Friday, February 20, 2015

The Telltale Heart Of History Beats For YOU

“History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.”
Winston Churchill


Obama doesn’t love America.

Not like you and me.

"I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn't love you. And he doesn't love me. He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country."

I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe President Obama loves America. So says Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York, failed presidential hopeful, and lover of America.

Rudy says that Barack Obama doesn’t love America. Obama doesn’t love you and he doesn’t love me. Obama, see, he’s not like us, not like real Americans. Obama wasn’t brought up the way we were brought up, imbued with mad love for our country.

Giuliani made those remarks at a conservative New York fund raising event for presidential hopeful Scott Walker.

And nobody, not one person in the audience, challenged that assertion.

Obama doesn’t love America the way we do.

When asked by the press to clarify his comments, Giuliani explained,

"He's a patriot, I'm sure. What I'm saying is that, in his rhetoric, I very rarely hear him say the things that I used to hear Ronald Reagan say, the things I used to hear Bill Clinton say, about how much he loves America. I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American presidents."

Obama is a patriot, Giuliani admits, sure. But different. Not like Reagan. Not like Clinton. Not like us.

That’s what plantation owners used to say when they sold black children away from their parents, when they broke up families: they’re not like us, they don’t love their kids like we do.

That’s what we used to say when we sought our Manifest Destiny across the Great Plains. We’re special. Indians? They don’t love America like we do. They can’t love their kids or their wives or their god like we love ours. They can’t, they’re savages.

That’s what we used to say when we burned down villages in Korea and Vietnam, hey don’t feel sorry for them, they don’t feel emotions the way we do. That’s what we say about Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. They don’t feel pain or loss, they’re not the same as us, they can’t love their kids or their spouses or their country like we do.

That’s what we used to say when women wanted to vote. Hey, god love ‘em but they just don’t think like we do. They’re not like us, like real Americans. 

That’s what we say now about gay people. Why do they want to get married? They can’t love each other like we do, not really.

And Obama? Well, he can’t love America the way Rudy Giuliani and his wealthy white Wall Street friends do.

And this idea, that “they” can’t love the way we do, is such an accepted idea Rudy Giuliani is comfortable saying so, out loud, in public, on the record.

They don’t love America. Not like us.

Giuliani was quick to point out that when he says Obama isn’t like, you know, us, he’s not being racist,

“Some people thought it was racist. I thought that was a joke, since he was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools, and most of this he learned from white people. This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.


So, just to be clear, when Rudy says Obama isn’t like you and me, he’s talking about Obama’s white genes, not the other ones. That’s not racism, it’s socialism, or maybe anti-colonialism.

Fair enough.

But since Rudy brought it up, what exactly is anti-colonialism anyway?

C’mon, in one hundred words or less, quick, what’s anti-colonialism?




I mean, you hear that a lot in the last five years, right?


Obama, his views were shaped by anti-colonialism. He’s an anti-colonialist.  I’ve heard that statement or variations of it hundreds of times in discussions on Fox New and on blogs and from people I know.  And they all say it with ponderous gravity and raised knowing eyebrows. Anti-colonialism. But when you ask, what is that, exactly, and what does it mean to you in particular? Well, what you get is vague hand-waving and the Giuliani answer: he’s not like us.

So, what is it?

Colonialism isn’t a common topic of conversation in America.

So where did this label come from?

In his book The Roots of Obama’s Rage and in the pseudo-documentary 2016: Obama’s America which was based on it and in endless articles here and there, conservative pundit and convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza boldly states that Barack Obama isn’t like “us.” Which is interesting, given that D’Souza was born and raised in Mumbai, India and came to the US as an exchange student before eventually becoming a naturalized citizen – which somehow makes D’Souza more like “us” than Obama. Be that as it may, D’Souza’s entire position is based on the idea that Obama’s worldview doesn’t depend from the so-called American dream. Obama, says D’Souza, doesn’t see the world from the perspective of the founding fathers. Nor does Obama’s outlook come from Black America’s struggle for civil rights and equality. Rather, D’Souza asserts Obama was shaped by his own father, Barack Obama Sr. a staunch African anti-colonialist.  Now, Obama Jr. only met Obama Sr. once but that was enough according to D’Souza to change how he viewed the world forever.

And D’Souza’s hypothesis resonates with a lot of people.

2016: Obama’s America is the largest grossing conservative documentary to date and was widely acclaimed in conservative media and its message is repeated over and over by prominent conservatives – mostly recently, by Rudy Giuliani. “This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.

So, Obama isn’t like us.

Obama isn’t like you and me.

Obama isn’t even as American as an Indian immigrant – and Indian immigrant, I’ll remind you, who comes from India, which is a country still throwing off the remnants of the British Raj and is about as anti-colonialist as it gets. I mean, if anybody ought to sympathize with Obama’s supposed anti-colonialist views, it’s a guy from India

Anti-colonialism.  Again, what is that? What is it specifically? Obama’s father is from Africa (Kenya in case I actually have to spell it out after six years of birtherism).  Kenya today is the Republic of Kenya, but from 1888 to 1962 it was a colony of the British Empire. President Obama was born in Hawaii and never lived in Kenya – or anywhere else in Africa.  Now, how would that have shaped the President’s viewpoint and actions? Is anti-colonialism so powerful that it could reach across time and oceans to influence Barack Obama though a single meeting with his father when Obama was ten?

And perhaps it did.

Obama talked about how his father’s life shaped his worldview in the Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.  His father had been more myth to him than man, Obama only met him once, and he was an adult before he learned much about the man’s life – and that’s how Obama learned about colonialism.

But, you, how do you know?

Really, what do you, you Americans, what do you know of colonialism?

Is it the same, this concept, everywhere? Is the African version the same as the American and Asian and Indian versions? Hell, is it the same across Africa? How many places are still colonies of other nations today?

You know, the United States of America began as British, Spanish, French, Dutch, and Russian colonies.

