The latest rabbit punch thrown by the Republican party in the culture bout was to deny Texas children the truth about women’s suffrage and that white supremacy is a bad thing. Besides the obvious moral failure of Texas Republicans, who voted in favor of this measure in the absence of their Democratic colleagues, it is proof positive of how warped the GOP has become. Texas’s move to limit discussions about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony and Cesar Chavez from social studies is indicative of another point; how we look at American holidays. The recognition of American holidays has been the exclusive purview of one group of people in America. If you look beyond the worldwide religious holidays—Christmas and Easter—most American holidays were designed to exclude women and Americans of color and use revisionist history to exalt the virtues of white male achievement, sometimes to the point of fantasy.
From the extolling of a confused, lost Italian explorer to the feting of freedom for one race of people and the revisionism of how victims of genocide coincided with the pilgrims, American history is full of inaccuracies. Now with the current furor over a Critical Race Theory course not available in public schools grades K thru twelve, conservatives it seems are scared to death of the truth. The reality, of course, for professional Republican politicians is that they know there is no truth in their propagation of culture wars. What they have tapped into is that the racist vein in their voters is engorged and easily blood let.
While cynical conservative pundits tell lie after lie about CRT, meant to infuriate their viewers for ratings, professional Republican politicians tune up the pied piper to lead the unwashed into a new hamlet of hatred. In case you misunderstand me, I am not advocating for the abolishment of holidays. War heroes have earned a day to revere their dead and maimed. Workers have sweated and died to make America great, and better late than never, Dr. King is deserving of a day because he is the conscience of a flawed nation. Furthermore, I like an undercooked rib, warm beer, and a burnt hotdog as much as the next guy, and heaven knows I need a mattress sale every three or four years too. The problem is if America is the country it purports to be; why is there a need to diverge from the truth when the subject of history arises. Again, using the example of Texas, several years ago they moved to redefine the slave trade in textbooks as the “Atlantic triangular trade.” That sort of revisionists language is like calling the internment of the Japanese during World War II, Asian Meet and Greets.
President’s Washington and Jefferson were great men but they were also slave owners. They were men of their times and that made them human. The need to make them superheroes is not necessary. Even Washington refused to be America’s first king because he realized his failures, why can’t we? History is not meant to be perfect because it is meant to be a record of the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts.
Continue to Vote for Change