Tag: Civil War

There’s No Changing History

I’m not a history buff. I won’t even claim to like studying historical events. But when I’m traveling, I do appreciate absorbing historical sites and monuments.

For me, it has nothing to do with the past. Seeing a landmark placed in a specific spot to cement a significant event touches the part of me that realizes time is limited. Life is a river rushing me ever toward the sea of eternity.

But these monuments are like a boulder in the river.

A person could rest on them. A person could take a break from paddling against contrary currents. The boulder offers a solid place in the maelstrom.

Of course, I’ve been rafting on the Deschutes River in Maupin, Oregon. A boulder could capsize your raft. It could dump everyone you love into the foaming mess of whitewater, eager to devour you…or at least scrape you along the sharp and unforgiving stones of the riverbed.

Actual photo of my family rafting the Deschutes.

Recently, my husband and I traveled to Florida for a couples’ retreat. The retreat was held at the Renaissance International World Golf in St. Augustine.

After my first ever lunch of Cuban food, we strolled through the historical fort. There was an old Catholic rectory. The governor’s house had been converted to a museum.

Crowds teemed through the unique shop area. Sun beat down from an autumn sky unlike those in Oregon. A fickle breeze lifted clothes that clung to every inch of perspiring skin.

In a park near the marina where traffic backed up because a draw bridge was raised, there was an old depot platform. Several statues and monoliths paid homage to people and events of the past. There was even an old pillar remaining from the Spanish capital that had once occupied this oldest of American cities.

The Monument to Men

One of the monolithic stones, a quite simple piece of plain rock, had been raised to honor those from the city of St. Augustine who gave their lives protecting it during what southerners refer to as The War of Northern Aggression. (That’s the Civil War for those of us who aren’t northerners, but have been blessed to be raised near the end of the Oregon Trail in God’s Country.) *sticks out her tongue at a particular cousin who will be reading this*

Where I live, there are monuments like this to veterans of Vietnam, Korea, World War I and World War II. I believe there’s even a little something for veterans of Desert Storm.

The point of this monument is to memorialize soldiers who fought for their homes. Some of the monuments honor the survivors. The ones that are most poignant to me are the memorials of those who died for the cause.

What person should not be honored for giving their life for a cause?

The Inscription

I don’t recall the exact words. But on a pole to one side of this simple memorial a metal sign had been mounted.
It claimed that there had been some legislation requiring the removal of all landmarks in honor of Confederates in the Civil War. It went on to state that residents petitioned to keep this simple monolith intact and were granted their petition.

Thank you, petitioners. This is what U.S. democracy is supposed to look like.

Better yet, why pass ridiculous laws that do nothing?

I can imagine the very men honored by this monument rolling over in their graves.

“People say we were fighting to keep slaves,” one would say. “I was fighting for freedom.”

“Freedom from a government that wanted to minimize our personal rights,” another says.

Because this war wasn’t fought over a single issue. The largest percentage of men who died had probably never owned a slave, nor would have chose to if they could.

The Facts

History happened. It’s over. There’s no point in trying to change it.

What is the reason a law might give for tearing down a simple monolithic column in a small park in St. Augustine, Florida? Is there any reason that would be acceptable?

We all know the slogan, “Never forget.” It was painted everywhere from social media to billboards in September. But it had been used decades before for Normandy Beach and Pearl Harbor.

This simple monument reminds us that men died for a cause. Let’s not judge the cause. We weren’t there, and we couldn’t possibly know what what in the hearts as they marched away from their homes and families…never to return.

You and I can attest that politicians say a ton of stuff we don’t agree with. Their words get recorded, and in another fifty years when the next generation reads them, are they going to judge you and I by those words?

Look at the word: history. His story. I write stories for a living, and they are different from the stories other authors of a similar age and gender write. Because they are my stories.

That plain monument asks us to pause for a moment and remember a story: one that cost men in St. Augustine to sacrifice all. Each of them had a personal story, and sadly, those are probably lost.

But the price they paid? It should be remembered. And honored.

Do you like history? What is a historical place you’ve been that impacted you?

Why our World isn’t ready for Superheroes

No_Superheroes

In a world where people cry over dead gorillas and ignore starving or abused children, we need heroes. Now more than ever. But the world isn’t ready for superheroes.