So how come we, the “we” that makes up real Americans, how come we’re not all vehement anti-colonialists?

Or are we?

Our revered Founding Fathers sure as hell were “anti-colonialists.” Wouldn’t that mean all true Americans are anti-colonialists as well? Are we not anti-colonialist brothers in spirit to the Indians and the Kenyans?

If not, why not?

Be specific. If not, why not? Spell it out, line by line. Why was it patriotic for America to seek independence but not Kenya? I’ll wait while you think about it. Take your time.

Do you even know enough about this subject to have an intelligent opinion? Or do you just take a convicted felon like D’Souza at his word because he’s saying something you want to hear? The same goes for Obama, if you support him and believe that he loves America like you do, why?

On the face of things, it would appear to be a complicated issue, convoluted and intertwined in myriad ways, vast in scope, subject to interpretation.  I mean, we’re talking about the complex evolution of civilization, shaped by wars and conflicts, by environmental pressures, by millennia of  time, across the breadth of the world, restricted or advanced by the availability or scarcity of resources, by famine and plague, by religion, by economies many and varied, by love and hate and apathy, by adventure and discovery, by greed and fear and altruism and fad.  We’re talking about the emergence of nations here, about the rise and fall of empires, about the migration of entire populations, voluntary and forced. We’re talking about the freedom and enslavement of endless billions over centuries, across oceans and continents, and the interaction of civilizations over time and how they shape the present.

When you say, “Obama’s views are shaped by anti-colonialism” that’s what you’re talking about.  All of that. All of it and far, far more. Vastly more.

There’s a name for that.

There’s a name for how the past shapes our present.

It’s called history.

There’s an old saying, it comes in many variations and it goes like this: Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

There’s another saying: the past repeats, always.

Both are true, so far as they go. The past does tend to repeat itself over and over in endless variation, which is hardly surprising given that no matter how far we rise or how deep we fall the one thing that remains constant throughout the ages is human nature.

Those who forget the past, who never learn it, who ignore and whitewash it, for them the future is always a surprise and they go ass-backward into the unknown repeating the same mistakes over and over. Those who forget history are not only doomed to repeat it along with the rest of us, they will always be victims of their own fate.

But those who remember history, who delve into its secrets, who learn from its endless examples, those people shape the future. 

Those people are not victims of fate, but its master.

Those who understand history are the men and women who shape the fate of nations, of the world, of history itself.

They are the ones who become exceptional.

They are the ones history remembers.


And that, that right there, is why what happened in Oklahoma this week should disgust and horrify all free people.


This week, a Oklahoma legislative committee  overwhelmingly approved a measure that would cut all funding for Advanced Placement (AP) History courses for high school students.  It’s not a law yet, but odds are good it will be – either in Oklahoma or elsewhere.

State Representative Dan Fisher (Republican, of course), who introduced the bill,  denounced the new AP U.S. History framework because in the opinion of many conservatives it “emphasizes what is bad about America” and doesn’t teach “American exceptionalism."

This same complaint extends far beyond the dusty backwater of America’s Great Plains and has become a common item of debate in legislatures across the country where conservatives are even now considering bills that would ban all AP courses and not just history.

And the truly, truly disturbing part is that conservatives’ biggest complaint regarding the AP History curriculum isn’t that it’s wrong, instead they’re afraid it’s far too accurate.

Think about that for a minute.

Conservatives like Fisher believe public school should be less about learning and more about indoctrination.

They wish to hide the ugly and divisive parts of our past and remove from history those they deem “not like us.” And instead instill a sense of “exceptionalism” in the next generation by teaching only those things that make America look good.

"As I read through the document, I saw a consistently negative view of American history that highlights oppressors and exploiters"
Larry S. Krieger, retired school teacher, conservative activist, exceptional American

Krieger told Newsweek that the AP History framework portrays the Founding Fathers as "bigots" and he complained that American exceptionalism embodied in the idea of Manifest Destiny was described in the curriculum as "built on a belief in white racial superiority and a sense of American cultural superiority," rather than "the belief that America had a mission to spread democracy and new technology across the continent."

Uh huh.

Krieger leaves out that if you weren’t white maybe Manifest Destiny might have looked like, well, a lot like colonialism.  Mostly because it was.

Manifest Destiny is a great idea … so long as it’s your destiny being imposed at the point of a sword and the muzzle of a gun.

Others, however, might take a different view.

Fortunately for people like Larry Krieger and Dan Fisher, those people aren’t real Americans, they don’t love their country like we do, so they get written out of our history because there’s no lesson to be learned there

These conservatives completely miss the point of education.

Let me give you an example: you’ve got this kid, see? He’s your boy and you love him. He’s handsome and he’s clever, sure, and he’s the apple of your eye. So far as you’re concerned he can do no wrong. But the thing is most everybody else thinks he’s a spoiled little shit. He’s selfish and self-centered, he’s greedy and obnoxious and arrogant, and he doesn’t give a damn about anybody but himself. He goes around making a mess and beating up the other kids.  He takes what he wants and you never know when he’s going to throw a violent tantrum.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with him, it’s not genetic, it’s you. You’re a lousy parent. Whenever he does something wrong, you tell him it’s okay. He’s special, see, exceptional, blessed by God. He doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t have to apologize.  You love him, you love him better than any parent has ever loved a child, better than other parents love their children, and if you force him to face his mistakes, to think of others, to learn, well then that makes him feel bad about himself and that makes you a bad parent. Right?

You know people like this, don’t you? You know kids, sure you do, just like this. Spoiled rotten little brats.

Now, what kind of adult do you think that kid will grow up to be?

And why would you think a country who behaves in the same manner would be any different?

When you go around telling kids, and nations, that they are exceptional and that others don’t matter, well, then you get a nation of spoiled rotten little brats.

It’s taken me a week to write this essay, because unlike many of those opining on the subject, I actually read the AP History Guideline from cover to cover. Twice. While taking notes.




