Friday, September 18, 2020

Polishing A Turd

From the Washington Post:

Trump pressed his case Thursday that U.S. schools are indoctrinating children with a left-wing agenda hostile to the nation’s Founding Fathers, describing efforts to educate students about racism and slavery as an insult to the country’s lofty founding principles.

Trump, speaking before original copies of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence at the National Archives, characterized demonstrations against racial injustice as “left-wing rioting and mayhem” that “are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools. It’s gone on far too long.”

The federal government has no power over the curriculum taught in local schools. Nonetheless, Trump said he would create a national commission to promote a “pro-American curriculum that celebrates the truth about our nation’s great history,” which he said would encourage educators to teach students about the “miracle of American history.”

Trump is calling the panel the “1776 Commission,” in what appeared to be a barb at the New York Times’s 1619 Project. The project, whose creator won a Pulitzer Prize for its lead essay, is a collection of articles and essays that argue that the nation’s true founding year is 1619, the year enslaved Africans were brought to the shores of what would become the United States. Trump said Thursday the 1619 Project wrongly teaches that the United States was founded on principles of “oppression, not freedom.”

As the article notes, the federal government by law has no role in dictating curriculum to local school districts. The most they can do is cut funding to federal grants, which would take an act of Congress. But that’s not really the point.

Trump and the white supremacists want to keep teaching the fan fiction that Columbus “discovered” America — it was here the whole time, and populated by advanced civilizations in North and South America while Europeans were still living in trees — and that the Pilgrims and other English settlers brought democracy and white bread to the savages when in fact they brought witch trials and the clap. They want to bring back a “Gone With the Wind” geniality to the genocide of slavery, whose legacy still stands as the original sin of this nation. They want to make immigrants the scapegoat for all of our nation’s ills, which is ironic in the supreme since the folks raising the fear of undocumented immigrants are more than likely the descendants of immigrants who were subjected to racism and bigotry when they arrived.

Trump wants to put the best face on four hundred years of human intervention and colonialism and make it part of the public education that White people saved the world by invading every place they could find, stealing the land and its resources and then getting all pissed off because the indigenous people and the people they subjected to slavery aren’t getting down on their knees and thanking them.

Trump calls teaching the reality of this nation’s history “anti-American.”  But it’s the most American thing we can teach.

2 barks and woofs on “Polishing A Turd

  1. As for the destruction of indigenous cultures, the European invaders were infected with a sense of their own superiority and an inability to see different cultures as worthy in their own right — which, quite frankly, I ascribe in large part to Christianity as it was practiced then. (Although we still see that arrogance in many self-styled “Christians” today, especially those with the highest public profiles.)

    There’s also the fact that a portion of the destruction was unintentional. The Americas had been isolated from the fest of the world for about 15,000 years — the natives had no resistance to European diseases. For example, Alexander von Humboldt, the early 19th-century naturalist, managed to wipe out over 90% of the population of the parts of the Amazon basin he traversed, quite unknowingly. (Of course, this is not to excuse things like the US deliberately “gifting” the Indians with smallpox-infected blankets or slaughtering millions of bison to starve the Plains tribes.)

    Oh, by the way — Europeans didn’t live in trees. That had been out of fashion for at least 200,000 years.

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