If history is mostly the “usable past,” as David Lauderback asserted in our Free Minds second Saturday event, what will be usable from this day? I can’t know until I’m further into the future, but I might remember that we live in a time that exalts personal experience. (A blog of photos and paragraphs from my life, anyone?) Or that “Moonlight Serenade” was considered America’s second national anthem during World War II. I learned that there was once a national paint, varnish, and lacquer association, and they used Cold War fear to get people to paint their fences. And I was reminded, quite clearly, that the politics of the fear of terrorism are just the politics of the fear of nuclear obliteration, repackaged. But what may ultimately be usable to me, what might shape my future action, has less to do with historical facts and more with the mood of a room. An animated, smart facilitator. Students and community members gathered around a table. Conversation. Laughter. Connection. Because that’s what makes me return to create the next event, and the one after that.
March 14, 2015