Roger Marolt: If we had asked, we would have known we couldn’t afford it |

Roger Marolt: If we had asked, we would have known we couldn’t afford it

Roger Marolt
Roger This

I ran over a marmot. We felt the hit through the car’s suspension and frame. It wasn’t moving when I looked back through my side mirror. There was no chance to avoid it. It darted out and was under my tire. I know it’s not right to in some people’s minds, but I feel terrible.

I will get over it. It is part of the acceptable cost of progress. If there was no highway over Independence Pass, this would have never happened. As much as I hated hitting the poor marmot, I’m glad there’s blacktop from here to Twin Lakes.

Moments before this incident, my wife read a news story about Donald Trump and his criticism of Critical Race Theory. The theory is basically the recognition and examination of systemic racism in our country that fermented during this land’s formative years when slavery provided the necessarily massive human workforce to ignite the economy via the fledging cotton industry for what would become the most powerful nation in the world. The theory claims racism remains inherent in the American way of life even today.

What it contends is not difficult to imagine. Institutionalized slavery in America ran from 1619 through the end of the Civil War, almost 250 years. Although slavery was then officially abolished, many Black people remained indentured to their former owners for lack of any financial resources or educational attainment necessary to survive any other way. For the descendants of slaves, it has been a tortuous crawl back to even the appearance of being acknowledged as created equal since. They have not been fully embraced as members of the human race in body, mind and soul yet.

To put things in perspective, slavery existed for about 250 years out of the just over 400 years since Europeans began settling this land. Without the economic wherewithal generated through slaves, the American Revolution might well have been all for nought, if undertaken at all. There is no bigger or more important part of our history than slavery.

So, why is it impossible for some to believe that demeaning views, prejudiced beliefs, and stereotypes that stood throughout this period and dominated our culture from its infancy do not exist still in some form or another? It’s far more improbable that they don’t. The nuances of culture formed then hid in plain sight, as our eyes got as used to seeing them as our own faces in the mirror.

The thing about Donald Trump in the news that got me stirred up is that he directly tied the discussion about Critical Race Theory to violence and killings that occurred during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations and, to be fair, riots.

It’s not that he tied this discussion to mayhem. He was probably right about that. What got me stirred up is that the violence that occurred in this tumultuous time of racial tension has nothing to do with the truth about slavery and our history. Even if a Black person is incensed to violence because of a national debate about Critical Race Theory, it does not mean that Critical Race Theory is not correct.

What Trump inferred is that we should not entertain the merits of Critical Race Theory because of what it is doing: It is causing Black people to get uppity and this could threaten the domination we have held over them for centuries in this Land of the Free. It is the same reasoning that is employed to keep the theory from being examined in history or sociology classes, where it might be researched academically and proved to have merit. School is precisely where this should be studied.

Whether or not the discussion of Critical Race Theory leads some to violence is not a topic for debate. If violence is threatened by anyone or can be foreseen in any way, appropriate measures by law enforcement should be used to avert and diffuse trouble. We don’t need to vote on this.

What the question we need to spend ample time on is much larger and monumentally consequential: Was 250 years of slavery in America an acceptable cost toward founding our nation? We need to acknowledge that, at one time, We the People did think this was acceptable. We need to try understanding why we thought that. We need to explore if there is any way we can begin to fix it. Finally, we need to decide if we are to undertake this out of guilt or because we desire to do it out of decency.

Roger Marolt thinks we have turned the Founding Fathers into false gods, and he bets they would agree.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.