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March 12, 2010
A Gift From Texas

Wow. So much I don't like about today's so-called "conservatives" exhibited in one article. And it's not even my birthday!

The headline ( Texas Approves Curriculum Revised by Conservatives) tells you pretty much everything you need to know.

After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday voted to approve a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the role of Christianity in American history and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

Before I get into the dissing and the mockery, l do want to take a moment to give thanks that I lived long enough to find myself in a world where Republican political philosophies needed to be respun, renamed, and reslanted to gain public acceptance.

Caveat, (quoted from article, but emphasis mine):

There were no historians, sociologists or economists consulted at the meetings, though some members of the conservative bloc held themselves out as experts on certain topics.

Got that? Okay. Shut your rational brain off and let's move ahead....

The conservative members maintain that they are trying to correct what they see as a liberal bias among the teachers who proposed the curriculum. To that end, they made dozens of minor changes aimed at calling into question, among other things, concepts like the separation of church and state and the secular nature of the American Revolution.

What is the point? This reads as though they want to revise our history to make the Revolution a religious war. Are they, I don't know, pretending that the English weren't Christian or something?

“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.”

I, myself, am an expert on practically everything and have $1000 for the charity of your choice if it turns out that I'm not redefining the Bill of Rights and not pretending that 200+years of Constitutional law does not--and was not intended to--define the Constitution. $1,000. Cash money.

(Which reminds me that I can't quite figure out where the Republican Party's tiny but militantly vocal "Tea Party" population figures in to this re-imagining of our history? I mean, if the Revolution wasn't about tea, then is the hysterical Tea Party equally passe?)*

Moving on....

They also included a plank to ensure that students learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schalfly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.”

The Heritage foundation? Would we all be correct in assuming that at least one major Left-leaning think tank is already mentioned in the curriculum? (We would not.)

As for the rest, it's precisely the kind of lunatic rhetoric I've come to expect from the Right.**

Mr. Bradley won approval for an amendment saying students should study “the unintended consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action and Title IX legislation.

Oh, I don't know. I think most of the major consequences were intended. After all, the New Deal ushered in an almost unprecedented interval of growth and prosperity across the country and--not a minor benefit--gave the rightwing a conniption fit they have not recovered from yet. As did affirmative action and Title IX.

Conservatives passed one amendment, for instance, requiring that the history of McCarthyism include “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.”

Which would be fine, if McCarthy had actually confined himself to legal investigations of government agencies and men in positions of actual political power, instead of persecuting the film industry, threatening the press, creating a secret "enemies" list, and generally creating more problems for this country than the unsurprising presence of some far-Left leaning people in the government could ever have caused.

That was surprisingly difficult to type--I redid it three times and suspect there's still something a bit "off" in the syntax.

They also replaced the word “capitalism” throughout their texts with the “free-enterprise system.”

This is where Republicans far out-do Democrats. Their think-tanks do produce better euphemisms than the Left's do. This one has always struck me as brilliant--misleading without actually being a lie.

In the field of sociology, another conservative member, Barbara Cargill, won passage of an amendment requiring the teaching of “the importance of personal responsibility for life choices” in a section on teen suicide, dating violence, sexuality, drug use and eating disorders.

“The topic of sociology tends to blame society for everything,” Ms. Cargill said.

There's a lot you can learn from that bit. Apparently Ms Cargill believes about sociology what so many people believe about government--that's its some kind of "other" with an independent existence of its own.***

Society, Ms. Cargill, is people. We, as the people of this country, have formed and support the society we live in. If we have failed in some ways, it is, in fact, our fault. Sociology, then, should be used to point out our failures.

It's a matter of personal responsibility, you see. We all need to be informed so we can make good choices.

You, Ms. Cargill, are stupid enough to really irritate me.

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. ....

Typical. I may not be Jefferson's biggest fan but only a true rightwingnut would try to erase Jefferson from our history.


(Jefferson is not well liked among the conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)

You know, that "separation between church and state" that doesn't exist.

I think I've mocked most of the really stupid bits, but the truth is I'm bored, I'm tired of the topic, and I'm out of the habit of politiblogging. I forgot how much energy this takes.

I have been so crabby this week. I really don't know why.


* Side note to Lefties currently trying to organize a "Coffee Party" to combat "Tea Party" lies and excesses: Please stop being embarrassingly stupid.

/end side note

** There is no "moral" majority in this country, so I'm happy to let the righwing bigots have the capitalized version of the phrase. (If there were an actually moral majority, Bonehead & Crookface would have been impeached when the general public was told that they'd approved, sanctioned, and ordered torturing people kidnapped from their homes and held incommunicado in inaccessible prison facilities.) (Not, of course, that I'm pretending that Bonehead's & Crookface's favored tactics had anything in common with the SS or the KGB or the Gestapo, of course.)

***Since I brought the subject up, it's supposed to be government of the people, by the people, for the people. I really wish enough people would bear that in mind to get government back to doing what we want it to do, not what Exxon and Pfizer and Bank of America want it to do. A corporation may be a legal "person" but no corporation, no matter how generous a political donor, is one of "the people."

Also, somewhat randomly at this moment, let me say that it irritates the heck out of me when witless morons talk about Social Security or Medicare payments as a "drain on society" as if it wasn't my money that was forcibly taken from me with the understanding that it would be given back.Or they talk about spending tax revenue on rebuilding infrastructure-- the highways and bridges I drive on--as a "waste of taxpayer money" but the slaughter of thousands of Iraqi citizens as "necessary." ****

**** Also? They should STFU about Social Security. If the government hadn't been taking a sizeable chunk of my paycheck and the paycheck of every working American for the last fifty years, Bonehead & Crookface would have been hard-pressed to find a way to fund their invasion of Iraq.

The Right has been trying to bankrupt Social Security since it was implemented and B/C came darned close to doing it, in spite of the projected surplus they inherited.

You know what? The Moronic Rightwing is going to have to choose. We either have public safety nets or we have corporate regulation. You can't both deregulate and refuse safety nets to people who, through no fault of their own, find themselves bankrupted--out of work because of fraudulent accounting practices on the part of their corporate employers or watching their retirement funds sucked dry by supposedly reputable financial institutions or any of the other shenanigans corporate "persons" get up to.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:43 PM | Comments (2)