Sunday, May 23, 2010

An Education

     There are about 20 states in the United States that publish textbooks. The rest of the states adopt one or more of these books into their curriculum. The more I read about this Texas Textbook debacle, the more infuriated I become. I find nothing wrong with teaching the “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s," I mean, Ronald Reagan WAS president for the majority of the 80s. What I do have a problem with it people deciding they will redefine what the Constitution has already been ruled to lay out. “I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate. “I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.” 
Oh really sir? Get your checkbook out. Let's ACEIT. The Constitution makes a clear division between federal regulations (that's state Mr. Beaumont) and any religion (church, just to clarify). "Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, ExpressionRatified 12/15/1791. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Well, this means that Congress cannot make any ruling that favors or discriminates against any particular religion. That being said, there is a separation of church and state in regards to the Christian radicals who believe only creationism--I'm sorry Intelligent Design--should be taught in schools, which, quite frankly, Texas seems to be embracing the idea of. It is also interesting that many conservatives like to use the word "church" instead of "religion," seeing as how it is only pagans and Christians that refer to places of worship as a church. Not all Texans are bad. One man had enough balls to stand up against this. "Mavis B. Knight, a Democrat from Dallas, introduced an amendment requiring that students study the reasons “the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.” It was defeated on a party-line vote." Really? Defeated? So the Texas conservatives are now creating their own interpretation of the Constitutional amendments that have been accepted as law since the creation of this country? Interesting.

     They claim that they are only removing the left-minded skew from textbooks. However, I would assert that removing figures of importance from history books is an attempt to change history. "Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)." Well Ms. Dunbar, I can see why you and Mr. Jefferson wouldn't get along. It is believed that he was most likely atheist, which would also attribute his desire to create a separation between church and state. I'd like to point out to young, Texas children though that THOMAS JEFFERSON EXISTED. You cannot simply make that untrue. In fact, he was the third president of the United States. Are you going to erase that too? Because if you don't, you will have to look at how he became president, and this revolutionary support for the Enlightenment will undoubtedly show up! That is, of course, taking into account that you would be teaching history as it actually happened.
     But what really infuriates me is changing the name "slave trade" to the "Atlantic triangular trade.” I'm sorry, what? Yes, please, let's downplay this atrocity where a countless number of men, women and children were kidnapped, savagely beaten, and if they were lucky enough to not make it to the brutal conditions in the United States, their corpses probably reside in the depths of that "triangle." That's disgusting. Considering they say in the same breath that they're removing liberal political correctness from schools, this is one of the biggest shifts to a bull euphemism I've ever heard.
     Read one of the articles for all the changes. Even Fox News includes most of them (I figured I should have some balance). If you're from Texas, I encourage you to write a letter to your representative if this bothers you as much as it bothers me. There is nothing wrong with being a Christian or a conservative, but brainwashing children to perpetuate your socio-political beliefs via textbooks is not okay. Keep them home and brainwash them via homeschooling instead.
     Luckily, California has already taken steps to ensure these textbooks will never enter the state. My decision to most likely raise my future children there feels really good right now. As far as ever stepping foot in Texas? Not a chance. Consider this my boycott.

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