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Too far once again?

Updated on May 22, 2010

We know, we know....

There are signs all over Texas that say "Don't mess with Texas". they refer to trash being left on the roadways. I would like a new one to be installed: "Don't mess with parts of history that are not aligned with your agenda". Yesterday, the Texas School Board decided to remove some "unsavory" parts of US History from their History curriculum as they did not fit into their fundamentalist belief system. The British paper "The Independent" the following was written:

" Historians this week voiced concerns about the proposed revisions, many of which they have described as inaccurate. They are particularly angry that Jefferson's importance to the nation's founding fathers will in future be played down. That change to the curriculum was supported by evangelical Christians, who dislike Jefferson's support for the separation of church and state."

While I already believe that history book writers are skewed into writing from the victors point of view, I cannot help thinking this sort of revision is akin to what Joseph McCarthy did in the 1950's. In fact, some of the people voting in this decision felt he should be deemed a hero for his actions at that time. Are they serious? This is a frightening idea.

Thomas Jefferson was not altogether a wonderful man. He had slaves, and we now know he had children with one of his slaves, Sally Hemmings. He was however, a master mason and free thinker. He met with and espoused Enlightenment ideals and spent time in France with Ben Franklin, JJ Rousseau, Denis Diderot and Voltaire. These men, along with Immanuel Kant wanted people to Sapere Aude! Have the courage to think for themselves! Not tied to any dogma, he felt we needed to be free thinkers and choose that which worked for us as individually free people.

The American doctrine came from the French as well. The idea of Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness was not an American idea. There is a more global view etched in the doctrines of the US. This is why the "Tea Party" loses me. They want us to return to the "roots" of our countries ideas, but they also want to weed out the things that do not work for them, or meet their agendas. The result of this decision makes the Texas school board guilty of censorship, which is hard to believe in the 21st century.

Having had two children go through the Texas school system in the 1990's I can speak honestly about how the "system" creates adherents through the use of intimidation. Teas is the only state I know that mandates children to pledge allegiance to their state flag in the classroom as a matter of course. My fourth grade son was told he must participate in this ritual as well, until I advocated he be released from this duty. While in the system I also received a note home asking me for permission to impose corporal punishment on him if he "needed it", which I declined. And while he was in the school system I was told I would be brought up to the school board if he missed any more sick days, even though he had doctors excuses for his asthma. It was at this time I removed him from the public school system and home schooled him.

My daughter was in high school in the 1990's and was able to deal ost of the time with the dichotomy of the rules and belief systems espoused, but is now very happy she never has to return to the place that made her life one of duality by placing not only too many materialistic values above all else, but also trying to encourage conservative fundamental beliefs en masse with no tolerance for those of other faiths. If Texas is so unhappy, why don't they secede? I thin it would be better for everyone involved!


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    • Aley Martin profile image

      Alice Lee Martin 7 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      Amen Mickey!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Real history must be taught regardless of "it being a pretty story or easily digested". Thank you Aley!

    • profile image

      Sierra Greer 7 years ago

      Interesting insight into Texas's "way of doing things." I had no idea!


    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      There are a lot of historical figures who have done some questionable things in their time (and after all none of us is perfect!) but that is no excuse to write them out of the history books. History should be an evaluation of the events and personalities of the time good or bad, and you can't airbrush anyone out just because you don't agree with them! Texas plays with the truths of history at its peril!

    • Aley Martin profile image

      Alice Lee Martin 7 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      I have come to realize that all aspects of things we do not like are projections of the same in our shadow side. Time for me to look at the ambivalence I have toward these issues.

      "I am That"

    • Aley Martin profile image

      Alice Lee Martin 7 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      Amen to you.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      What this reminds me of is the new revisionist way that the history of the stalinist era is being rewritten in Russia at the moment. The children in the schools are being thought that Stalin was a great Russian leader, and the reality of the Gulags are being downplayed.

      History is far too important a subject to be distorted by anyone for political reasons, or any other for that matter.

      If people are not given a true picture of their specie's past they will continue to repeat their mistakes.

      I dont know much about the politics of Texas as I live in the United Kingdom, but it seems to me that they are embarking on a slippery slope that they would be well advised to keep off.