I saw nothing that gave a negative view of the United States. I saw nothing that made a judgment one way or the other.

In point of fact, the framework gives no answers whatsoever, it only asks questions.

Throughout the entire document, all 142 pages of it, the authors repeatedly stress that it is not a curriculum but rather a framework for further development and is to be tailored by each teacher to meet the needs of the students. The framework provides for broad flexibility, it outlines “key concepts” and does not, repeat does not, specify groups, individuals, dates, details, political opinions, right or wrong, moral or immoral, or any particular interpretation of history and you can verify that for your self directly from the source.

If conservatives see America in a negative light, perhaps it’s their own guilty conscience speaking.

This isn’t the simplified elementary version of American history made up of construction paper turkeys, smiling Indians, and cherry trees chopped down by future presidents. This isn’t the Mel Gibson version of America where white people and black people fought as equals to be free of the King of England and then when it was all over black people cheerfully decided to be slaves because hey, Captain Braveheart thought it seemed more exceptional on the big screen like that.  That’s how conservatives want to teach history, the same way Gibson directs movies.

Advanced placement courses aren’t about indoctrination, they have one function: to teach future citizens how to think.

Advanced Placement courses are college level classes designed for top performing high school students who are preparing for a university level environment. By definition these kids are going to end up running the country one day and either they can base their worldview on made up magic fairy dust or they can face the challenges of our future armed with a thorough understanding of how we got here.  Warts and all.

You don’t teach future business people how to run a company by only showing them pictures of John D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates. You don’t teach future doctors by only showing them happy cheerful healthy people. You don’t teach military officers how to fight by only showing them past victories. 

If you want your kids to love this country, if you want them to successfully shape its future, then you have to show them everything.  The good and the bad. The beautiful and the ugly.

You hear people say “kids nowadays don’t know how good they have it!”

Well, why would they? Why would any American appreciate how far we’ve come, how good we have it, if they don’t know how we got here? Why would girls appreciate the right to vote if they don’t know their grandmothers couldn’t? Why would black youth appreciate the opportunities they have now if they don’t know the history of the civil rights movement? How do you prevent another World War II or another 911 or another Holocaust if you don’t care and refuse to understand what caused the last one? How do you expect the next generation to shape the future when they are told they’re special and exceptional and they can do no wrong?

Courage is about facing the world, not hiding from it.

Wisdom comes not from denying your mistakes, but from not repeating them. And you can’t do that if you refuse to acknowledge that you ever made any in the first place.

History is how we understand the present. 

History is how we shape the future and forge our own destiny instead of allowing it to be thrust upon us.

If you don’t know history, the good and the bad, you will always be its slave and never its master.

If you want your children to shape their own future and the future of this nation, indeed the world, instead of being simply dragged along with the sweep of time, then they must know how we got here to this present.

If you want your children to be exceptional, then they have to understand history in full detail, all of it and not simply parrot mindless patriotism.

If you don’t know bad, you cannot know good.

If you don’t know ugly, you can never understand beauty.

If you’ve never seen true oppression, you can never appreciate true liberty.

If you don’t know tyranny, you can never understand freedom.

If you truly believe the United States to be exceptional, then you show it all and let the chips fall where they may. If you love your child then you teach them everything and trust in them to become exceptional adults.

The past, the present, the future are all connected. History, my friend, is a circuit and without a negative, there can be no positive.

If you don’t learn from history, you will never be its exception.

“It's been my experience, Langford, that the past always has a way of returning. Those who don't learn, or can't remember it, are doomed to repeat it.”
Steve Berry, The Charlemagne Pursuit

“We're doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That's what it is to be alive. It's pretty dense kids who haven't figured that out by the time they're ten. Most kids can't afford to go to Harvard and be misinformed.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Bluebeard


  1. And as I understand it some states are outlawing the teaching of critical thinking skills. The future looks bright for us, eh?

    1. The right wing tried it in Texas but failed. Not that this will stop them from trying again, I'm sure.

    2. The commitment to getting rid of it is still part of their party platform there.

  2. Another great piece of writing I'm going to share on my Poly Sigh page.

  3. In Historian Niall Ferguson's book: "The War of the World" he explains the 20th century's mass murders and general hatreds clearly. It's right there in the title of the book. It's a take on the H.G. Wells novel. But instead of aliens attacking. The horrors of the 20th century were inflicted by humans treating other humans AS aliens. As sub-humans. As something not human.

    The US is awash in this same sentiment right now. THEM are stupid. THEM must die/get deported/stop getting welfare/etc. THEM are making our children hate America. We must stop THEM.

  4. Thank you once again for the rage I've been feeling. When teaching how to take a multiple guess test became more important than teaching how to ask questions and how to think, we began to lose control. Yes, I'm a retired teacher. I had to leave before it was too late to save my soul.

  5. This is a wonderful essay. Those people are why we can't have nice things. Critical thinking and not indoctrination are important for a free and progressive society. Unfortunately, we have too many legislators that lack critical thinking, compassion, and common sense.

  6. You've got a "teach teach" typo in there.
    Very good read. I am of the opinion that the GOP "leaders" know very well what they are doing. They're attempting to create a slave caste that they can manipulate and use.

    1. Bullseye: slaves with just enough buying power to purchase corporate products made elsewhere to maximize profits.

  7. Wow. Love this essay.

    One quibble (wouldn't be one of my comments without a quibble): the saying about repeating history is a paraphrase of Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana's: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." From the quote in context, he seems to have agreed with you.

  8. Jim
    A small correction. The bill you reference was passed out of commitee only. Not voted on by entire legislature.
    This makes it no less abhorent to thinking, reasoning Okies.
    (Yes, our numbers are small. Not our minds.)

    1. Noted. I should have been more clear. I've corrected the essay.

    2. Jim: A slight comment (my full comment will come later). Thank you for showing this crowd that if you make a mistake you are intelligent enough to take the recommendation and fix it. I wish that would be the norm and not the exception. Unfortunately, that is not what generally happens in today's world.

