Before I begin, I wish to say that I thank God for freedom of speech, to own land, guns, animals, etc, etc. I appreciate the sacrifice men and women have made through the centuries to gain this freedom for us. But sometimes it's easy to forget that the winner writes the history. One of the great advantages of living in Canada is the different sorts of literature you can find to read. Authors write from the Canadian viewpoint of history, wars, famous people, etc. It is true that we have a lot of the same material available here that I have read down in the States but there is quite a lot here that wouldn't be as easy to find down there.
I just finished Janet Lunn's book, “The Hollow Tree”. It's about the revolutionary war written from a point of view I had never introduced to before. Phoebe's father fought on the side of the patriots and died for the cause. Phoebe's cousin, who was as close to her as the brother she never had, fought on the loyalist side and was hung as a spy by his patriot neighbors. With loved ones dying for the cause of either side, Phoebe was driven to a point of view that wasn't popular at the time... and still wouldn't be with some people.
“I don't even know for certain which side he's for... and I don't even care. I saw neighbors doing terrible things to neighbors... and those neighbors who did those things do not seem any different from [people she was traveling with who were full of bitterness]. ...I do not care who wins this dreadful war.”
Later, she has a conversation with a loyalist soldier in Canada.
The soldier sighed again, “I reckon fer me 'twas when the mob stripped the clothes off old Obadiah Hanks and slathered him with hot pine pitch and rolled him in chicken feathers [a person's skin starts rubbing off, at this point], then rode him around on a fence rail 'til he screamed. He hadn't done nothin' but call them a clutch of rowdies and roughnecks. That set my blood a-boilin' and I lit into Billy Pierce, and it wan't but a sneeze-up afore the whole clanjamfry of 'em was after me. I lit outta there lickety-split. I was set to hide in the woods fer a time and then go on home, but I was so riled, I up and took myself up to the St. Lawrence River and marched all the way to the British holdings up Three Rivers here in Canada and,” he finished on a low, sad note, “I joined up with 'em.”
“And now you hate it.”
“Wal, I don't see the use of it, much. I been in Gentleman Johnny's army alongside of Captain Sherwood and Colonel Peters and the rest in this here Queen's Loyal Rangers and I seen things worse than what happened to old Obadiah Hanks. What I ain't seen is, I ain't seen anything to make me doubt we'd all be a sight better off getting' the ---- outta here and goin' home, beggin' your pardon, Mistress...”
I love studying psychology. I watch how people react and deduct what makes them tick. I think that's one reason I love Agatha Christie so much. Her stories are all based around the psychology and why people do the things they do. I was reading a story of hers the other day called, “Death Comes As The End”. It's her typical murder mystery but set in ancient Egypt, for a change. :-) In this particular story, there is a family in which the father is the ruler/leader/boss over the entire family. Things have been the same for half of forever when suddenly the father brings home a beautiful and proud concubine. What happens after that isn't pretty but fairly interesting. Forgive me. :-P
But what is said in the end of the story is the interesting thing.
Yes, the concubine was a selfish, evil girl but she didn't change any of the members of the family. She simply uncovered who they were on the inside and let it out for everyone to see.
I believe this ties in with the Phoebe's view of the Revolutionary War. Becoming Patriots or staying loyal to the Crown didn't make people nasty or nice. It simply showed who they really were. And if I may say so, I believe the same thing applies to WW2 and the holocaust (or any other event which causes great strife and contention). People have never been forced, by Hitler or anyone else, to behave any way that was foreign to their innermost heart and will.
If they were selfish, they threw stones and shouted, “Dirty Jews!” or turned Jews in to the authorities. If they wanted to care about folks more than themselves, they hid and helped the Jews.
But it was more than than helping or turning Jews in or working in the underground. There will always be people on both sides who are 'good' or 'bad' people. There were patriots who hung their neighbors or sent them away from their homes to starve because they were on the 'wrong' side. There were patriots who were good and generous people who acted for the good of their neighbors and friends. And there were loyalists who did the same sort of things.
What it really comes down to whether we have the spirit of God in us; whether we are truly selfless. And you know what has to happen between us and God before that can become you or me!
When the time of testing comes for us, I wonder who we will be? Thoughts?