    • Aley Martin profile image

      Alice Lee Martin 7 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      Thanks for weighing in Nellieanna and Acer. I so appreciate it. I knew when I wrote this that it may upset those who believe differently, and from reading your responses it would seem my intention to be cautious in my wording has been of benefit. I understand how difficult it is to be "different" in a place where everyone is espousing similar ideals, and I applaud your ability Nellieanna to be able to steer from the controversy when with relatives! I have a number of conservative ones myself!

      I am also all about being able to voice ones concerns with the politic, the war and the economy but in a well informed way. I feel the misinformation directed "out there" is creating some proponents who are not really sure what they are supporting! What I do see is a large group of angry people who are at the brink of exploding into what might turn out to be civil unrest again. This is so sad to me, as it does not have to be done that way.

      Acer you are so right that we can look at the other side and make the decisions ourselves, through our own educated intelligence, not a group trying to fire up others to come to their view without proofs.

      Thanks so much. After I posted this I hope it would not offend you Nellieanna...I know you are a Texan, and I also have some great other friends from the grand ole state of Texas, it is not the state so much as it is the state of mind I disagree with!

      Hugs blessings to you two


    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      Great Hub...I'm against mediation of any kind I home schooled myself while attending school with science litrature and actively look for the opposing veiw on every so called fact as you have. I've found in free society the more something is stated as fact the more it will be debated.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 7 years ago from TEXAS

      Being a native Texan who has never been akin to those idiotic ideas of making facts fit narrow ideas, I couldn't agree more. The Tea Party is REALLY scary when one lives in the midst of its most vocal adherents. My parents were conservative, but fair-minded. My Dad was reared a Mennonite (in northern Indiana, though he had broken with them) and Mother was faithful to her ideals. But they taught us to be tolerant of the beliefs and ideas of others, to listen, examine, & question before jumping to conclusions. Many of my late husband's progeny, however, are extremely "set in their ways" and being among them for a few days at holidays is a bit of a challenge. Between their adamant loyalty to their alma mater (UT - which happens to be one of mine, as well) and their political bias, I do not voice a lot of opinions. I don't believe in stirring up the pot at joyous family get-togethers, especially when I'm an invited guest out of loyalty to my ex-husband & also out of love & respect for me, of course.

      But it becomes increasingly challenging, the more the recent furore with the Tea Party ideas explode & now this new thing with school text books! "Taking back our country" has the ring of serious & radical intention, in my humble opinion! Yes - it is reminiscent of the McCarthy days - only with more instant media coverage & no place to avoid it.

      It's quite a concern. Of course, anyone who's studied history, especially of one's own country, can detect the stench of bias & propaganda which pervaded it from the onset. And of course none of the founding fathers was an angel dispensed from heaven to create Utopia here. Many acts of the new nation were unjust - and not mentioned in their reality in the history and text books. The people were human beings with flaws, as are those doing things now. It just took months to hear about them then and now before the ink is dry or the first step is taken, every person on the globe is at least within earshot of all the details, including all the intentional misconceptions! We don't even know who and why most of it is happening. But when something as clear as schoolbooks gets in focus, we do know enough to object - or if we agree - to do so. No wonder it's a ploy in play, perhaps?

      But also as you say, to simply arbitrarily pick & choose what to leave & what to remove in order to better promote a new hoped-for twist of history & the future as well - is really frightening.

      Then one looks at other nations with violent differences in views & genocide & "cleansing" objectives & it's a little easier to wonder why they can't work out their differences more peaceably like brothers, since they're all living in the same home-land & share age-old ties. Well, it may be because the fans are turned up to fuel the discord more than to cool it, to promote the polarization which will not help resolve it, but bring it to a head.

      And I suspect that the powers behind pulling the strings of those doing the street fighting - stirring the pot are manipulatators, some entities having even more ominous agendas & the overall power to encite the common folks.

      I wonder if trying to reach across to the real people who are "acting up" but who are our brothers & sisters in more visceral ways might start a change for the better & "head off" the trend, defeating any behind-the-scenes agendas or string-pullers.

      Of course, -I'm the one trying to not stir it up at family get-togethers and it hasn't made a whit of difference, but I'm still welcome among them so there are yet perhaps possibilities of influencing.

      Oh well. You really hit upon one of my genuine concerns, Aley! Good hub.