Conflict.

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Winter In Columbus, 2014

“With your MILH degree almost complete do you have a favorite time period in History?”

That’s an interesting question. My first thought was the present time, since we are relatively blind to the future and the analysis of whether or not we are at an irreversible point of self-destruction. A lot of comparisons have been made recently between contemporary problems faced by most western nations and the issues which caused the Roman Empire to fall, and I think that there is some truth to that. Along with that, what we are living through is an odd combination of similarities between the precursors to the First World War as well as the 1960s with all of the political alliances becoming strained and the social unrest which is growing in many countries. That’s the fascinating thing with History: it is proof that the fundamental issues are never truly new – they are just modifications of ongoing challenges faced by man.

In the course of my studies, I have found fascination in conflict. While unfortunate and tragic, it is an unavoidable part of who we are as a species and can bring out the good as well as the bad in us. It is because of our struggles with ourselves that we can grow, if we choose to learn from the past, rather than deny it. In chatting with a neighbor, the topic of fountains here in downtown Columbus came up, and he mentioned that every fountain marks the spot where there was once a tree where slaves were once lynched. I have not had the time to follow-up on this, but I find it fascinating that today, college students of all colors sit near many of these fountains and mingle, study, or just relax. Our past, and the conflicts we endured, have made us who we are today, and while a lot of our history is filled with deplorable acts, we are better because of those acts.

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