Sadly, folks, human beings have been endowed with many things from our Creator, and choice seems to be the one we most struggle mightily with to manage. So let’s vocally condemn those who still participate in the slave trade and demand the world’s attention and intervention. Duh.
And then, let’s attempt to explain to the historical context deniers that failing to judge folks by the times they existed in is disingenuous and dangerous. We understand your purpose in holding figures you loath to the exacting and inscrutable standards you’ve set, and to the accepted social mores of the 21st century. What you’re engaging in is purposely dishonest, pernicious, and imbued with perfidy. It also detracts from an honest discussion about advancing the conversation and policy debate.
You want to remove Confederate symbols and memorials, have at it. But be honest and cast aside your pious, self-righteous sanctimony. If Lee and Jackson are to be sandblasted off the granite face of Georgia’s Stone Mountain, let’s be fair here. Let’s remove the name “F.D.R.” from Manhattan’s eastside roadway. Why not? After all, did not the 32nd POTUS shamefully inter Japanese-Americans during WWII? And, is it appropriate to leave the titular “Reverend” in front of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s multitudinous eponymous roadways and structures across our great nation, when the Civil Rights leader was an infamous philanderer?
Didn’t the 44th president kick-off his historic political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, and on his way out of the White House pardon another infamous domestic terrorist, Oscar Lopez Rivera? Those murderers were bad people, but they were Leftists, ergo, they deserve their evil acts be stricken from the historical record.
We see you, “Reverend” Al Sharpton.
No such understanding and contextual application with someone like FBI Director J.Edgar Hoover, forever branded a “racist” for his contentious relationship with King. Despite the fact that Hoover’s FBI permitted African-Americans to be Special Agents some thirty years before President Truman integrated America’s Armed Forces with Executive Order 9981 in 1948. Facts can be so damned inconvenient.
Our American history can be so complicated and messy. It certainly isn’t neat and tidy. But can’t we have an adult conversation about it? To ignore the fact that America is inherently good, and that no other nation in world history has shed more of its blood and spent more of its treasure to spread freedom across the globe is simply being dishonest.
Let’s not forget that historical context matters.
James A. “Jimmy” Gagliano has some three decades’ worth of practical leadership experience, both in traditional military units as a U.S. Army Infantry Officer and in federal law enforcement executive-level assignments with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He spent 25 years as an FBI criminal investigator, SWAT Team Leader, member of the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team (HRT), Undercover Agent, Task Force Commander, Legal Attaché (Diplomat), and as Chief-of-Staff for the Assistant-Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Division. He has led tactical and diplomatic operations in Afghanistan and México City, and served tours in parts of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as assignments in combat theaters in Afghanistan, while assigned to the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He is a recipient of the FBI’s second highest award for valor, the Medal for Bravery. Now retired from the FBI, Jimmy serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor, instructing undergraduates in Homeland Security, Criminal Justice, Military History, and Leadership courses at St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens and is a leadership consultant with the Thayer Leader Development Group (TLDG) located at West Point, NY. He is also a full-time Law Enforcement Analyst and Contributor on CNN, and delivers speeches across the country in corporate and university settings.