The Right Side of History: 20 Years in Review

The Right Side of History. It's a phrase that has been bandied about by some adoption reform activists - BN's Marley Greiner in particular - in recent years, largely to justify their hard line, "all or nothing now (AONN)/we leave no one behind" stance regarding records access legislation for adult adoptees. Unfortunately, over the past decade, the approach has left behind nearly everyone who they claim to be trying to help. "We haven't accomplished much lately," the reasoning goes, "but we're on the right side of history."

I respectfully disagree. If anything, history argues in no uncertain terms that change is messy, meandering, incremental and full of inequities and injustices on the way to the ultimate goal of human rights or equality under the law.

Ideals notwithstanding, how many people would dare to make the following arguments in support of the claim that this sampling of imperfect, inequitable efforts have relegated those who carried them out to a place of infamy on the wrong side of history?:

- Harriet Tubman and others who operated the Underground Railroad from the late 18th century through the Civil War betrayed some 4 million enslaved people by helping some gain freedom, but leaving behind many more before the Confederacy surrendered.