  9. Passage:
    but from 1888 to 1962 is was a colony

    Otherwise an awesome discussion, good sir. In part, because it discusses!

    Dr. Phil

  10. I know what colonialism and anti-colonialism are...I've studied them. And I think its a GOOD thing if or that Obama is anti-colonialist. It blows my mind that anybody would think its a bad thing. To say anti-colonialism is bad, to equate it with "socialism" (assuming they can even correctly define that, which I will bet they cannot!) means critical thinking has already shut down right there. I don't even understand this, trying to cut AP classes because they don't teach "American Exceptionalism"? This is insane. And I'm afraid they're going to do it too. Thanks for the thoughts here.

  11. I was going to try and keep this comment somewhat neutral. I realized however that the right wing Republicans in this country are the worst at trying to suppress any original or critical thinking so as to further their cause. Take a look at Kansas and the Governor there. He is committed to following a failed strategy. The people of Kansas are so not used to thinking and making a decision they re-elect this fool because he is from the correct party. Drooling idiots who can not have an original thought. Take one look at Scott Walker and note this cross-eyed dolt who could not finish College has a vested interest in keeping people from thinking and learning. It keeps people like him in a high profile, high paying job while his ideology wrecks a once strong and well educated State in the service of seeking a yet higher office. Some of these drooling right wing idiots are correct. The government is screwing them over and trying to limit freedoms and civil rights. The thing they are wrong about is who is doing it and they don't seem to realize they are the ones that voted these people into office. See how Mississippi ranks on welfare and Republican voter numbers. It tells a story. The reason Republicans want to limit critical thinking is they hope no one will notice the failures they are clearly responsible for.

    1. No really tell us what you think, stop holding back. Sigh, yeah what you and Jim said.

  12. Excellent writing Jim! Respect! The analogy to the spoiled child is one I've used myself before!

  13. I don't know what anti-colonialism is but I know it when I see it. Same old song and dance from these morons.

    Pam in PA

  14. You have to have intelligent life here before intelligent life out there can be contacted...and we're going in the wrong direction. I stated at another blog with the way we're quickly accelerating beyond 3ºC, that only the stuff left on the moon will show intelligent life existed here. Life will still be on Earth, it just won't be us.

    1. Don't forget all those robots on Mars .

    2. Also the Huyghens rover on Titan, the Philae lander on the comet (ok that one may not last so long! Comets are dying dirty snowballs!) plus NewHorizons, the Voyagers and Pioneers all spaceprobes way out into the interstellar Black. Of course, the odds of any aliens ever stumbling on any of these are literally astronomical but still!

  15. Why is it that the people crying loudest about the preservation of "American Exceptionalism" are the ones busily destroying any semblance of it? It's like a deleted scene from "1984"...

  16. Clear, concise and challenging, as always. Your essays clarify issues for me as no other writer has done in recent times. Thank you.

    It occurred to me as I read Mr. Guliani's remarks that I don't think I was raised to "love America". I am loyal to the Republic which is the United States of America. I was raised by my parents to honor and admire the principles on which this country was founded and to admire the courage and intelligence of the framers of the Constitution. I was raised to live in this democracy as an honest and involved citizen. I was raised to question the tactics and the intentions of those who said they spoke for All Americans. I have lived through more than one period of intense nationalism, "America, love it or leave it." I sincerely hope we can manage to live through this one as the pendulum slowly swings back.

  17. When we moved from MN to TX, my daughter was entering the fourth grade. In MN, she had been taught to think, ask questions, analyze. She struggled mightily when we moved here, despite having been in G & T, because everything was simple memorization. Don't ask questions, don't learn anything in context, don't analyze, just memorize what you'e told to memorize. Subsequently, the head of the Governor's Education Commission stressed that indeed was the goal of education in TX. I now understand why the most educated in this country vote Democratic. The only way Republicans can maintain control is to keep the voters ignorant and uneducated. They have no proposals for anything, no solutions, no ideas. But hey, they have Fox News telling their millions of viewers day in and day out how great they are for the country while our bridges collapse, our education system falls further behind every year, our medical costs skyrocket, and the list goes on. So it should not be shocking that they want to do away with AP courses. Questions? Do NOT question if you're a Republican, just do what you're told. After all, when was the last time a Republican politician proposed a detailed solution to anything? Of course, they would love to cut taxes for the top 2% and continue to send our young men and women into war. I have not heard any solution to any problem this country faces other than these two "ideas" in the last 30 years!

    1. The GOP calls walking hypnotized in lock step "party discipline".

    2. They (Conservatives) don't get it. We (Liberals) love America just as much as they do. But in a differenct way. You see, they love America the way a four-year-old loves her mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups.j To a four-year-old everything mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes mommy is bad. Grown-up love means understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad, and helping your loved one grow.

      Al Franken

      Source: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, Pages: 24

    3. FoxfireTX, that was my experience as a kid, except that I.m from here,lol.
      Fear of Tall Weeds.
      Handjobs for the jocks, and swirlies for the smart kids...unless you needed them to pass that science exam.
      Now I have kids. The curriculum has deteriorated, and more such is on the way, and I'm providing remedial history and civics for my boys and their buddies.
      Correcting the BS that even some of the teachers admit is BS...but there's a test coming up...so...
      Bury your Library well.
      and, Jim! Wow!
      You make me either want to dig a hole or storm the ramparts.

  18. Obama could have encountered anti-colonialism growing up in Hawaii, which after all was forcibly annexed by the United States, something about which there is still resentment among some of the remaining Hawaiian people.

    Maybe I'm deaf to that particular dog whistle, but didn't the Founding Fathers display some anti-colonialism?

    1. Sure the Founding Fathers were staunch anti-colonialists. They of course fought an anti-colonial war against a colonial power and won. But them be white colonials. So they can't be 'anti-colonial' in the way that Guiliani meant it. When Guiliani uses the term he means, very specifically, dark-skinned people who resent white people who used to lord it over them because, you know, the white man's burden and all that.

