Opinion: A war on history

“Madmen and butchers have no place in the 21st century, and as America continues to face a very uncertain future, we must not turn a blind eye.”

Bryan Staul

Bryan Staul

Bryan Staul is a sophomore political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

While watching the news, I’ve noticed an old phenomenon making a comeback: historical revisionism is back in style. One big offender in particular is an organization known as Sons of Confederate Veterans.

This group likens themselves to a historical society, which is a false label, to say the least. They even have prominent membership, including country music artist Trace Adkins. Their website states, “The citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America.” Notice how they left out the whole fighting for slavery thing.

This is part of a new movement to change the way America remembers the Civil War. Sure the South fought valiantly, but at the end of the day they were still fighting to keep millions of human beings in bondage. The new defense of the South’s secession is that it was over states’ rights. Sure, but once again, the states’ right in question was slavery.

Do not let this crowd fool you — the Confederacy was bad. Its soldiers took up arms against their country in defense of one of the most evil and immoral institutions ever created. Yet another offender in the war on history is the Texas School Board. It is the duty of the board of education to ensure that children receive a quality and accurate education. However, the Texas School Board has taken to bringing partisanship into the classroom.

The Texas Conservatives have attacked things from the science of evolution to the Big Bang Theory. Their actions are also falling into the political realm. Students will now be taught about the moral majority and the Republican Revolution of the 1990s. Supply-side economics is also shown in a more prominent and positive light. Thomas Jefferson is notably also cut from textbooks because of his support of separation of church and state. Instead, they have replaced him with religious figures such as Thomas Aquinas. More troubling aspects of the new school books are things such as referring to the slave trade as the triangular trade. In the conservative mindset, Franklin Roosevelt made the depression worse and Sen. Joseph McCarthy is a hero in their version of events instead of the paranoid monster he was in real life. This is a right-wing attempt to fundamentally alter American history so that it can fit into a specific political faction’s need. The fact of the matter is that sometimes reality has a liberal bias. Doing things like making the Civil War about states’ rights instead of slavery not only degrades the American educational system but also degrades the meaning of that war and those who died fighting in it. Most important of all, these actions risk compromising America’s rich heritage with politics instead of facts. If we, as a country, fail to stop this madness, we will lose our history to the noise of partisan bickering.