Friday, September 29, 2017

What Should We Take Away From Ken Burns' Lessons About Vietnam?

I have only seen a couple of the Vietnam episodes.  I have copied the entire series to view at my leisure.  Ken Burns was asked many questions in this interview.  The series ended with the Beatles singing "Let It Be".  He tried to explain why he ended the series with that song by the Beatles.  The quote below, from the end of the interview, caused me to think about the point that Burns wanted to make.  I have having been having a hard time dealing with the current threats to our system of governance.  At times it seems like the impossible dream that our founders had at the beginning our journey as a nation has been lost.  I am trying to replace cynicism with skepticism about our nation and our democracy.  It has not been easy.  I keep reading the quote below from the Burns interview:

And we’ve tried in some way, in a little tiny bailiwick, to say, you know, here’s the alternative to that kind of cynicism — a kind of healthy skepticism. We’ve put all of the facts to an extraordinary test, both a scholarly one, an artistic one, a human one, in the course of doing it and we’re very confident that it will hold up. But also mindful that it will also provoke in people on both ends of the spectrum really negative reactions, because they want to see things only one way and will adhere to that binary sense that they are right and everybody else is wrong.
 Donald Trump is our current Vietnam.  Hopefully, my concerns  about our system which enabled my fellow citizens to put Trump in the White House will not lead to cynicism.  A healthy skepticism may be more productive.  We have a better understanding of the disease but it will take a lot of work to develop a cure.

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