  19. *please delete if this is a duplicate - 'publish' is acting wonky for me tonight
    I'm just here to second what you say about AP classes.
    I have a son in gifted/AP classes and they offer advanced and in-depth learning. It is all about teaching the kids to reason, to ask questions, to understand fully, and think critically (which is probably the true gripe of the nutcases that wrote this legislation - they don't want a truly educated populace, they want indoctrinated, oblivious followers, and they need that to accomplish their goals). In AP English right now, my son's class is not engaging in mind-numbing repetition or memorization. Instead, they are studying logical reasoning, learning what constitutes a reliable source and how to use them, finding out what debate techniques are unreliable and/or ineffective, understanding common (and uncommon) fallacies, and recognizing emotional appeals void of supporting evidence in opinion pieces. They are writing their own persuasive essays and to do so, they must demonstrate a full understanding of the counter-points, and effectively argue against them. No matter how controversial the issue, they are NOT required or encouraged to take one stance over another, only to support their own. NEVER have I thought that my child was being pushed in one direction or another in an AP class. He is being given the necessary tools and relevant information to fully develop his own opinions and thoughts; he is being challenged to expand and think instead of being fed information for regurgitation. And that's EXACTLY what education should be! Dread Lord Cthulhu curse the fu(k-sticks who desire otherwise, especially those who actually have it in their power to do so!

  20. I'm convinced many of today's GOP lawmakers simply invent s**t to get all riled up over. I honestly think if they aren't trolling out the specter of some supposed "anti-American" concept, they don't know what to do with themselves. They certainly aren't leading or offering any meaningful legislation.

    And why should they?

    This bizarre nationalism the GOP fosters resonates with the stupid in this country. It is a bumper-sticker mentality that salivates at the idea that Obama doesn't "love" America. Personally, we have enough people who "love" America.

    They certainly don't care about the people. These "patriots" would let school kids go hungry, evict the poor, have cut funding to Meals-On-Wheels, fight against equal pay, etc... Maybe the "love" the rocks and trees, because they're pretty vicious towards their fellow Americans.

    1. They do not 'love' the rocks and trees if there is a profit to be made by digging them up or cutting them down.

    2. Nationalism, much like fascism, comes wrapped in the American flag & carrying a King James Version of the bible.

    3. Oh you are soooo right. Bob

  21. Maybe I'm having some delusional memories, but it seems to me that at one time the people in this country (most of them) really valued intelligence and education. I had lots of older family members who couldn't afford post-secondary schooling, could barely afford to stay in high school, who read, took night classes, and always worked to improve themselves, as they put it. Now we seem to have a vast number of people, and very public and prominent ones at that, who are defiantly, zealously, and proudly ignorant. There are not only TV shows, but whole networks of them. And they are eager to spread their ignorance like black mold after Katrina. Of course they become the perfect tools of the big moneyed manipulators who have become our oligarchs (I'm looking at you Koch brothers).

  22. The US (and much of the world) is going to hell in a handbasket because of two thinking deficiencies that have become pandemic: the inability to tell rationalization from rationality, and the delusion that unthinking criticism is actually critical thinking.

    1. Snap again! Maybe one more: the unwillingness to accept that with every right there is a corresponding responsibility.

  23. When people like Guiliani call a person "anti-colonial" that's just code for "he hates white people". His audience know the code so know exactly what he is saying.

  24. This essay about repeating the same mistakes of the past couldn't be more timely with the news this week of the usual bloodthirsty neocons and conservative chickenhawks advocating sending ground troops in Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS.

  25. "Advanced placement courses aren’t about indoctrination, they have one function: to teach future citizens how to think."
    Therein likes the rub for Conservatives. Not all future citizens need to know how to think. Only the ones that think "correctly".

  26. Well written and accurate. I believe neoconservatives lack a strong educational foundation in history and combined that ignorance with some anecdotal stories learned in grade school. I find it interesting that neocons frequently call Obama, Hitler, but their nationalistic views is what Nazism was founded upon.

    1. They're incapable of introspection, so they have no earthly idea just how close they are to Nazism, or the Taliban, for that matter. They're *exceptional*, dontcha know…

      Pete Moulton

  27. Thanks for this post. I'm an Air Force vet, lived in Alaska, and now teach at a military college in Vermont. I might have to steal your line for my signature line: "You can't hide from the past, Folks, and only cowards would try."

  28. Hmmm...Great points in your essay, but there is just one thought I would like to put forward...I can't remember who said, "To the Victors, Go the Spoils"...I suppose that means the gop is thinking they have won the war in the last few elections, they get to re-write history to reflect their views...David Barton, is a name that comes to mind about false history writing...

    1. David Barton is a very dangerous, disingenuous, and delusional man, as he's touted by many on the far right as a singular, and most important authority on history.

      Quote from Wikipedia:
      "He has been described as a Christian nationalist and "one of the foremost Christian revisionist historians"; much of his work is devoted to advancing the idea, based upon research that many historians describe as flawed, that the United States was founded as an explicitly Christian nation.

      Barton holds no formal credentials in history or law, and scholars dispute the accuracy and integrity of his assertions about history, accusing him of practicing misleading historical revisionism, "pseudoscholarship" and spreading "outright falsehoods"

      And that right there is part of what this dumbing down of education and AP classes is all about.

      Many folks who want only private, charter, or home schooling are all about the bible and faith based education. For them, Barton is a hero, because his whole life is one long attempt to propagate lies, bring about Dominionism, Christian Nationalism, or even a theocracy.

      Exceptionalism has become a talisman of the religious Christians right, and you hear it being touted as a credential of how "genuine" a conservative person might be. .

      Killing AP classes is just one step on the road to ending public education altogether, and a notch in Grover Norquist's utopian America where these people can "drown the government in a bathtub".

