Proud patriots! All of them. And none owned slaves*
January 23, 2012
I am not part of American history. My ancestors fought and toiled and help build this country into the superpower it is today. Two hundred years ago, slaves built this country on orders of men who claimed everyone was equal. The vast expanse of our nation was cleared of the indigenous populations to make room for a newly born democracy. The thousands who died so colonists would have free land are now remembered with shame. While America has many great qualities, its history is filled with blood and hypocrisy. It’s not that we can’t be better, but to ignore the past is to live a lie.
In Tennessee, the Tea Party is trying to remove all mentions of slavery and genocide from American history. Why? To make the Founding Fathers look good. According to the so-called patriots:
The material calls for lawmakers to amend state laws governing school curriculums, and for textbook selection criteria to say that “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”
Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds, the group’s lead spokesman during the news conference, said the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.
“The thing we need to focus on about the founders is that, given the social structure of their time, they were revolutionaries who brought liberty into a world where it hadn’t existed, to everybody — not all equally instantly — and it was their progress that we need to look at,” said Rounds, whose website identifies him as a Vietnam War veteran of the Air Force and FedEx retiree who became a lawyer in 1995.
Let that sink in. We want to tell the truth about our country’s history. But the truth is only whatever these clowns want to tell. “Truth,” then, is a purposely distorted view of history that leaves out parts the Tea Party doesn’t even contest are false. In the same breath where they whine about distortions, they want to leave out key facts they acknowledge to be true. I have written about this before, and I’m glad Tennessee is continuing the grand tradition Texas began of dumbing down education for the sake of politics and ideology.
There is, of course, a difference between “facts” and “truth.” A fact is a universally accepted piece of evidence. Was JFK shot? Yes. Did the Founding Fathers have slaves while they wrote “all men are created equal”? Yes. Do Michael Bay movies almost universally suck? That’s a given.
“Truth” is what you make out of the facts, and the more facts you have, the better the “truth” becomes. It was once truth that the sun revolved around the Earth. We worked with the fact that sun moved through the sky and we didn’t feel we were moving. Eventually, we learned more facts and the truth become more complex, culminating with our current cosmological models.
If we cut enough facts for convenience, we can make any argument.
Jeffrey Dahmer was a great cook persecuted for his unorthodox lifestyle.
Bush developed a strategy that good troops into the Middle East and secured much-needed oil, helping American businesses.
Stephanie Meyer wrote a series of books praised by millions.
Newt Gingrich would be a great president because he is charismatic and women love him.
I wish I could stop being surprised at crap like this. I wish I could say I wasn’t shocked to hear that someone wanted to stifle actual education and replace it with a political agenda. The sheer blatant lie, the fact that the Tea Party wants to lie about history and is up-front about it because they don’t like what actually happened, shouldn’t shock me like this.
I guess that’s what I get for still having faith in my countrymen.
Let’s wash all that bad mojo with Liam Neeson fighting wolves. He truly can make anything ten times more awesome.
To paraphrase the Daily Show, religion brings us together in a world torn apart by religion.
June 3, 2011
No, not THAT kind of Jewish problem, although this was perhaps the most shocking title I could think of to get some attention. If you clicked on the link hoping for some anti-Semitic post, you’re out of luck, pal. Try THIS charming pile of dogma and race-based attacks.
However, this does bring up an odd point when it comes to Americans and Israel. Obama gave a speech where he asked for Israel to go back to the borders it had in the 1960’s. It’s not a stance that’s new or even that controversial. Even Dubya made the same proposal without too much fanfare by comparison. However, the response from the Right was “Obama wants to destroy Israel because he’s suggesting a course of action Israel doesn’t want to follow.”
In fact, any time someone mentions a course of action that might inconvenience Israel, the Right has a collective heart attack. We must stand with Israel, they say! We have to stand by them no matter what!
Okay, let’s look at this from a purely physical sense. Has the global Jewish community suffered? Oh, of course. No matter how people insist on denying it, the Holocaust occurred, and even before that, Jews were often rounded up into ghettos and anti-Semitism is not a new phenomenon. Whether or not you believe Israel should have been created is another matter, but the reality is that the state exists and it faces serious questions as to how it and its neighbors will coexist.
But since when do we just give a free pass to any country to just do whatever it wants? Why do we believe we must help Israel at all costs JUST BECAUSE it is Israel? Remember, these are the same American conservatives who balk at the idea of affirmative action and welfare.
