|Over the years I've collected substantial information about my family tree. Here is what I've learned about my heritage that goes back over many generations:
My ancestors were conquered by the armies of the Arabs, Assyrians, Babylonians, Danes, Egyptians, English, French, Germans, Greeks, Irish, Moors, Norwegians, Romans, Scots, Swedes, Spanish, Turks, and Welsh.
Their possessions were plundered, their women raped, their children kidnapped, and their lands taken.
They were wrongfully imprisoned, enslaved, tortured, maimed, and blinded.
They have been ruled over by tyrants, kings, queens, judges, emperors, presidents, republicans, democrats, whiggs, even a bullmoose.
They died of disease, war, starvation, accident, murder, and even old age. They were executed without a fair trial.
They were persecuted, even driven from their homes and families because of their race and religious beliefs.
They have endured and overcome illiteracy, deep poverty, and oppression.
They were single parents and were raised in single-parent families. Some were orphans.
Who am I? I am a white Anglo-Saxon citizen of the United States of America. Ironically, many of these conditions have affected my ancestors right here in the "land of the free, home of the brave."
The point is: We all can look back into our heritage and see man's inhumanity to man as well as the effects of nature on man.
Does that make us victims of the hardships our ancestors endured? Only if we believe we are victims of the past.
Unfortunately, some members of certain groups seem to believe that they are the only ones who've had trials in their family history and therefore feel entitled to apologies and compensation from the rest of us. They believe they need not take responsibility for their own future because of evils done to persons long dead.
Victimization is not a condition imposed on one person by another. It is only a condition a person accepts, even seeks.
That is not to say that we don't have challenges in life. However, if we take responsibility for our own lives and choices, we can be students of the past -- but we need not be victims of the past.
It is up to each of us to do the best we can with the hand life and circumstances have dealt us. We all can attain success by making the best possible choices and by giving a hand to those who stumble.
The choice is mine. The choice is yours. It is not the choice of some oppressor of the past.