The procedural infestation of education

Nicole Hennessy

Each day I drive past a church with a waving flag and a soaring bald eagle painted on a wooden sign that is propped up on its front lawn.

These symbols are meant to elicit a sense of patriotism and nationalism from within each American. But as I roll past this ideological billboard, the cross around my neck tightens, and I clench my steering wheel until I can barely make out its shape in my rearview mirror.

Still, its message lingers in my mind, slowly fading as music pours out of my open windows.

“Help keep America a Christian Nation!” its red letters read.

Christian fundamentalists make up the majority of the board of education in Texas, and they are currently inserting this kind of rhetoric into history books.

To me, it is a foreigner impeding the free thinking I’ve been encouraged to partake in.

And these new history books, being printed for profit and masquerading as tools of education, are just instructive paraphernalia advertising a clandestine product, which none of the senses can identify – ignorance.

People like Don McLeroy, one of the members of Texas State Board of Education who advocates manipulating curriculums to fit a political agenda based on religion, are just exhibiting their fearfulness.

Presumably, politicians with rabid religious convictions persecute others for inner validation purposes. They have to legitimize their beliefs by pushing them at the minds of children who don’t know they are ingesting the assumptions of the state, which are presented as fact.

“In fact, there are no facts,” the poet Saul Williams once wrote. But I digress again.

However, it is not just a Christian, republican, right-wing wacko’s rhetoric that attempts to bind itself in our history books. It is a symptom of all people – no mater what political, religious, sexual, affiliation – to burden society with the correctness of their conjectures. This is just the latest instance.

McLeroy advocates changing the word capitalism to “free enterprise” because capitalism – much like many other “isms” (feminism, cannibalism, Paganism…) – has gained a negative connotation. Also, there will now be minimal mention of Thomas Jefferson and the Enlightenment, which advocated logic and reason over faith.

It was even considered that slave trade be referred to as the “Atlantic triangular trade.” Thankfully, this did not happen.

Somebody should tell the Texas Board of Education that replacing a word with a phrase, with the intention of diverting a learning mind’s attention from the meaning and rather assuming the implication is in vain because there are always holes in propaganda.

Though, all of the changes that did get through the system will be effective for the next decade and, due to Texas’ colossal size, will affect the textbooks throughout the nation.

Meanwhile, history’s whips, chains and diseased blankets intended to commit genocide of the American Indians, are probably preserved in a landfill somewhere.

All other evidence of the truth has been destroyed, disguised or put in a museum on a pedestal with a small card denoting significance, in acceptable language of course.

Nicole Hennessy is senior news major and columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].