I bet you are thinking, "Oh, good Lord! She's writing about Hamilton again!" You would be wrong. (Although, on a side note, I will be seeing it soon! The tickets I bought a YEAR ago come February, are for the show in April! So, hurrah!) No, I do love shows like Hamilton that tell a story from history that is uplifting and encouraging.
Lately, I've been listening to, and reading stories from history that comfort me for an entirely different reason; humans have been pretty dumb for a very long time.
Did you know that you used to be able to pay a quarter to watch a fight between a rat and weasel? If you paid a dollar you could make bets on how many rats a dog could kill in 10 minutes. A find dog named Duke killed over 700. He was the best, they said. Or how about this, in the 1970s there was an organization that started out supporting the kind treatment of animals. They wanted to "disrupt" the system, so they freed rats in their neighborhood, and used the front yard as a bathroom - all to draw the press to themselves, and to push their neighbors to "re-examine their connection to the environment". This plan eventually escalated into a shoot-out with law enforcement that led to the death of an officer, and an entire neighborhood burning to the ground.
How about this? There was once a ship called the Willie Dee that accidentally fired upon a ship carrying the President of the United States, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Also, competitive walking used to be a thing. Over four thousand people came out to watch two guys walk laps around and around for days on end-except Sundays -- they didn't walk on Sundays.
In the 1950s there was a kid named David Hahn who was fixated on science and bomb-making. He was able to obtain everything necessary to build a nuclear reactor. He was in high school.
In the 1800s there were two guys who bought diamonds with money from investors, and spread them all over the ground, and told the investors they had found a diamond mine. They made off with tons of money, despite the fact that the investors noticed that the diamonds appeared to be just laying around all over the ground.
In the 1930s America had Hitler summer camps for kids.
When a huge dead whale washed up on shore in an Oregon town in the 1970s, they decided to dispose of it by putting explosives under and around it. It did not go well.
Or how about the Donora Smog Disaster -- where weather and factory pollution left many sick and dead, and yet those in charge -- did not shut down the factories that kept billowing out toxic smoke.
Also, you do NOT want to know that whole situation with rabbits in Australia. Let's just say, if you introduce a species foreign to a land area, it can result in some pretty crazy situations, and adding ANOTHER foreign species to that community will NOT rectify the situation.
All of which is to say; we've been dumb for a long time. Sure there are stories of the amazing things people have done for the love of country, and family. There are tons of people who have overcome really terrible circumstances, only to do great things However, we make a lot of mistakes -- both as individuals and as political entities. This comforts me for some reason. We've survived a lot of things -- depressions, fires, floods, wars, but we've also survived our own stupidity -- again and again and again.
I guess that's why history gives me hope.
Hang in there people,