The answer has to do with the American Christian conservatives. If you’ve ever read through the book of Revelation, and it’s a fun read if you’re drunk, you’d know that Jews returning to the Holy Land is one of the conditions that must happen before Christ returns. And Christ returning is a big deal. He’s going to be on boxes of Wheaties and get his own toy in Happy Meals.
It will be a glorious day for Christendom, a day Christians have been eagerly awaiting for more than two thousand years…
Except that it doesn’t end well for the Jewish community. Not at all. See, the list of who gets to go to heaven is, well… small.
They link Hebrew teachings and Israel like they link Christianity and America. Of course, Israel really was founded on Jewish principles for Jewish people.
But think about this for a moment. Like I said, the Right gives Israel a free pass because Jews have suffered, yet the Right doesn’t like entitlement programs. A lot of the attitude we have in this country towards Israel is based on the idea that we have to make things fair for them. The Right says we must do everything in our power to help Israel, yet what they really want is to hasten the End Times. And like I said, it doesn’t end well for, well, anyone.
When someone says not supporting Israel, no matter what the country does, is anti-Semitic, please remind them that there is a difference between the state and the religion. This isn’t about what is best for the nation or for Judaism. This rant is about this country’s default position and why we go there. I’m not saying to not support Israel, because I think we should. I just wonder at both our motives and our real reasons for wanting to help them. Beck and others like him don’t really understand the concept and, although I’m sure Beck is just putting on a show for money, many only want to help Jews because they believe it will bring Jesus back.
One entire ethnicity wiped out so JC can come back? Sounds fair, right?
And finally, to really get an idea of the kind of brain washing we subject our population to, the kind of thinking we instill on children, check out the following video explaining why we have so many patriots who dogmatically defend this country despite reason. See you on Monday!
My sister called me to her apartment. My fiancé and I don’t have cable, and she said Obama was about to announce that Bin Laden was dead. Mary and I rushed to her place and waited until Obama confirmed, without a doubt, that the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks was in fact dead, killed by a precision operation in Pakistan.
Right then and there, I felt two things. First, I was glad that the mass-murdering son of a bitch responsible for pushing us into a pseudo-police state complete with socially acceptable racism and fear that Big Brother is watching us finally got the bullet to the head he deserved.
Secondly… I caught myself for thinking that I was glad Bin Laden got a bullet in the head.
Look, I remember the horror when the Twin Towers were hit. They wouldn’t let us have the news on for the first part of class that day and all I’d seen was the second plane hit live. When they finally turned the news back on, all we saw was a cloud of dust.
“Where are the towers? Where are the towers?”
I must have repeated it for a full minute before my brain finally accepted that they were gone.
I shut myself in my room when I saw that we’d invaded Iraq as one of my “friends” cheered for more bloodshed. I watched video on CNN that reminded me too much of the first Gulf War.
I worked in DC during the ninth anniversary of the attacks and could hear “Amazing Grace” playing from every office in the Cannon Office Building as everyone paused for the memorial at the Pentagon. It was the only sound you could hear through the tall halls of the Cannon House Office Building right by the Rotunda.
And despite having pushed us into a world where air travel is a humiliating experience complete with full body scans, a world where Muslims are still persecuted for the actions of a few radicals, a world where a sizable percentage of my countrymen yearn for war and blood and we seem to be regressing, I don’t think I wanted Bin Laden dead. I wanted him on trial. When the victims are dead, those of us that stay behind must speak for them. I wanted him to spend the rest of his life in a cell plastered with the pictures of the men and women he helped kill and the servicemen and women who were killed or maimed because our leadership started two wars to try and capture him.
But not dead.
Still, I can’t say I didn’t cheer when I heard the news.
Even though this may make things worse, for a moment at least, I feel a sense of relief. Yes, the revenge killings will probably come, but I feel a sense of closure, however bitter it may be. It’s like Bin Laden had this Xanatos Gambit where getting killed would show us to be revenge-drive lunatics like his own bombers and, if he lived, we would appear weak. Someone like him very likely had no intention of being taken alive. Whatever happened, we lost in the end.
Not that I don’t think he deserved what he got, though.
Frankly, a Navy SEAL team shooting him is merciful. I wanted to drop him into the middle of Times Square, shine a spotlight on him and say, “Have at it, folks,” while I handed out hammers and skinning knives to the people of New York City.
