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When ReWrites Kill

February 13, 2018

“When the victors rewrite history,

it’s just another kind of war,

waged after the battlefield killing is done.

You murder the memory of the defeated.”

— narrator’s voice-over, a Netflix science fiction show


Let me get out of the way here. I happily yield this space to Mary Anna Elliott DeForrest-Pearce, colleague and friend IRL, with whom I was discussing this, albeit briefly, over the weekend. It’s with her gracious permission that I can share this with you —-

We are once again in a period of rewriting.

The Vietnam War has been polished down to a passing mention and all of the student unrest, protests against the war and the continuing battles for civil rights and women’s rights have been excised. For me, and I think also for you, these were formative events and issues, and the lack of remembering is an affront to all that I have become. No wonder we are having to refight the old battles we had thought were already won: the young aren’€™t being taught our history.

I consoled myself that I left the Annual Conference a place where women no longer had to fight for their place. (I remember doing an analysis of Conference boards and committees to find that the €œmajor€ ones had no clergywomen serving on them. A rule was made requiring that clergywomen be represented on all boards and committees. Boy, were the 6 of us busy running from one meeting to the next!) But if no one remembers how hard it was, will they someday be marginalized again?

No one remembers the battle the generation before ours fought for a seminary diploma to be required for full membership and the office of elder, and for the administering the sacraments in all but emergency situations. As it became easier and easier to become an elder I felt that my 3 years of graduate school with the attendant loss of income and mountain of debt had been rendered meaningless. The fight that Bob Treat, Bill Lewis and Robert S. Smith waged has been wiped from history.

My own dear children don’t know what Watergate was or what goes on the end of a scandal. Why? I took for granted that they would be taught about Nixon! And they weren’€™t!

Okay, I’ve gone on long enough. And yes, I’€™ve touched on the major reason I left the Conference. But yes, the victors have always written history. And it has always written out the losers.

Thanks for bringing up issues like this.

— No, thank YOU Mary Anna. Greatly appreciate you!



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One Comment
  1. Nigel permalink

    Mary Anna’s wisdom is born of pain.


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