The Wrong Side of History

You probably haven’t spent much time thinking about this, if you have thought about it at all. But people alive today are living in the first generations in which nearly everybody is leaving a digital footprint.

Think about what this means. Our progeny, probably for all time, will have access to many of our thoughts and actions. Any member of a future generation who researches their family tree will have access to what their ancestors from our generation are saying and doing now. We don’t even have to do anything that will reach the public records, or the newspapers. We don’t even have to be newsworthy ourselves. Our thoughts and actions are being recorded for all time.

Does this cause you any concern?

Here is something else to think about, and it is directly related to our personal digital footprint. We also live in the Information Age. Perhaps future generations won’t be impressed by this. They might think our access to information is very primitive. Technology tends to work that way. But future generations will know that we have access to all kinds of information. They will know if we are choosing to spread ignorance instead of truth.

Are you on the wrong side of history? Are you supporting people and issues which are on the wrong side of history? If so, your digital footprint will tell future generations in your family.

Your future great-grandchildren will know if…

  1. You support those who impede progress
  2. You support those who spread misinformation for political gain
  3. You spread this misinformation yourself
  4. You support those who are spreading hatred
  5. You spread hatred yourself
  6. People go hungry because of policies you support
  7. People get sick and die because of policies you support
  8. People die needlessly in wars because of policies you support
  9. You care more about making partisan statements than making true statements

You are on the wrong side of history if you fall into any of the above categories. More than that, you are leaving a digital footprint for future generations to know where you stand. You might feel secure in what you do now, since your words and actions are in line with millions of others today. But today’s politics becomes tomorrow’s history. And your progeny will take note which side of history you are on.

Take a look at the world today, and where your digital footprint fits in. Do you really believe that future historians won’t pay much attention to the way Americans treated their first non-white president? Are you kidding? We are living in historical times precisely because we have our first non-white president. History will have a LOT to say about these times. How we react to this event will become as much a part of our historical heritage as how we reacted to any civil rights issue of the past. Historians haven’t forgotten what happened at Selma. Historians haven’t forgotten what Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, and countless others were put through. In many important ways, this is even bigger. The way people today are reacting to President Obama will become a major chapter in United States history – just like the Revolutionary War, the American Civil War, the Great Depression, two world wars, and 9-11 are major chapters in history.

History will record…

  1. Today’s deliberate and systematic opposition to everything that President Obama says, does, and supports – this includes documented instances of opponents switching sides on issues in order to remain in opposition to President Obama’s positions
  2. The first non-white president and his family were met with vile personal attacks on an unprecedented level
  3. Congress reached historic lows in productivity in order to prevent Obama from achieving legislative successes
  4. Unprecedented and endless attacks on a president’s legitimacy occurred when a black man became president for the first time in American history
  5. False claims on the president’s religion were widespread when we had our first black president
  6. The endless and asinine birther claims when we had our first black president
  7. The endless lies about the president’s record on the economy, immigration, and a number of other issues
  8. Congressional opponents of this president wasted taxpayer money on numerous lawsuits and futile attempts to repeal a healthcare law that has been successful in saving lives and money, simply because they didn’t want the first black president to achieve success on his primary legislative goal, and one which opponents had disparagingly attached his name to. Opponents have lied about the success of this healthcare reform
  9. As soon as we elected our first black president, opponents began stocking up on guns and ammunition while making unfounded claims that he was going to do away with the 2nd Amendment
  10. Congressional opponents endangered national security and the lives of our soldiers rather than support our president’s diplomatic efforts
  11. Congressional opponents endangered our national standing in the world through interference in the president’s foreign policy and diplomacy, in an attempt to undermine the authority of our first non-white president
  12. Numerous attempts to trump up conspiracy charges against this president, and the fact that millions of Americans believed such claims
  13. Corporate media has been a willing leader in disparaging this president
  14. Conservative social media is filled with vile racist statements against the first black president in American history

History will also record that President Obama has achieved a number of noteworthy successes despite continuous attempts to block every one of his initiatives. I won’t attempt to list all of these successes here, but there are many of them, and in the Information Age everybody has an opportunity to know about them. Those who join in the chorus of degrading everything about President Obama are ignoring or lying about these successes. These are people who choose not to pay attention to sources which might report this president’s successes. The president’s successes are significant enough that when the unprecedented opposition is factored into his record, history will place him somewhere near the top in a ranking of U.S. presidents. Those who continue to make claims such as “Obama is the worst president in history” are themselves on the wrong side of history.


The progress of American history always trends toward equal treatment under the law. We have never achieved equal treatment, but we always trend in that direction. Unfortunately, this trend is never a straight line – it looks more like two steps forward, one step back. We always have people putting up roadblocks to equal treatment. At any given point in time, we might appear to be moving against this trend, at least on some fronts. Those putting up the roadblocks are on the wrong side of history. Those opposed to equal protection are on the wrong side of history. Today, we are witnessing the LGBT community starting to receive long-overdue protection of rights, including marriage. While much more needs to be done in order to fully secure these rights, the historic trend towards actual equal protection will continue. It is taking longer than it should, and the process is uglier than it needs to be, because those on the wrong side of history are not giving up without a fight. As in previous fights for rights, such as the end of slavery and the end of Jim Crow, opponents are shamefully invoking religion in order to make the claim that even God is opposed to equal protection under the law. As in those previous fights, opponents invoke God by taking a few isolated Bible verses out of context to make it sound as if God shares their prejudices.

Bigotry is widespread in America. Many media talking heads are getting rich off of the prejudices of their followers. Bigotry is what they are all about. They spew hateful, disparaging comments about demographics they consider inferior, and millions of like-minded Americans tune in. When demographic clashes spill into the headlines, bigoted Americans join Facebook pages in support of perpetrators they know nothing about other than their clashes with minorities. Conservative Facebook posts are regularly filled with vile, hateful remarks directed towards minorities.

You say you are not a bigot? You say you aren’t the ones making bigoted statements? Maybe so, but if…

  1. You support those who do
  2. Your political positions and talking points are identical to those who are bigots
  3. You share bigoted posts on social media
  4. The Facebook pages which you add to your news feed are from bigoted sources
  5. You share or “like” Facebook posts filled with hateful misinformation and outright lies
  6. You support a position, and NEVER denounce bigoted statements in favor of that position, yet you DO denounce the president or some minority group based on lies or misinformation
  7. You are on the wrong side of history for any reason

…then you have a lot of explaining to do.

But you don’t have to explain anything to me. You need to explain yourself to your own digital footprint. Your great-grandchildren might respect you a whole lot better if you can do so.

Your positions on these issues may seem like nothing more than partisan politics to you now. You might not believe that you, personally, can be held accountable for being on the wrong side of history. But thanks to your digital footprint, your great-grandkids and their great-grandkids will know which side of history you are choosing to be on.

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Jerry Wyant