An outlandish scheme by southern Tea Party groups to edit textbooks mirrors an overwhelmingly rampant sentiment that has existed in the nation since the launch of “manifest destiny”; forget about the cruel, unjust means that got us here – as long as we revel in the enormity of our own self-indulged “goodness”, we can leave the bad stuff out of the books.
It is becoming more and more apparent that the fringe “Conservative” movement in the country – aka The Tea Party – is continually hijacking the Constitution for an historically-askew version of what they perceive the Founding Fathers may or may not have had in mind when they started this whole thing. While touting the notion of “American exceptionalism”, they seem to offer up truth as sacrifice via an outright denial of some of the more fallible traits of our national heroes and this country’s humble beginnings.
A few months ago, amidst the fervor of Tea Party rallies pushing for a new Republican-led Congress, I wrote a post citing the emergence to re-interpret the Constitutional “intentions” of our Founding Fathers:
“Last I knew – unless they went and edited the text books too – “anti-colonials” were the driving force behind the forging of this great nation. Radical elitists like John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Chase, Benjamin Rush, John Hancock and the remaining 49 signatories of the Declaration of Independence…were sought after by their then-ruling government as enemy combatants. Each individual lived in fear for their own safety and that of their families, as their actions toward toward creating a better, stronger union – a country called America – marked them as violent enemies to the Crown.”
Now, fast forward a few months and the evidence keeps on coming – most recently in a debate over what to teach students about the Founding Fathers’ agenda. As it turns out, Tea Party members in Tennessee are calling for state legislators to amend (edit) school curriculum in such a way that would actually eliminate factual criticisms of the Founding Fathers’ treatment of both Native Americans and slavery.
Tea Party members are insisting that state lawmakers modify textbook standards to “compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government,” and that “Neglect and outright ill have distorted the teaching of the history and character of the United States.”
Well, okay, that sounds reasonable, right? Nothing wrong with truth of history and government; perhaps a call for a more transparent means of knowledge transfer in public education. But, here is where things get….weird.
According to the chief Teabagger of the group, attorney Hal Rounds, there is currently “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.”
Um, say what now? “Made-up criticism?” Factually speaking, of course, this country was FOUNDED on the backs of Native Americans and slaves alike – a grossly disturbing “sign of the times”, so to speak, that many (not all) of our most reputable “founders” were guilty of.
“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,” said Rounds.
I agree, but many also continued to extinguish that very same flame of liberty, prosperity and pursuit of happiness by adhering to said “social structure” as it best suited their needs as well as their standing in society.
If Rounds and his fellow Tea Party members get their way, “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.”
Let me slow that down with emphasis on the absurdly ridiculous:
Of MINORITY experience…
In the history WHICH ACTUALLY OCCURRED…
Basically, according to Tennessee Teabaggers, the facts of history should not be taught if it seems to negatively tarnish the reputation of greatly admired, white Americans. I mean, let’s face it, it’s not like these gentlemen who were crucial to the founding of the nation did any BAD stuff to real Americans, right? You know, the white, Christian ones?
This outlandish scheme mirrors an overwhelmingly rampant and altogether unjust sentiment that has existed in the nation since the launch of “manifest destiny”; forget about the cruel, unjust means that got us here – as long as we revel in the enormity of our own self-indulged “goodness”, we can leave the bad stuff out of the books.
It seems that fringe Conservatives feel that school curricula tend to de-emphasize religion while catering to liberal views (better known as “facts”). Their attempt to further push conservative ideology and indoctrinate American youth into some skewed version of reality is remarkable.
It wouldn’t seem so bad if it was just in Tennessee – but it has already pervaded our culture in a sort of “reverse-politically-correct” name reversal. For instance, in Wake County, NC, Tea Party activists have successfully persuaded their local government to do away with longstanding racial integration policies. Meanwhile, a few states away, the Texas Board of Education edited its own school teachings to portray white American history a bit more positively – one way in particular being the swap out of the term “slave trade” with “Atlantic triangular trade.”
Which makes sense, really….because I am sure most black Americans can retrace their roots back to being…ahem…”Atlantic Triangularians(?)”