Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Public Policy and Musing About Harriet Beecher Stowe

I've always thought a lot about the Civil War and researched it. My fourth great grandfather, from CT, was captured at the Battle of Bermuda's Hundred during the Civil War and died from TB he contracted in a concentration camp called Andersonville that was run by the south.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, the Uncle Tom's cabin author, is also from my hometown in CT. I grew up touring her home and reading about her thoughts and work to help end slavery. You would be amazed at what Christian ministers from the South would say to justify slavery. It just blew me away to read it.

When I see how blind reasonable and educated people could be back then, so lacking in being able to interpret a very straightforward story in the Bible, I wonder if I could be holding on to an attitude that someone else might be appalled at in the future.

What will our descendents say about how we allow people to live in poverty in the inner city here or how we warehoused our eldery? How will our public policy, what we have done or not done, how will it be judged? Will people say in a hundred years, "You used to kill animals and EAT them?" How will the death penalty be judged as forensic science continues to advance and more people are cleared? Will we be heroines like Harriet Beecher Stowe, who significantly helped change US policy with her work, even though she could not vote?

Or will be be considered as unenlightened as some of the ministers I mentioned?As you know, I had one of my eye surgeries in CT. During my daily walk route three weeks ago, I walked through a public park along the river which has outdoor statues. One of them is a bronze of Mrs. Stowe and President Lincoln when they met at the White House. She was very short and when he met her he reportedly said, "So you're the little lady that started this big war."