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Opinion: Repeating past mistakes

The Olympics kick off this weekend and as they say, all eyes are on Tokyo. The best of the best will display their athletic prowess performing on the world stage. Good luck and blessings to all the competitors!

In the real world: “Those that fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it.” Many great leaders have used a version of this statement while governing.

The deeply revered British statesman Sir Winton Churchill is said to have made this proclamation in a 1948 address to the British House of Commons. He is not the only leader to say it, or even the first one to make that proclamation.

It is a true statement advising one and all that the lessons of the past need to be remembered when faced with a similar situation.

This should not be construed as a call to pessimistic doom, but can just as easily be thought of as an optimistic challenge.

Attempting to repeat past victories isn’t a guarantee of success but it is a good place to start.

Many people dig for their ancestral heritage in hopes of explaining the character traits of the present. Just because an ancestor had bad habits doesn’t give one an excuse to continue them. In my simple view we are each born with a clean personality slate that can be modeled into a cheery disposition full of light and air, or a miserable countenance full of darkness and smoke, the decision is up to the individual.

I form this opinion because I have no real feeling of ancestral heritage. I grew up believing I came from stock that was part Irish, part Scottish and two tribes of Native Americans, Cherokee and Apache. I have no idea how far in the past I am descended from these forefathers and mothers.

I was astounded upon learning how bad life was for the Irish at various points in history. The only Irish family I felt I knew were the famous Kennedys. Through hard work and a relaxed attitude toward the rules, they overcame the derogatory aspects of their ancestors.

I have often said, mostly in jest, that if it wasn’t for being, “White Trash,” I would have no ethnicity at all.

Were someone to call me white trash in anger, I would not let it crush my spirit because being trash is something I have overcome. Being mostly white is not something over which I have control.

There is more to being Irish than dressing in green on March 17, drinking Irish whiskey, chasing it with a green beer whilst speaking with a brogue. For anyone who cares to know what else it means, there is a ton of research online. The same can be said of my Scottish heritage. It is not all plaids and thriftiness. Wearing a kilt, playing the bagpipes and dancing a jig are associated with these nationalities.

These trappings aren’t near as important as kindness, charity and modesty.

Always remember, it is the American part that is important. I might be of Irish descent, but I’m an American first, we all should be.

I had a very good friend when I was about 18 or 19 who told me, the things you find important now, the things you find of real value, 10 years from now you wouldn’t walk across the street to pick them up if they were giving them away by the buckets. I was still immature enough to believe he was full of hot air, and like most grownups, didn’t know what he was talking about. I have since realized the wisdom of his words regarding many of the things I once thought were so important. Priorities change and we adapt.

I envision a super-computer that would show the user the path not taken…

Watershed moments such as, if JFK not been killed in Dallas in November 1963, would the country have lived up to its potential of greatness he envisioned? However, it could have led to a darker history with nuclear bombs and the destruction of all we hold dear.

What sort of things would all the war heroes killed in action have accomplished had they not died defending the American way of life? What would their offspring have added to the mix? The possibilities are endless. They might have cured cancer, diabetes or aids. It is also just as plausible that one of those heroes’ offspring could have been another Jim Jones or Charles Manson. One never knows.

Each person’s life has its own watershed moments. Had your grandparents never met, never had your parents, there might have been no you. Or there could be a You, born to other parents. Another of those head-scratchers.

If everyone would vow to make their little corner of the planet even just a little bit better than they found it, the world would be a better place. That’s what I strive to do.

Long days and pleasant nights, have a safe blessed weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.



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