In the wake of pyrotechnic Fourth of July celebrations this past weekend and the noted ‘exceptional’ peoples back-slapping we all seem to do on this particular holiday, there also should be a pause for reality.
And real reality, not history figured full of ‘truthiness‘ and fitful fantasy.
Time allowed the creation of a historical atmosphere in America. When I was in the sixth-grade (1960-61), the concept of the US perpetrating genocide was so outlandish a proposition, it could’ve been considered near-treasonous.
And ridiculous on its face — this is America.
Yet even now, 55 years later and a bit more real, history unfettered, the assholes in Texas are doing what a lot of assholes want to do all over America — re-write history, putting sixth-graders back in ‘my‘ chair, a sort of ‘Back to the Future’s False Past‘ kind of scenario.
Via Slate and a look at ‘truthiness‘ in textbooks:
In the new standards passed, said “balance” consisted of upping the Founding Fathers’ commitment to Christianity, referring to capitalism (a term that the board believes has a “negative connotation”) as the “free enterprise system,” and offering a softer take on McCarthyism.
And that’s just in social studies; we’ll leave the never-ending campaign to replace the “controversial” subject of evolution with a more measured conversation about intelligent design for another day.
Most egregious of all was Texas’ recasting of the slave trade as the “Atlantic triangular trade.”
The textbooks based on these new standards, which will debut in Texas schools next month, barely touch on the subject of segregation, much less Jim Crow or the KKK, according to a report Sunday in the Washington Post.
And the causes of the Civil War get the most distorted treatment of all.
A push way-backward. Odd shitty something like that could occur nowadays. Which illustrates a sense of history, a controlled, structured history — last week, Dylan Matthews at Vox posted a most-interesting take on a shift in reality history, a piece that might/would have been considered sacrilegious in my sixth-grade class. (h/t Lawyers,Guns&Money).
In a one-sentence nutshell :
But I’m reasonably confident a world where the revolution never happened would be better than the one we live in now, for three main reasons: slavery would’ve been abolished earlier, American Indians would’ve faced rampant persecution but not the outright ethnic cleansing Andrew Jackson and other American leaders perpetrated, and America would have a parliamentary system of government that makes policymaking easier and lessens the risk of democratic collapse.
Matthews tapped the current ‘race‘ problem, a ‘complication’ which has never-ever gone anywhere away:
The main benefit of the revolution to colonists was that it gave more political power to America’s white male minority.
For the vast majority of the country — its women, slaves, American Indians — the difference between disenfranchisement in an independent America and disenfranchisement in a British-controlled colonial America was negligible.
If anything, the latter would’ve been preferable, since at least women and minorities wouldn’t be singled out for disenfranchisement.
From the vantage point of most of the country, who cares if white men had to suffer through what everyone else did for a while longer, especially if them doing so meant slaves gained decades of free life?
Read the whole thing, a thought-provoking concept.
Also a different read, a detailed version of the ‘Indian Wars’ at the History News Network in 2004, but although there’s a catalogue of obvious ethnic-cleansing incidents/techniques against Native Americans described, the situation wasn’t deemed that bad: ‘In the end, the sad fate of America’s Indians represents not a crime but a tragedy, involving an irreconcilable collision of cultures and values.’
On its face, bullshit. Read the comments section, for sure.
“Columbus and his successors were not coming to an empty wilderness, but into a world which, in some places, was as densely populated as Europe, and where the culture was complex, where human relations were more egalitarian than in Europe, and where the relations between men, women, children and nature were more beautifully worked out than perhaps in any other places in the world.”
— Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States.
And how did that narrative narrate?
Street-cred reality, per George Carlin: ‘“The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their assholes everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth. It’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.”‘
Just a feeling in the gut…
(Illustration above found here).