Thanks to my new site tagline (thanks Social Media Jedi Kristen Lamb), Holding out for a Hero, there is likely to be more posts about what it means to be a hero, heroes in real life and so on.

If you don’t like Captain America, I promise not to make it all about him. If you prefer the anti-hero character type, I’m happy to direct you to some other site.

In my world, good and evil have distinct lines. Evil is never based on personal opinion or preference but by the clear and present danger it causes.

Now, to get this post back on track. There are three major reasons it’s obvious our world isn’t ready for superheroes. I will be using film and real-world examples to reinforce my points. (There will be Captain America references – so sue me!)

Media Inflammation

Everyone is plugged in to the internet. Our phones notify us of updates to social media or our news sites. If we want to know the score for the big game, it’s a click or two away. (And there’s an app for that!)

There’s nothing wrong with being informed, but how well should we trust our sources of information? After all, who didn’t see the posts claiming Jackie Chan died a few months back. Some things are pure hype.

And other posts are an attempt to get a reaction. When I wrote this post, various articles about the Stanford University rapist bogged down my Facebook news feed.  Oh, and the gorilla incident I mentioned in the opening paragraph.

The articles became memes touting personal opinions – and calls for crucifixion of the criminal and the judge who gave him a “light” sentence. Whether I agree with these sentiments or not, the fact that a crime like this can blow up to become a worldwide discussion topic illustrates my point. (According to statistics, 300,000 rapes occur on US university campuses every year, but we’re only hearing about this ONE.)

The Fear of Power

With great power comes great responsibility – Uncle Joe Parker

People who have power fear people who might gain more power. And governments tend to be the biggest fraidy cats of all. This is the reason why information is controlled in so many parts of the world.

Because knowledge is power. If you know the truth, you can act upon it. If the truth can be concealed or packaged as a falsehood, then knowledge loses its edge.

Image from Marvel-movies
Image from Marvel-movies

In Captain America: Civil War, this truth was clearly demonstrated. After an accident during the apprehension of a terrorist, the United Nations met in an uproar. How dare The Avengers have collateral damage during their mission! Who even gave them permission to go into an African country anyway?

The governments feared the power of The Avengers (and they should). However, their fear wasn’t based in reality. If the team hadn’t stopped the terrorists, biological warfare would have been unleashed elsewhere in the world. Thousands of innocents would have suffered and died.

The UN didn’t care about the outcome, they wanted to control the power. What if The Avengers decided to step into the UN’s business? Who could stop them? But if the UN controlled their missions, the balance of power shifted into their favor.

Don’t be fooled. I used a fictitious example to prove this point, but the news headlines talk about dictators, warlords and plenty of others who exemplify this truth.

Just call us Sue-Happy

Think about some of the amazing rescues you’ve seen in superhero movies or the comics. These are when average people are saved from fires, explosions, criminals and accidents.

Now imagine this scenario. Spiderman sweeps into a burning building and removes two children, an elderly couple and even a cat from the flames. Just in time, too. The building collapses.

What if there was another unconscious person inside? Their family is incensed that Spidey discriminated against them by rescuing a stupid cat instead of their uncle.

And they sue him. Or the fire department. Or whoever they think they can get the money from.

You get burns from HOT liquid?

If you think I’m exaggerating, let me remind you that McDonald’s paid millions to a woman who burned herself on their coffee. Why did she win such a silly lawsuit? Because there was nothing WARNING her that the coffee was hot.

Seriously? Because even a two-year-old understands that something on an electrical burner is HOT.

Perhaps these lawsuits wouldn’t happen because who knows who Spiderman really is. But there would be even more pressure to discover his identity. Would it keep him from making his nightly runs stopping crime and rescuing victims?

Maybe. Maybe not.

In any case, these are only three reasons that screamed out when this topic jumped to the forefront of my mind.

What other reasons are there that might hold superheroes back? What do you see in our world that deters heroics more than it encourages them?

Captain America: Vigilante or Hero?

On May 6, 2016, the newest Captain America film hit local theaters. People were challenged to choose a side in this Superhero Civil War. Would you be #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan?

If you read my post after I watched the second Captain America movie, you recall that I dubbed Captain America the perfect superhero. I will be quoting that post here.

