Tennessee Tea Partiers: Scrub History Textbooks

The neverending battle over schoolbook censorship moves to Tennessee, where legislators were presented with demands by--who else--the Tea Party, eager to scrub history textbooks of the less pleasant realities of American history.

This includes the flaws and foibles of our founding fathers--which were manifold--and the experiences of oppressed groups. Citing "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" the group released its manigesto with the following explicit wording:

"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."

Around the blogosphere, of course, this move is being met by outrage. First of all, of course, any efforts to erase or "de-emphasize true facts from history is reprehensible in and of itself. Secondly, to understand our country's flawed history is to give us the tools to make it better, and to be able to recognize cycles repeating themselves as they so often do.

But putting these essential critiques aside, from the perspective of being proud of our history and national identity, the move is still outrageous. Yes, in many ways the Founding Fathers transcended their times--but their humanity, their flaws, is what puts their moments of greatness into relief. Adams was better on slavery but worse on executive authority than Jefferson; their debates and interactions and (failed) efforts to better themselves each other are part of what make them the fascinating historical figures they are. To whitewash these men is in fact, to diminish them and our country's history.

Read more reporting on this at Salon, Think Progress, and Washington Monthly.


AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at January 14, 2011, 5:56am

Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Election 2018