  29. And NOW I will engage my brain and include the link: http://www.davidpbrown.co.uk/poetry/edwin-brock.html

  30. This is, I am reminded by Tom Sullivan over at Hullaballo, part of a broader attack on public education; you can read about it here: http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-new-abolitionists-by-bloggersrus.html.

    What Sullivan does not mention is that that has long been a goal of a Christian Dominionists—I have been hearing about it for decades. They want to replace public schools with church schools, where icky science is not taught, or only the most technical and practical aspects of it, and where religion can be part of the curriculum. Christian homeschooling is part of this movement. They find allies in the school privatizers like Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Rahm Emmanuel, both part of the Obama administration. If this lot achieves its goals, and they have done so in cities like New Orleans and are well on the way in Chicago, thank you Rahm, we will end up with a dual-track "educational" "system" similar to our current "health" "care" "system," funded by a mix of taxation and direct parental contributions, with church schools providing poor educations to many, expensive for-profit schools which will teach STEM and parental prejudices. College education, or even what we now think of as advanced high school education, will only be available to children of the well-heeled. Finally, "educational" corporations will reap vast profits from running schools while ripping off the public.

    Thanks, guys. We really need this.

    1. This is happening in Alabama as we speak, there is a Charter School Good Ol' Boy Money Grab about to be hurried through the first week of the session so our Speaker can make contracts with his buddies before he has his trial for allegedly making contracts with his buddies!

  31. In the Mel Gibson paragraph, I think you meant "The Patriot," since "Braveheart" was about William Wallace and his little Scottish insurrection.

    Other than that, congratulations on another home run, Chief.

    1. I think that Jim is making a reference of Captain Braveheart sarcastically. Benjamin Martin (the character played by Gibson in "The Patriot") was not a Captain, he was a Colonel of the British Army on the French-Indian Wars. Also, remember the last words of William Wallace in "Braveheart"... (FREEDOM!!!!).

    2. I see that I was too subtle for my own good.

      I intended the comment as a sarcastic metaphor in two ways:

      1) Gibson's movie The Patriot was typical of his work and about as accurate as Braveheart. Both are simplistic bits of jingoism that gloss over real history in a bit for cheap patriotism - exactly what conservatives (of which Gibson is loudly and drunkenly one) would have with AP American history itself.

      2) Gibson himself. The guy is the perfect example of a modern conservative "patriot." Makes movies where he plays a patriot (The Patriot), a brave rebel leader willing to sacrifice himself for the oppressed and downtrodden (Braveheart), outspoken against racism and inequality (Lethal Weapon), feeds the hungry, clothes the poor, heals the sick (Bird on a wire) and so on - never served a day in his life and in reality is a cowardly obnoxious racist drunk who cheated on and abandoned his first wife and abused the next one - all in the name of Jesus. Captain Braveheart.

    3. That's a common misconception, Gibson was born in the US, in Peekskill, New York. His father was a naturalized American, his mother was an Irish immigrant. He grew up in Australia when his father returned there to keep his kids out of the Vietnam war. But Gibson is an American and has spent most of his life here.

  32. I knew that they could be led to the knowledge, but that we could not make them drink it. Apparently, they don't want anyone else to drink it.

  33. The Jefferson County Colorado School Board pulled this shit with AP History several months ago which set off student walkouts all over the district. The school board dismissed the students as just a bunch of kids who wanted to skip class, who didn't have a single idea what they were protesting. One of the objections to AP history was that it encouraged civil disobedience. Yet, the student walkouts were a beautiful example of civil disobedience. Funny how that worked. This past week, I saw a tiny news story that the school board has dropped their idea of the review of the curriculum. The students have learned a powerful message, but not the one the school board wanted them to learn. I read the curriculum at at time and realized that I couldn't master the concepts since it's been too many years since I've been in a learning environment. A student who masters this course is someone who should be in charge of this country. Do you think that's the objection? Someone who would challenge the status quo? Both my daughters were AP scholars (in Texas, no less) but I deliberately moved away from Odessa (Friday Night Lights mentality) to a highly rated school system north of Dallas. They are both incredibly intelligent, critical thinkers and are a definite minority in their home state. Once again, your writing abilities blow me away Mr. Wright. Thank you.

    1. I wish I could say that I actually believed any of the "BOE3" of JeffCo. A fair number of parents and students are watching, waiting for the other shoe to drop, because while Mr. Witt (President of the BOE, and the source of that statement as far as I'm aware) has said there are no plans to "review" APUSH, the simple fact of the matter is that they restructured the standing curriculum review committee(s) to the point where that exact same review can be undertaken at any point in time, *and*:

      * Community committee members are chosen, at least in part, by the BOE (any guesses whether the BOE majority will set aside ideological biases during that selection process)?

      * Committees are beholden to the BOE, not to the district.

      Based on their history (see http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/, http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/transparency-jeffco-videos/ and http://www.citizensforresponsibleeducation.org/) I suspect that it's really just a matter of time until they re-open that particular can of worms.

      Ah, the joys of living in a swing-county in a swing-state... :-/

    2. Heh. Ran across this as well — *This* is what the students learned: http://jeffcostudentsforchange.org/2015/02/19/nothing-has-changed-jeffco-updated/

  34. Jim, the essay was only brilliant.

    IMHO, American Exceptionalism is horseshit. We are no more and no less exceptional than any other culture until history has made its final judgment. We seem to make most of the same mistakes other cultures and nations do. We try, most of the time, to do what is right although sometimes we don't really know what is right, just like everybody else. So why are we so exceptional? I'd like to see some right-winger prove, logically, that we're somehow different. We both know it'll never happen.

    Minor complaint- I know it's unfashionable to be so grammatically picky but "destiny", like "fate", is foreordained, immutable. To "forge" one's destiny is grammatically questionable, as is the frequently seen, usually in the work of sportswriters, "control their fate".

    I'll just shut up now and re-read the essay- it's THAT good.