You might be thinking that an $88,000 watch is ridiculous, and you’d be right, but that doesn’t mean that the reviews for this amazingly over-prized watch aren’t hilarious in on themselves. Did you know it’s made of Popes?
Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest president of all time (cue lame pun).
The Right is already spinning Bin Laden’s death as everything from a tragedy to proof of corruption. Wow. A hundre4d bucks says that if Bush had given the order, they wouldn’t be complaining.
Well, the Texas Board of Education voted, and here are some of the more egregious results. I warn you, though. Take some Dramamine before you read this. While a few controversial changes I wrote about are now gone, a few others passed with little to no resistance.
Before I get to these, I’d just like to say that I am genuinely scared for children right now. These people have done a disservice to both the state and the concept of education. It was a conscious effort to make history… nice. Make history show something specific, not what happened, but what they wanted to show. It’s all done in the name of the greater good, but it’s hardly doing anyone any benefit. They are the people that make parents think, “Hey, home-schooling or un-schooling sound good right about now.” And while both have their merits, we shouldn’t have to really get to that point because schools fail so miserably. My boss mentioned private school for her kids’ future and, if I were in her shoes, I’d seriously consider it at this point.
When I become the god-emperor of Earth, I will make these kinds of crimes punishable by being forced to memorize pi to the hundredth digit. In three languages. While a real teacher beats you with a wiffle bat.
Wait, here’s the list of just SOME of the changes.
America is a “constitutional republic,” not a democracy.
This statement is 100% true, but here’s the problem. Board member Cynthia Dunbar stated that this was done to minimize confusion. She said she didn’t want students thinking they lived in a “pure” democracy. Oooookay… why not just have one sentence explaining the difference?
To give a little background, David Barton, an expert with a revisionist streak consulted by the board and one of the few experts they listened to, said students should learn “republican” values, not “democratic” values. He may have been speaking about the difference between a republic and a democracy, but the wording makes it clear that they want to push a political agenda.
And if you still think it’s a coincidence, they’ve even renamed “democratic societies” to “societies with a representative government.” Wow, talk about adding verbosity to an otherwise innocuous political phrase.
Board Member Cynthia Dunbar pushed Jefferson and the Enlightenment out. The new amendment reads (section not in bold in the original): “explain the impact of the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone.”
We’re going to ignore that Jefferson is globally recognized as the author of the Constitution and the inspiration for revolutions in other parts of the world. Oh joy. The rationale, says Dunbar, is that Jefferson’s ideas were based on the writings of others, so it’s helpful to just learn that instead.
Wonderful. When discussing cooking, do we ignore the chef and talk about how the farmers grew the plants or what we fed the cow from which we took the beef? I’m getting sick here…
Students will study the decline of the U.S. dollar and how it relates to the abandonment of the Gold Standard.
There are a lot of reasons why money changes value. Anyone else thinks this sounds like the kind of crap Beck keeps shilling on his shows? Paranoid elements in this country blame the Fed, the abandonment of the Gold Standard, and taxes for every ill, and this sounds, at least to me, like a smoke screen to talk about those paranoid theories.
America is the greatest nation on Earth and the UN are working for the Illuminati. Sort of…
Don McLeroy, dentist, added an amendment that will require students learn American exceptionalism. In other words, we are a great nation no matter what anyone says and no matter what you may learn. It’s indoctrination, because while we may be a great nation, schools are not a place to force beliefs on anyone.
Together with this, students will now learn about international efforts, like those of the UN, to subvert American sovereignty. That’s right, we get to learn about the international conspiracy to rob the US of its rights as a free nation… except that the Board didn’t actually cite examples. This is like saying that we have to learn how the government is controlling the population… but without citing specific examples.
I wrote a few days ago how the Board tried to replace the phrase “slave trade” with “Atlantic triangular trade.” Well, the new term is the “trans-Atlantic slave trade.” That one caused WAY too much controversy even for these guys and gals.
Christians can stay. Everyone else OUT!
Board member Ken Mercer brought up the existence of Congressional chaplains, prayer in Congress, and the phrase “In God We Trust” as proof that we are a Christian nation.
Later in the debate, an amendment by Mavis Knight was defeated. The amendment would have required that students learn about the separation of church and state and why the Founders felt such a measure was necessary. Instead, Dunbar went on and on about how the Founders actually wanted to promote religion and the so-called separation actually meant that government had to stay out of religion, but religion could enter government.
