If you’ve been following the news, you know that the Texas Board of Education is a hot button issue. TBOE has been debating textbook changes and the reason this is so relevent to the rest of the country is because of the large size of Texas, the number of books that are printed can eventually influence the rest of the country’s books. One of my earliest posts was when I first heard about the controversy and we are getting closer and closer to a vote. So, what are some of the big issues?
– are global organizations trying to undermine US sovereignty?
-the effects of Medicare or Social Security on society and their relation to taxes
– were the efforts against the threat of communism by Sen. Joe McCarthy really that bad?
– is the idea of “Separation of Church and State” really what the framers intended?
But some of the biggest debates surround the Civil War. Ask anyone what the cause of the Civil War was and most people will respond “slavery.” While economic and states’ rights were players in the war both of those are intrinsicly linked to slavery, the Southern states wanted to keep their slaves and the economic plusses that came with them and didn’t want the federal government telling them what they could and could not do. I currently live in Missouri, the reason for the Missouri Compromise. For those of you who don’t quite remember History, the Missouri Compromise created the line that divided the North and the South, not the Mason-Dixon line. The line is at 36’30” (just about the southern border of Missouri)… all states South of the line were slave states, all states North of the line were free states… except Missouri, that got to keep it’s slave status. This line was created primarily to decide the slave holding status of the new states being created West of the Mississippi. Despite Missouri’s influence in the Civil War, there really isn’t much evidence of that historical role. In addition, there is the proposal to change the term “Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade” to the “Atlantic Triangular Trade” (the term “Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade” won out.) Was the Civil War bad? Sure, in my opinion all wars are bad, but it’s still a part of history and you shouldn’t spin that history to make the US seem like the perfect child.
The board also would like to downplay the contributions of Thomas Jefferson (a political figure) and replace him with John Calvin (a protestant religious figure), to put a positive spin on controversial organizations such as the Moral Majority or the NRA. However, the nasty award goes to the debate about President Obama’s name as reported by CBS news:
Critics had complained that Obama’s full name was conspicuously absent in a high school history course that referred only to the “the election of the first black president.”
When a Democrat tried to fix the omission, Republican David Bradley said “I think we give him the full honor and privilege of his full name.”
The effort snarled the board’s progress on amendments late Thursday evening.
“The intent behind what you’re doing, I think is pretty obvious,” said Republican Bob Craig, urging Bradley to withdraw the suggestion.
Obama’s name gave him his share of trouble during the 2008 presidential campaign. He acknowledged its unfamiliarity to most Americans, and there were times when supporters of his opponent made a point of using his middle name, which was seen as an attempt to cast doubt on his background and faith.
“Please Mr. Bradley, don’t use the middle name,” said Democrat Lawrence Allen. “You know it’s going to have a negative connotation in the press. Yes, it’s his birth name, but you know the significance it will play in the press. We don’t have to deal with it.”
I take issue with this, not because of the significance of the press but the nastiness behind it. Mr. Bradley (ultra-conservative) seems not to have the goal to honor the president by using his whole name, rather would like to draw attention to the fact that out current President has a “Muslim” middle name. The liberals and moderate conservatives want the middle name omitted because of what the press is going to say. But my concern is about all of those little boys, American citizens, who are named Hussein or have the last name Hussein… are the no longer as valuable as an American because their name is controversial?
So the country watches as a group of individuals, non-educators, make major decisions about American History. But you know what they say… history is written by the victors. Or in this case, the majority vote.