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Monday, October 18, 2010

Tread On Me - Please!

We are discussing altered history textbooks. These are books that are changed to teach history in a biased manner that somehow serves an ideology or the state, but which has little to do with truth. In the last post, we discussed what has been done along these lines recently by China, Iran and Russia.

Let’s move closer to home. Let’s talk about Texas.

The yellow rose has wilted. Texas, once a land fabled for open spaces and for being a tower of freedom, has become the land of ideological indoctrination and petty-minded educational bias. (The following is based on an article found in The Week, October 1 issue, and is my response.)

If you’re a school kid in Texas, thanks to the intrepid work done by a group of zealots placed on the Texas Board of Education, here’s what you’re going to start learning from your textbooks in 2012:

- Thomas Jefferson was NOT an important founding fathers. He’s a “minor figure”. This because he authored the idea of separation of Church and State, so the zealots on the School Board are going to get back at old Tom. And he really wasn’t important to American History, now, was he? He was only our second Vice President, our third President. Tom and Ben Franklin brought France into our Civil War which was instrumental in winning that war and our freedom. Oh, and he did write an unimportant document that barely deserves to be discussed, the Declaration of Independence. You know, “When in the course of human events blah blah blah”?

Oh, and by the way, nearly ALL of the founding fathers supported separation of Church and State. They and their immediate ancestors had fled a Europe dominated by nations controlled by churches. Remember the Inquisitions? The Thirty Years’ War? Our founding fathers wanted to build a nation where anyone could worship or not in freedom and as they saw fit. So maybe they were ALL unimportant? George Washington, John Adams, the whole lot of them? They wanted separation of Church and State. Washington insisted on it as her did not want to be like Henry VIII, the head of state and of the state church. I guess George wasn’t very important either. Man, those are going to be very thin textbooks!

But let’s not allow facts to get in the way of a well-slanted history textbook. At least, not in Texas. Thomas Jefferson, a minor figure indeed. But Texas school children, thanks to an incredible degree of blind zealotry, will be taught this lesson. It is so “mandated”, and major publishers greedy for educational dollars are rewriting textbooks as we speak to satisfy this bizarre set of demands. There’s more.

- Cesar Chavez is no longer to appear in history at all. Thousands of immigrant farm workers whose lives were drastically improved through his efforts are going to be very sorry to learn that there really was no Cesar Chavez, not so far as history is concerned. Their cause was never represented. They have no place in history. At least, not in Texas.

- I know many people in our Southern States will approve of this change in history. America never indulged in slavery. Nope, there was no slavery here! In the new Texas textbooks, there was only “the Atlantic Triangular Trade”…and that form of enforced servitude (let’s not call it by the impolite term “slavery”, let’s maintain our manners and sip our mint juleps) was all the fault of the British! (I know that they will be horrified to discover this in Britain, but then, history textbooks are never wrong. Bad, British! Bad! To bed, and no supper for you!)

Congratulations, Jefferson Davis, you won the PR war after all! And Lincoln and the North, well, what DID they fight that Civil War thing over? If there was no slavery, why the war? It’s going to be fascinating to see how the Texas textbooks spin that little war, isn’t it!

I actually am having a very hard time deciding whether the Texas School Board is insane, utterly dishonest, just plain stupid or all of the above. What I do know is that by indoctrinating children in such an appalling and dishonest manner, they are guaranteeing an end result of mis-educated children who will have little or no actual understanding of history or of the nation they are a part of. They will, however, be well-indoctrinated ideologues who will cause endless problems with abiding by the mistaken and frighteningly ignorant ideas they will have acquired in school. Of course, there can be little doubt that ideologically brainwashed children is the goal of such a “Board of Education”. And the Inquisition has finally made it to America!

Folks, I am not a Texas hater. I’ve spent a fair amount of time there. My wife was born and raised there. A University Grad (University of Texas Austin) with a Masters Degree, she would have been SICK to see what’s happening in Texas, if she had not passed away in 2001. Her mother was a librarian, her father a scientist. They would have been equally disgusted. I like a lot of Texas and a lot of the people there. But I have to tell you that if you support such a bastardization of history textbooks, if you support the acts of such a “school board”, then you are profoundly participating in the dumbing-down of education, and doing a disastrous disservice to your children. And shame on you!

If you live in Texas and were unaware of these activities, get active. It’s your school board. Do something about it! Remove the ideologues from office and get some school board members who actually care about children and not about re-creating the world in their own image. Believe it or not, there is a substantial difference between education and indoctrination. It’s time that your school board learned the difference. If they can’t serve their children more honorably, they really need to catch the next stagecoach out of San Antone.

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