Essentially, the Board now mandates that children not learn the government cannot establish or promote a particular religion.
Dunbar also pushed an amendment that required students learn “the laws of nature and nature’s God” in relation to our country’s political foundations.
If you’ve ever eaten shell-fish, I guess you’re going to get stoned to death. And Red Lobsters across the state will burn to appease God.
This one’s a very small change, but dates will be specified as “Anno Domini,” or “Year of Our Lord,” instead of the more religiously neutral “Common Era,” or “CE.” Dates before the first year would have been noted as “BCE,” or “Before Common Era.”
But then again, this is a Jeezus-lovin’ nation, right?
Socialism bad. Free Market good.
The board will keep the amendment that mandates capitalism be referred to as “free enterprise.” It seems they still feel, despite various academics telling them the contrary, that capitalism is a negative term.
Grab yer guns, boys!
Board Member Barbara Cargill helped pass an amendment that discussed the right to bear arms and how it relates to the First Amendment. The original version talked about the freedoms in the First Amendment as extremely important to personal freedom, but Cargill and Dunbar said this unfairly made the First Amendment look more important than the others and pushed to include the Second Amendment in that discussion.
Before I get a lot of email telling me the right to bear arms is important… I know it’s important. I’m for it.
The problem is that the original discussion focused on the importance of free expression, and the right to own guns has NO bearing on that. That’s a separate amendment.
Oddly enough, the change in the wording leaves out RELIGIOUS freedom. That’s not part of free speech, it seems.
Board Member Ken Mercer pushed an amendment that would require students to discuss how taxation and regulation hurt business. There will be no talk of how taxation and regulation can be a good thing, though.
So go play with those lead-lined toys, work in your sweat-shop, and make sure you drive down that unpaved road. Because if we have standards, the terrorists win. And they’ll rape you.
Gays? What gays?
The Board passed a motion that strikes a standard that states students must “differentiate between sex and gender as social constructs and determine how gender and socialization interact.” Mavis Knight of Dallas insisted the original standard was a way for students to learn about the changing roles of men and women.
However, Cargill argued, and I’m not exaggerating here, that she did a Google search and found the amendment would expose children to “transexuals, transvestites and who knows what else.”
Excuse me? She GOOGLED it? That’s the basis for not talking about gender roles and sexuality in an academic context?
If we’re basing school curriculum based on the internet, should we also learn about the hazard Pedobear poses to underage girls?
Chicana artist Santa Barraza is out and Tex Avery is in.
You remember Tex Avery, right? He created Bugs Bunny and several classic Warner Brothers characters. Well, in a state with a massive Hispanic population, apparently Santa Barraza has a painting that shows nudity, making her inappropriate for middle schoolers. Which painting? The Board didn’t specify. She’s out. Tex Avery is in.
Not that Tex Avery didn’t contribute to the development of animation in this country, but are we now saying that a cartoonist is more relevant to Texas than a local artist who explores ethnicity, race, and integration through art and who, in fact, had several paintings hanging in the Texas governor’s mansion?
Oh, and most of Barraza’s work depicts women. Avery? Well…
Let’s just say it’s not what you’d call an enlightened perspective. Moving on…
Amendment claiming the Civil Rights Movement created “unrealistic expectations for equal outcomes” is struck down.
However, it happened only after an intense backlash. Just to give you an idea of the kinds of people rewriting the history of minorities and civil rights, here is Don McLeroy, dentist, to explain who are the real heroes in the Civil Rights Movement:
Hip hop is still out.
McLeroy pushed to take hip hop out of talks on culture, but he was overturned. When half the board was gone for the night, however, he proposed his amendment again and it passed with the remaining Board members.
And that’s it. That’s just a taste of what kids will have to learn, the standards for teaching, for the next ten years. Despite McLeroy’s claims in the last few days, they didn’t listen to any expert who didn’t have a highly conservative agenda. They let people talk, but the Board listened to none of them. You could virtually cut the vote in half along right and left-wing politics.
I’m done with this. Unless one of the Board members turns into a werewolf and eats the others, I’m just about done with this.
Weird... I always thought slavery was fairly important to American history. Then again, I thought the same thing about Jefferson, MLK, science, and freedom.
