America not perfect, but still ‘trending upward’

I enjoyed the Times-News’ recent editorial discussing the ongoing media and societal kerfuffle around critical race theory (CRT). Your points were well-thought, crisp and well-informed (you might really have read Howard Zinn’s history book). Nice job.

The basic thrust of CRT is that America was founded by explorers/conquerors/colonizers who used genocidal methods to crush the indigenous populations. The Founding Fathers then kicked out their British overlords, got together in Philadelphia and created the United States as a paradise for privileged white guys, a kind of Augusta National Golf Club writ large. Hard-wired in those privileges for white men was the privilege of owning other human beings for financial exploitation.

This harsh historical view of America has generally not been robustly taught in public schools over the past 250 years. A much more generous and heroic take on the motivations and actions of our historical privileged white guys has been the norm of history lessons, primarily using books and curricula mandated by privileged white guys.

So you might see why some in that vast majority of Americans who are not privileged white guys could think it’s time a less fulsome and more honest telling of the story of the United States be taught in schools.

America’s history is complicated. Humans are a tribal lot and the United States is the most heterogeneous society ever. Creating a nation-state governance of that roiling society has been tough and is going to stay tough. America will always be a work in progress.

This country has been exceptional and has so very much to be proud about with the good of our history far outweighing the bad. We can take patriotic pride in that good and still be honest about when we have failed, even been horrifyingly awful, in the past. We do not need to propagandize in our history classes.

Those privileged white guys in Philadelphia might have ostensibly stacked the deck in writing our Constitution; but they left a lot of wiggle room that has allowed subsequent legislation and court rulings to greatly level the playing field of opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Still not perfect, but, as ever, trending upward. Condoleezza Rice, a Black woman who would have been 3/5ths of a person and unable to vote under the original Constitution, has been a member of the Augusta National Golf Club for many years. Just saying.

Jon Ketzner


Removing tracks could advance canal project

I would like to comment on the editorial “Another Study?” in the Cumberland Times-News. From what I read in the Times-News at the time that rewatering of the C&O Canal construction project was ongoing, the hurdle that halted the expansion of the rewatering was the railroad track that connected the Western Maryland Railway Station with the CSX railroad mainline.

Now that the Western Maryland Locomotive Shop has a steam engine that runs to Frostburg as a tourist attraction, a shop with skilled employees to maintain both diesel and steam-powered locomotives, possibly this section of the track could be removed, allowing the remaining portion of the rewatering of the canal to move forward.

Leo Rowan

Ridgeley, W.Va.

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