Look, I get it.
Every time you log onto Facebook, you have to withstand a never-ending deluge of friends and acquaintances pitching you their music, their artwork, their crochet patterns and/or their multi-level marketing schemes.
Between that and the absolute explosion of gripping television dramas, documentaries and podcasts, it's getting more and more difficult to see and listen to every great piece of entertainment out there.
So with all that variety...why choose to support MY work? I'm glad you asked. Here are SOME reasons why I think my project is worth your time.
1. IT'S RELEVANT (even though it happened 250 years ago)
The events leading up to and following the American Revolution, the battles and debates that ensued, the progression and regression, the victories and the missed opportunities...they all have direct ties to the success we've achieved as a nation, and the problems that still plague us today.
For example, schools tend to teach a brand of history that claims the enslavement of Africans in America was a practice that everyone was OK with at the time, and that it just took a while for people to wake up to the horrors of human bondage. In reality, there were groups of people large and small who spoke out against slavery from the beginning. There were attempted slave rebellions and efforts to abolish the practice before the Declaration of Independence was ever drafted.
In the end, the white men who led us through a revolution and crafted a system of government to try and stick the landing...chickened out. They passed the buck to the next generation of leaders, enacting policy that forbade any change in laws addressing the slave trade until 1808. Why? They thought the Southern states would leave the union if they lost their free labor (and eventually, they did just that).
That's just one example, but digging deeper into that and other issues from the past sheds all matter of light onto the crucial politics and policies of today.
2. CIVICS is more important than ever!
Countless research (like this, this, and this) shows that unacceptably large percentages of Americans don't have basic knowledge when it comes to civics. This includes being able to name all three branches of government, knowing which political party holds a majority in Congress, and how a bill becomes a law.
Now don't get me wrong, you won't ever catch me giving a civics lecture on my podcast and expecting you to pass a quiz the following week, but I often venture into the nitty-gritty of partisan politics, Supreme Court cases, the balance of powers and the never-ending struggle to protect "all Men" under the Constitution. If anything, these stories from the past will be a good primer for understanding the insanity of the present.
I'm not saying you'll sweep the CIVICS category on Jeopardy after listening to Rebellion...but you'll definitely impress your significant other when you nonchalantly drop a "Who is James Madison" before Alex even finishes reading the clue.
3. It might shake your cynicism (like it did mine)
In this day in age, it's easy to let the news bog you down with despair or apathy. It feels like the whole world is on the brink of destruction, doesn't it? Well when you think about it, we're better off now in almost every conceivable way. There was no magical utopian era where the people of Earth were wrapped in a warm blanket of peace and harmony...
For instance, as early as our nation's third presidency, tensions with England were taking hold again, peaking when British soldiers shot at American sailors who refused to submit to a search (killing 3 and injuring 18). These tensions eventually led to another war. Pirates were plundering ships off the north coast of Africa, our Vice President murdered his political rival and then attempted to secede a number of western states and install himself as ruler, the majority of trade between the leading nations of the world was driven by forced labor under brutal, punishing conditions; all while America expanded westward despite violent opposition from Native groups who called those areas home, and oh yeah...yellow fever, malaria, smallpox, the flu and the common cold were killing people left and right.
There are a couple things I hope to impress upon you through the episodes of this podcast: one, the world may be a harrowing, inescapably dangerous place, but we can learn from the past to help steer us forward; and two, we're lucky enough to live in a nation that allows us to affect change, so just like the unsung heroes often highlighted in these episodes, it doesn't always take a king, a soldier, or a president to guide the way to tangible change.
The present always seems chaotic, but the past helps calm the storm and put things in perspective. Don't give up on the United States just yet.
4. I really love making it
There are a couple different people I'm trying to target with this podcast: history buffs, obviously, but also people who love to learn new things even though they may not remember who George Washington's Secretary of War was, or that we even used to have a Secretary of War (it was Henry Knox and I know, right??).
If you fall into one of those categories then I think you'll love this podcast. If you don't...do it for me, man. I found something I really love doing and I think I'm pretty good at it (at least I hope). If you listen to it, not only will you certainly hear some fascinating stories and be able to impress your friends and co-workers at dinner parties, but you'll also be supporting someone who loves what they do.
5. It's free
There are numerous ways to support my effort to communicate the history of our country to the public and reinvigorate dialogue around civics and the importance of studying the past (hmm...just thought of an idea for my next blog post). You can become a monthly patron, or buy merchandise from my website (the money goes to the cost of hosting the podcast, traveling, purchasing books for research, and making improvements to the podcast equipment), but the easiest thing to do is subscribe and/or write a review. It doesn't cost you anything. The more subscribers/reviews I get, the more exposure I get. Exposure leads to new listeners, and more listeners lead to even more exposure.
Clicking the SUBSCRIBE button, as J-Lo would say, don't cost a thing, so I hope you will!