Time, the Healer

There is an expression often used by the wise that time is the great healer, which of course means that as time passes people forgive wrongs done to them, scars slowly fade, and the memory of what was once so important, so terrible, slowly dims and is forgotten.

Time is a healer both for the individual as well as the society and culture at large. There have been many horrible actions taken by a government over its people, or by one group over another. Some of these wounds have not quite healed in America: for example, slavery perpetrated against African-Americans and, after the 13th Amendment outlawed slavery, its by-products in Jim Crow laws and the many forms of racism that continue to haunt and hurt people in the present. Likewise American Indians succumbed to the onslaught of aggressive government policies and greed among American land speculators and bigotry among white settlers that continue to hurt and haunt.

The passing of the years, the movement from one generation to the next, and the distance from past times of evil and woe, allow people to find a measure of contentment, tarnished some by the memory of past wrongs—but the wrongs become fewer and they are mitigated by a society that is increasingly aware of the wrong-headed policies and beliefs of the past.

Race-relations among whites and blacks, whites and American Indians, have clearly become less violent, more peaceful, and although there are some who hold on to past views and past wrongs, more people today in America accept others of different skin color, different beliefs and customs. We are truly becoming a more tolerant, multi-cultural society.

Time heals: it is a natural occurrence, a blessing brought by the passing moments of our lives as we move from youth to adulthood to old age.

Such healing cannot be rushed. Such healing cannot be legislated. A government that tries to force upon people a head-on confrontation with past wrongs and biased views stirs up people, makes people hope for premature change, inflames passions, and as a result violence often erupts.

Artificial healing, artificial removal of past wrongs and memories, doesn’t work. People must be allowed the time to forgive and forget. Natural ways are best. Time naturally heals. Let us embrace this slow movement of change, rather than trying to force it, artificially, by laws, directives, and the false promises of demagogues.

About theamericanplutarch

Writer, thinker, historian.
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