Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Thoughts on the Capitol

I recently unearthed a travel log of mine from a trip to Washingotn DC and its environs which I took with some Honors students at my old university. Most of it was rather mundane, but I thought these selections worth looking at again.

23 May 2006
I did not care for the Holocaust Museum. It contained little to no coverage of the German resistance, and precious little regarding any of the Germans who perished in the camps for their support of the Jews, homosexuality, or simply political dissent. I could not help but feel that the exhibits were intended to stereotype the German people, and suggest that the Jews were unique victims of a tragedy which engulfed almost as many again of gentiles in Europe.

25 May 2006
The Jefferson Memorial is probably my least favourite site in D.C. I believe it to be symptomatic of most of the troubles of modern America that this mere man (a man who drove his family into debt with his compulsive spending habits, and who, while opposing slavery, failed to free his slaves, and quite possibly his own children, from bondage even after his death) is memorialized with a marble temple along the Potomac, as though he were some Hellenic deity of old. It is precisely this sort of blind reverence for "heroes" of past ages that Hamilton erroneously believed the American people had finally escaped from, and the very same fault is what is today driving this country into the ground, as Americans believe there is nothing to be learnt from the progress which modern democracy has made in other parts of the world, because nothing may be allowed to shatter the ethos of infallibility which has settled thick around the stone divinities lining the river.

26 May 2006
The National Museum of the American Indian I found to be disappointing. The majority of the building is given over to the rantings of native poets who think they are becoming progressively more profound with every natural disaster they can find to compare the white men to. After having my heritage maligned at the Holocaust Museum through the blatant omission of all redeeming facts, to now have it assaulted by a crop of Native American 'intellectuals' who wish to impugne me for deeds committed by men long dead, half of which evils could not have been foreseen even by the wisest of men (the spread of European diseases against which Natives had no natural resistance, for example), infuriates me. This cancer of reverse racism has become endemic, spawning hatred amongst minorities, and unseemly mia coppa breast-beating amongst white Americans, and it will only be a matter of time before someone of white European ancestry who is less obsequious than the majority (and less sagacious than might be wished) initiates a campaign of racial violence in return. We should be trying to nip this sort of animosity in the bud, not encourage it in museum displays.

27 May 2006
Arlington I found to be much like cemeteries elsewhere, a place of rest and reflection filled with looky-loos who approach it with all the morbid curiousity of a person slowing down in the hope of catching a glimpse of injured people being pulled from a car wreck. But then again, we must not expect a society with no respect for life to have a respect for the dead.

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