You can never know enough history

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

This makes me think of something that’s been on my mind for long time – you can never, ever know enough history. I realize that I enjoy history much more than many people, but I believe it’s important for everyone to carve out time in their lives to understand where we all came from.

Along that line, here is a great article from the AP on Martin Luther King, Jr. His story involved more than racial issues. He also opposed militarism and advocated for the poor, and when he was killed, he was supporting striking sanitation workers. And here is an article on the history of getting a holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s important to remember who resisted it and why.

A little economic history, too – Here is an article in today’s “New York Times” by Paul Krugman on the importance of history and on how the typical worker fared during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

A reason to track even “current” history – A poll showed back in early 2003 that half of Americans thought that one or more of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqi. In my opinion, this was a testament to the efforts of the Bush administration to link the attacks to Iraq in the lead up to the Iraq invasion – see these stories here and here. The facts are that none of the hijackers were Iraqi and most were from Saudi Arabia, one of the regimes that we keep as close allies in the Mideast. But the American people “can be taught!”, as the genie says in Disney’s “Aladdin”. A 2005 poll showed that it was down to 24% of Americans believing that several of the hijackers were Iraqi. President Bush even now admits to the Saudi nationality of most of the hijackers. Maybe that admission will finally correct those holding on to their mistaken history in 2008. Lord, let’s hope so…

And last, I can recommend a book I’m reading right now: American Creation” by Joseph Ellis.

Update: Sadly, more on torture

As a follow-up on my earlier post on torture, here is Tom Ridge labeling waterboarding as torture.

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