    1. Character is fate. I think it's fair for humans to suppose they may be able to "forge" their own characters, ie beat the hell out of themselves with a big ass hammer after they have been searing in a white hot fire, to try to knock their own characters into shape.

    2. I think the US *is* exceptional, in a very specific way, which President Obama occasionally allures to: "When there's some [shit] in the world, the people call US". That's largely true, and a brings with it a lot of responsibility.

  35. That’s not racism, it’s socialism, or maybe anti-colonialism.

    Fair enough.

    Seems to me Rudy! doesn't even love America enough to learn the English language, because that reads to me as "I'm not racist. I'm Socialist, or maybe anti-colonialist". Now, that can't actually be what he's saying, right? Of course not. What he's saying is "I'm not racist, Obama('s family?) is Socialist, or maybe anti-colonialist". And OK, we can get the sense of that, after our eyes uncross, and we get past the glaring non-sequitor, but should we have to? Shouldn't our politicians be required to speak the language that so many of them insist should be made the One and Only Official Language of America? Is that really asking too much?
    Yeah, probably...

  36. So, of Giuliani and others of his ilk that "anti-colonialism" is so bad, it logically follows that they like colonialism which, as you say, would not have gone down well with guys like Jefferson or Washington. I guess it must be a "white man's burden" thing, eh?

  37. Jim: Thank you for being, once again, right on the spot. I have to unfortunately concur with you that today's 'education' is more indoctrination than instruction. Our generation (at least in the United States) did not have to endure the consequences of colonialism, so how can they form an opinion of what colonialism is or is not? It is regrettable that our educators (whether by inaction of the programs they have to follow, or their lack of interest and self-esteem) adhere to programs where the schools are dependent of funding through test scores (An 'A' School will get more funding than a 'C'), and where critical thinking is going down the drain. I teach at college level, and it is appalling the standards those kids out of high school bring to college: unpreparedness, submission, apathy. The conservatives (or those who are willing to maintain an ignorant society to avoid questioning) revolve in their seats when someone challenges their version of history.
    I am a history freak and I read the history of the United States in its 'conservative' version, as well as lived through the reality of the other history, the one that won't show up in the history books. As you well mentioned Jim, seldom will the history students learn how or why we ended up involving ourselves in the Vietnam conflict, or even what factors really forced the Civil War (still today the big majority of those students think that it was to end slavery, which was not the actual cause, but a corollary of the conflict. They have been taught the history from the victors' side, not the losing. I always ask my students, "Have you read a history of WWII from the Japanese or the German perspective?" And the answer is no, because the victor gets to write the history. Many years ago I saw a film called “With Honors” in which Joe Pesci played a bum living in Harvard. He goes to one of the classes of Government in which the professor (Ironically played by Gore Vidal) asked "What is the particular genius of the Constitution?" In his reply, Pesci states, “The beauty of the Constitution is that it can always be changed. The beauty of the Constitution is that it makes no set law other than faith in the wisdom of ordinary people to govern themselves.” I sadly came to the conclusion that the conservatives of this age want nothing with change, because change for them gets them out of their comfort zone. And if all that is contrary to Mr. Giuliani’s vision, then I do not love America either. I do not love ‘his’ America. The one I love is the one many of us defended, in uniform or not. Crude, imperfect, but always open to change.

  38. "This same complaint *extents* far beyond the dusty backwater of America’s Great Plains and has become a common item of debate in legislatures across the country where conservatives are even now considering bills that would ban all AP courses and not just history." The word is _extends_

  39. In deference to all the wonderful comments and even Jim's exceptional article, "You learn more from your mistakes then your successes" Just summing up Oklahoma's problem.

  40. Thank you. I enjoyed your article. I have recommended it to some of my friends.

    Dennis, retired Army

  41. Sir, I've been reading your stuff for a while and been inclined to comment occasionally but didn't quite take the step. Your latest, however, compels me. I have worked for some 15 years now at the world's largest (excepting the National Archives of the USA) collection of documents and artifacts regarding the Vietnam War...The Vietnam Center and Archive at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. "The Telltale Heart of History..." speaks directly to an experience I had once. We were hosting a conference for the Strategic Studies Institute, which describes itself as the "research arm" of the Army War College. I was introduced to a member of the SSI faculty who, upon learning I worked for my institution, sniffed and said, "Oh, Vietnam. We don't teach our students anything about Vietnam." I expressed surprise at this and asked why. I was informed that, " ... it simply isn't relevant to what they're dealing with." Here's my point: the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines (I'm not sure about the Coast Guard, they seem to learn lessons), as institutions, can determine to forget things, events, doctrines, lessons of history. They choose to do it. After the Vietnam War, the Army and Marines simply forgot all they'd figured about counter-insurgency simply because we weren't going to be involved in any more of those!
    And a closing note: knowing how you feel about Texas (it's a fair cop!), should you ever find yourself in Lubbock, I hope you'll stop by and allow me to show you what we've done here.

  42. .

    Impressive young Obi Wan, you are clearly a Jedi Master!

    Yours is an outstanding essay; researched, nuanced, and articulate. Your ideas make sense. You influence the agenda by being able to develop the discussion using logic and reason.

    The question remains, 'how do one use you magic to get others to listen and act appropriately?'

    Thank you.

    Ema Nymton

  43. Forgot to have "Notify me" set to on.

  44. I like it Jim - "Manifest Destiny is a great idea … so long as it’s your destiny being imposed at the point of a sword and the muzzle of a gun." Sums up popular American exceptionalism pretty well; white, christian and hateful.

    Reminds me of Dubya's statement after the GOP Supremes gave him the White House: "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." - Tommy D

  45. "Advanced placement courses aren’t about indoctrination, they have one function: to teach future citizens how to think."
    And that's the problem--people like Dan Fisher don't want students to learn to think. That might lead to their becoming rational adults who will think for themselves and challenge the drivel spouted by Dan Fisher and his ilk. It's the same mindset that makes Gov. Walker want to change the mission of the Univ of Wisconsin to produce Stepford-people to feed the state's job market rather than educated citizens searching for truth.