May 19, 2010
The Texas School Board will meet this week to make the final votes on a list of changes to the history curriculum that will destroy our concept of American history. I know I often mock, mercilessly in some cases, those who want to do something “for the sake of the children,” but this is actual harm. Now, they’re going to get to learn about Moses and our lack of slavery in history class. Oh joy.
That’s right, kids. The guy who wrote the Constitution had less impact than a guy who wouldn’t ask for directions for 40 years. Moses, it seems, was behind the Constitution more than Jefferson, so since Jefferson is now out because, let’s face it, the slave-banging Nazi doesn’t deserve to be in our books, we can now learn about Moses, a man who poured molten gold down the throats of his people when they disobeyed God.
It’s understandable… to a point. The story of Moses, a leader willing to give up a life of riches to free his enslaved people, has inspired Americans since the pilgrims. That much I understand. I just would like to know where people get off saying that the man who brought the Ten Commandments had an influence on one of the most influential calls to freedom, including RELIGIOUS freedom, in all history.
Maybe Half-Governor Palin can shed some light on this.
…If this had been a history test, they’d both be in summer school in two weeks.
We’re not based on Judeo-Christian beliefs because, and I’m sure you’ll both back me up on this, the Constitution does not mention Jesus in any way, shape, or form. It only mentions an amorphous creator, a very DEIST concept. Secondly, the freedom of religion is not there to protect Christianity religion from being oppressed. It’s there for everyone. And thirdly, even if points one and two were false, creating a government based on a single religion creates second-class citizens of those who do not follow that religion.
Oh, and if you think our rights come from God, I’d like you to look at this list of the Ten Commandments.
1) You shall have no gods before me
2) You shall not make for yourself an idol
3) You shall not blaspheme
4) Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
5) Honor thy father and mother
6) You shall not kill
7) You shall not commit adultery
8) You shall not steal
9) You shall not bear false witness
10) You shall not covet thy neighbor’s possessions.
Well, look at that… Only ONE of them, number 8, is actually a crime. Some of the others are only crimes under specific circumstances. To be fair, the translation for the sixth commandment is often translated as “kill” or “murder” depending on the Bible you use. If it really us “kill,” then out goes capital punishment and wars. If it’s murder, then yes, two out of ten are against the law.
But wait! There’s more!
Newton? What did HE Know?
Ah, Newton, old-school nerd extraordinaire. He gave us the three laws of motion, mathematics, and helped move the scientific revolution along, which is why you can read this text on a computer screen instead of a leaflet I would hand out like a crazy person.
Yeah… he’s gone from the books.
Now, Texas students can learn all about the great advancement of science… through military technology!
Granted, times of war spur technological development. World War II, for example, gave us nuclear weapons and, later, nuclear energy. And nuclear energy, of course, gave us the X-Men, Spiderman, and half of Stan Lee’s creations.
This one’s sneaky. It’s a lie by omission. The more dangerous part of it, though, is that it promotes the idea that war is good for scientific developments. Conflict breeds creativity, makes us stronger. Hey… I think I’ve heard this one before…
Oh, right. Great. Now Texas is taking notes from 1990’s video games.
And that was a GOOD game!
The idea that war is a legitimate means of improving a nation means that we must be in perpetual conflict if we wish to be better. What incentive does this give us to pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq? It makes us stronger, right? Maybe we’ll start a war with New Zealand next. It’s been a while since we saw some action in the Pacific.
Slavery? What’s That?
Hispanics already got the shaft when it comes to a lot of these textbook changes, but even ignoring that hip hop is a legitimate culture and putting Dr. King in the same category as the Black Panthers and blaming the Civil Rights Movement for, “unrealistic expectations of equal outcomes” for minorities in America, this one is just going TOO far.
America didn’t have a slave trade.
Oh, that’s right. There was no slave trade. We did, however, have something called the “Atlantic triangular trade.”
Can you just smell the propaganda?
It’s like saying that the Enola Gay didn’t nuke Hiroshima. It simply delivered pre-detonated fissionable device to an enemy nation in a time of war. Nice, clean, and easy!
Do I even have to say why this one is just plain insulting?
The whole thing is a disaster. The Board votes this week, and there’s no sign that anything has changed since the other articles I posted. Not that I thought the articles were going to create a revolution, but it’s nice to imagine.
And, Arizona, if you’re trying to beat my humble state in the Crazy Olympics, I’d say we’re tied now. Your move, Grand Canyon State…