to frighten the Russians. The Japanese had already been destroyed, mostly by the Russians, and were willing to surrender weeks before Hiroshima and Nagasaki. None of those people had to die.

Although the documentary was done before the Trump disaster began, it's clear from Stone's work and my own deep reading for a client of America's relationship with Vietnam that America as a political institution hasn't been great for a very long time. And I know that Make America Great Again that Trump calls for is an economic power, not one of integrity, kindness, generosity, the qualities of true diplomacy.

Fortunately, every American that I know personally is rich in those qualities. Now if we could get our political act together and become a solution instead of a problem. 

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