After Marvel’s movie makers changed the terms of being a hero, do I still believe Cap is a model superhero? Did the signing of some UN treaty suddenly make following his own moral compass illegal?

Being a Hero

Image from Marvel-movies
Image from Marvel-movies

In my earlier post, I claimed Captain America was a hero because of these three things:

  1. He fights for justice for everyone
  2. He doesn’t use his power for selfish reasons
  3. He won’t compromise his personal integrity for anyone

However, if the governments of 117 countries decide that he doesn’t have the right to do these things, is he bound to follow them because they are suddenly the majority?

That’s what this movie is all about. Once again, it challenges the idea that a person can be loyal to two people who are at odds with each other. What if they are both right? Whose side do you stand on?

At one point, Iron Man asked Black Widow if she could bring the Hulk in on their team. Her reply, “How do you know he’d choose your side?”

Cap didn’t want his friends to be divided, but they chose to stand with him because they’re friends. This meant friends faced off with friends. Isn’t this something that happens in real life? You side with one friend for whatever reason – and it isn’t just because they’re your friend.

What reason would a hero have for standing against his friends? See number one and three above. He believed it was the just thing and his integrity is not for sale to the highest bidder.

Being a Vigilante

Hero or Vigilante?
Hero or Vigilante?

I’m in the middle of watching the third season of The Arrow on Netflix. The police call him the vigilante. Except for one man – a (police)man who has been rescued by him.

So what does it mean to be a vigilante?

Dictionary.com says a vigilante is “any person who takes the law into his or her own hands, as by avenging a crime.” So a person who seeks their own brand of justice. They take an eye for an eye.

Because sometimes the legal system fails. There is no such thing as a perfect government with only fair laws that are always enforced.

Does that give a person the “right” to take things into their own hands?

Instead of giving you my answer, let me offer up examples. Comic book examples: Batman, Spiderman, Superman and many others. More movies have been made on this topic than almost any other.

In a fallen world, I don’t think fallen people should seek their own brand of justice. I ascribe to this principle “avenge not yourselves, but give place to wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

However, notice that this says to avenge not yourselves.

Captain America did not decide to selfishly help one friend while annoying all of his other friends. Cap saw injustice. He had the power to stop it. So he did.

He minimizes the collateral damage of death to innocents in every way he can. Isn’t that what policemen, and military, and others whose “job” it is to protect the rights of all citizens do?

This is the reason he wouldn’t sign the accord. If he did, suddenly he became subject to a governing authority. Because, let’s face it, those with superpowers are above the average law. We can only hope they’re going to fight on the side of right, because who can stop them?

(More on this issue in my next post.)

No longer without Personal Entanglements

One of my author friends told me that Cap would always put friendship first and that wasn’t always in the best interest of the wider scope of world problems.

And yet…I believe Cap chose only to endanger himself when he went after Bucky. He gave Sam the chance to opt out. When they headed to the final battle, it was only Cap and Bucky facing their foe.

I don’t want to give away anything for those who haven’t seen the movie, so you should stop reading now if that is you. SPOILER AHEAD!

Cap_IronMan_CivilWar
Image credit: technobuffalo

Cap admitted to Wanda that his concern for Bucky compromised the team. He took full responsibility for the collateral damage on the mission where this happened.

Further, he stepped beyond his “no romantic attachments” barrier by kissing Sharon Carter. Whether or not that makes her his Lois Lane, I don’t know. She certainly isn’t a helpless wallflower. After all, she’s a CIA agent with obvious skills. With an aunt like the amazing Agent Peggy Carter, she can probably hold her own against the bad guys who might abduct her to get to Cap.

Still, Cap no longer meets my third qualification. I said heroes with love interests were “forced to choose between their love and the wider world.” When Cap was forced into that situation in Civil War, I don’t think it had to do with his personal feelings. As I said in my earlier post: “he will never compromise his principles and favors no individual as more redeemable than another.”

I don’t believe he favored Bucky above Iron Man in the newest film. They were equally his friend.

However, Bucky needed help because he was being used as a pawn by someone with vile intentions. In this case, what looked like favoritism toward a friend was actually Captain Rogers protecting the underdog.

Because that’s what true heroes do.

**Original image for header on this post can be found here. All credit goes to those artists.

What do you think? Is Cap a vigilante now? Or is he still a hero? Can he be both?