Friday, August 20, 2010

Wave(s) of the Past

When it comes to world events, it's helpful to keep things in historical perspective.

For example, here in the US, the news often focuses upon two, important issues: 1) illegal Mexican/Central American immigration; and 2) Islamic terrorism. To put things in historical perspective, the Spanish were exploring the New World before Martin Luther began, in 1517, to reform the Catholic Church; and the Islamic Ottoman Empire began twenty-five years after the death, in 1274, of philosopher/theologian Thomas Aquinas and ended, in 1922—an outcome of World War I.

From this—historical—perspective, is it any wonder that the population and inculturation of Muslims in both Europe and the US should increase over the years? Or that the population and inculturation of Mexican/Central Americans in the US should increase?

The march of time and of history continues on . . . and these two, great empires of (historically) recent times—the Spanish and the Ottoman—will continue to influence US and European population and culture for many years to come.

Here in the US, some people believe that the US should be English only; meaning there should be one, official language in the US: English. But, for all practical purposes, the US is already a bilingual nation: we use both English and Spanish. (One need only examine common warning signs or product packaging found in the US in order to note this.)

Although we are familiar with the fact that English settlers celebrated America's first Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621, Spanish explorers celebrated what could be considered America's first Thanksgiving south of present day El Paso, Texas in 1598.

Twenty-three years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, the Spanish were celebrating thanksgiving in America . . . at a distance of over 2,000 miles west of Plymouth.

America has a rich Spanish history, which many Americans fail to appreciate, and the current influence of Hispanic persons and Spanish culture in the US is simply the continuation of this history.

Europe has a rich history long influenced by Islamic culture, beginning only twelve years after the Prophet Muhammad's death in 632. Muslim persons and the Islamic culture will continue to influence Europe for many years to come.

The (historically recent) demise of these two, great empires is the historical event that has given rise to today's news about illegal immigration and Islamic terrorism.

The old cause we see the effects of.

Time, and history, marches on . . .

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