Instead of galvanizing me to act (though I’m not sure yet what I can do), this latest news story makes me want to sit down and release my frustration via a good cry:
U.S. history textbooks could soon be flavored heavily with Texas conservatism
The item made me painfully aware of two truths of which I remained ignorant to this point. First, it seems that the Texas education system is such a large consumer of new textbooks, it is able, quite literally, to determine the curriculum and ideology imbibed by the rest of the nation’s students. And in the second place, the Lone Star State apparently has no regard at all for the fundamental U.S. principle of the separation of Church and State. Unhappy with what they view as the “liberal leanings” of our children’s schoolbooks, they have decided to cherry pick the facts they like, excise the ones they don’t. And most disturbingly, it seems no one is going to stop them.
Among the new conceptions of our nation’s history that students will be told to embrace:
1. “A greater emphasis on ‘the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s.'”
In other words, less Bill Clinton, or the successful work of activists in creating awareness and containing the AIDS epidemic that threatened our populace 30 years ago. Instead, more Reaganomics, more Newt Gingrinch, more O’Reilly and Limbaugh.
2. “A reduced scope for Latino history and culture.”
As of 2009, Latinos represented a full 15% of the American population. That percentage is considerably higher in Texas. Nevermind that the State was once part of Mexico, Latinos will be marginalized in favor of the compelling influence of crusty old white men in the nation’s development. Tragic.
3. “Thomas Jefferson no longer included among writers influencing the nation’s intellectual origins.”
By the time I reached this outrage, I was tempted to start slapping anyone wearing a cowboy hat. Among the intellectual forerunners to be highlighted in Jefferson’s place: medieval Catholic philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas, Puritan theologian John Calvin and conservative British law scholar William Blackstone. Two of these three were never even colonists, let alone Americans. I realize Jefferson, a slave owner, was hardly perfect, but it’s impossible to overstate his importance in the U.S. origin story. Believe it or not, I am wiping tears from my eyes as I continue to contemplate this atrocity.
I could go on, but I will let you folks read the rest of this insanity for yourselves. The good news is that a final vote to implement these changes will not come until May. There is still time to stop the crazy. I just need to figure out how. Any ideas? If Rosebud runs up to me in six years, insisting that Joe McCarthy was really just a misunderstood patriot/martyr, I don’t know what I’ll do.