Saturday, March 13, 2010

Being Texans

What's going on in Texas? Over the summer Governor Rick Perry wanted to secede from the Union. Now, the New York Times reports that Conservatives won a vote which changes textbooks throughout the state. The change skews history and cuts Thomas Jefferson from texts because he coined the phrase "separation of church and state."

14 comments:

DB said...

As Texas goes, so goes the nation. Texas being one of the largest textbook buyers in America what they want will end up being what is available to many other places. Imagine a school having to buy an extra book in order to teach Jefferson (Bill of Rights, Lewis and Clarke). It will happen. Who knows what other books they'll have to buy. The evolution of the human anatomy? Heaven forbid. It goes against the Baaaaaaaabl!!!

DB

Pamela said...

You can not erase Thomas Jefferson from history. This is crazy! You can't not change history. Just because they do not include him in their text does not change who he was in history.

Judith Ellis said...

Ah, I most certainly hope not, DB! But if this isn't alarming, I don't know what is! Funny ending line there, dear sir!

Judith Ellis said...

Pam - Sorry to say, but history is altered all the time--historically, by the conquerors and then a steady series of altercations by those in power. The Texas case is a great example. There were things that I learned at home about history that I was never taught in school. We were taught the history of African Americans and American Indians in this country at home through books my mom purchased for us. Throughout my formative years we also got yearly subscriptions of National Geographic which taught us living history lessons. My mom spent her last dime on books and informative magazines for us. This Texas textbook vote is an OUTRAGE!

wmmbb said...

To quote George Orwell in 1984:
He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.

Apparently the objection to Thomas Jefferson is that he advocated the separation between Church and State.

It seems the majority voters on the Board of Education are seeking to replace one expression of ideological control, as they see it, with another.

How many parents, like your Mom, will buy books for their children that give other accounts of history?

Judith Ellis said...

Great George Orwell quote, wmmbb. Your comment begs the question whether all history is ideology. I think there are facts of history that are often distorted. There are also historical accounts that are highly prejudicial, leaving out very pertinent facts.

The question you asked about parents is a good one. My mom was a very passionate believer in Christ and there were some things growing up, for fear of us going astray, that she did not allow according to the tenets of Pentecostal church. They might have been a bit excessive. But she ALWAYS operated in love no matter her beliefs. She taught us to do the same.

Mom NEVER spoke ill of others and we always knew that others did not hold our religious beliefs. There were Muslims, Hindus, non-believers, etc. Mom was also a stickler for getting her words right if you were going to quote her. You were not free to use your interpretation when quoting.

Good to have you here again, wmmbb. I have missed you. Popping over to your blog now. Hope all is well with you and your wife. I'll drop you an email soon.

DB said...

I think the people in Texas don't have enough to do. Their lives aren't difficult enough or they wouldn't have the time to waste on such frivolity as rewriting school text books. Damage can be done. My high sachool text on civics was an example. About 25 years later I went back to it out of curiosity and was shocked to see how slanted it was. It said things like "communism and other liberal ideas which threaten our nation."
Fortunately I had gained some street wisdom in the meantime in the school of hard knocks. But what about the kid who never gets that chance? What is he going to grow up believing?

Judith Ellis said...

DB - These kids are growing up to believe that factual textbooks should be changed and that native Americans are inferior people. They also grow up to be leaders in Congress. This is unfortunate if their historical assumptions are not challenged. I tend to think that as we grow up many of us see things more honestly. At least, this is my hope.

zorro said...

There seems to be a correlation between places that
have a big oil economy and some sort of religious fundamentalism.
In Texas, its Christian fundamentalism, in the middle east, its Islamic fundamentalism.

Judith Ellis said...

Zorro - Now that is a correlation that I haven't read of but it seems plausible. Of course, neither would see themselves in each other. Fundamentalism on any front is flawed.

JOHN O'LEARY said...

People forget (at least in Texas) that the separation of church and state was designed mainly to protect Christians from each other. The government “disestablished” religion in reaction to 150 years of religious violence—including torture and execution, Christian against Christian—perpetrated by the different colonial governments against those who simply held different religious beliefs. But maybe that wasn't included in the Texas history books.

Judith Ellis said...

Excellent comment, John! Just excellent, my friend. Thank you. I had not heard this take throughout the discussion nationally. You also remain true to your witty self. This always makes me smile.

septembermom said...

As I've said often, I always enjoy reading the comment dialogue began from the intriguing questions you pose for all of us. DB's first comment also had me giggling with his last few sentences. I can almost hear him say those words with emphasis as I read them. Very good.

Judith Ellis said...

So cool that you caught that, Kelly. DB is a noted thespian.