  46. I just love what you write. I guess that is because, like I have said before, I have the same thoughts. I have never found anyone that I could identify with more. Yet I am sure that there are things we might not agree on. If we did, you might be able to change my thinking. I would just hope that you can reach more than the choir, and change the thinking of others. I pass your writing on to others, but seem to only hear back from the choir. I have noticed that the people in power, only seem to pay attention to violence. There seems to be a world history of oppression followed by violence. How sad is that? I wonder if our information age will change that. At least you can say that you are doing your part.

  47. Jim:
    I'm always impressed with your commentary and this one is (to coin a phrase) exceptional.
    I rarely comment but because this sucker hits close to home:
    I was born into the colonial Caribbean - Jamaica - and, although my family relocated to the states pre-independence, I certainly have memories of the Brits in charge. I was singularly unimpressed with colonialism and remain a strident anti-colonial. Interesting enough however, I didn't experience overt racism under we moved to the states although the British had the class distinctions down to a science.
    The only exceptionalism I see in America is it's exceptional ability to cling to the absurd concept of white supremacy.
    Back in colonial Jamaica we school children had a response to that: "The British woman is so refined, no lips, no bosom and no behind."
    Best to you.

  48. I won't call out an earlier commenter by name but when this "student of history" claimed, (as so many have before) that slavery was not the primary cause of the Civil War but rather just a corollary to the conflict, I feel the urge to respond.

    To be fair, the reason politicians and their wealthy backers start a war and the reason that the common soldiers fight in that war are frequently two different things all together so, perhaps that was what he might have been referring to. That being said, as far as the primary cause of that war being anything other than slavery, I call shenanigans.

    I'm an experienced genealogy researcher so, by default, a student of history and in that research you learn to place more value on some source documents and less on others. Primary source documents are the most valuable and reliable as they clearly convey the feelings and thoughts of a person at the time - not diluted by retelling and amended by the conflict's winners and losers for their own reasons.

    One of the clearest primary source documents regarding the real cause of the Civil War is the transcript of a speech given by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens in South Carolina on March 21, 1861. The main focus of the speech was to spell out for his audience the differences between the U.S. Constitution and the new Confederate States Constitution. He listed a number of minor factors but got to the real meat of the matter at the end where he states "the cornerstone (of the CSA's constitution) rests upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition".

    A "cornerstone" is a main or primary cause, not a "corollary".

    As for our political parties, we've always had a conservative faction and a progressive faction in this country and we always will. It's the yin and yang of our existence. In 1860, the newly minted Republican Party supported the progressive notion of abolition and the staunchly conservative Democrats wanted to keep things just the way they were. It's for this reason I so badly want to hurl every time I hear current day conservatives call themselves the "Party of Lincoln" when they chose to welcome the old unreconstructed diehard rebel Dixiecrat wing of the Democratic Party into their tent.

    Both political parties rely, to some degree, on their constituent's ignorance but today's Republicans seem to take it to a whole new level. They spout phrases and names like anti-colonialism, freedom-loving, Saul Alinsky, socialist, welfare queens, voter fraud and Benghazi with no expectation their listeners have any idea what in the hell they're talking about but it sure gets the blood boiling and out come the torches and pitchforks. It's no big wonder they want to put an end to school programs that teach critical thinking skills.


    1. JZ,

      Tell the uninformed to read the actual articles/declarations of secession for every state of the confederacy if they don't think, at least to the South it was mostly about slavery.

      Thanks for articulating what many formerly of the "right" feel. As an escapee from that asylum I have watched as the "right" became the party of god, the party of environmental pillage, the party of any war is a good war, the party of racial tolerance as long as the look like us, the party of economic privilege and the party of lets damage the country by playing NIGYSOB over a BJ. Somewhere along the way, I lost faith that they had my interest at heart.


  49. Thank you, Jim for getting down in pixels what I was still trying to wrap my mind around and articulate. Anti-colonialism as a Bad Thing? I was still in "Wait...whut?" mode.

    I am continually gob-smacked by the stuff that comes out of the mouths of our elected officials. Another hair-shredding commentary that I know I'm going to have to blog about myself is the charge that Mr. Obama is not "Christian". Christ said that you know a thing or person by its fruits—the results produced. I have always thought that Mr. Obama's attitudes, words and actions marked him as being an exemplary Christian—one that shows a great deal of compassion for other people and who is willing to go out on a limb politically to make a difference in their lives.

    I occasionally (oh, okay, frequently) ask the folks who say things like this to cite an example of this unchristian behavior. I have yet to receive a response, though I have asked this question countless times. Ditto, when I ask for one specific policy that is "ruining the country" or that shows sympathy for Islamists. (He bombs because he cares?)

    We have come to a ridiculous pass in this country. Dogmatic thinking has wrought havoc with our politics and created a situation in which people listen to each other not to extract meaning or information but to be able to find fault with positions that they would agree with whole-heartedly if someone "other" was not speaking.

    Eloquent post.

  50. Hey Jim,

    I have been reading your stuff periodically and this article really piqued my interest and as a result I posted a comment Friday night Under the title "Skill Type II"I, I am curious, what was it about my comment that you found so egregious that you didn't allow it to darken your page.

    Now, before you direct me to your comment rules I did due diligence before I posted. I get it, it's your sandbox and not just anybody can shit here. However I didn't think my reply was particularly trollish, apparently it may have been too glib for your tastes. Perhaps I didn't open with enough praise for the depth of thought or writing genius like the other folks who respond here. If I insulted you, my deepest apologies.

    If my argument was flawed I would have thought you would have taken the time to set me straight.

    Anon Ymous

    1. No idea what you're talking about, Anonymous, so far as I know I didn't purposely remove any such comment. I don't recall anything with that title. That said, I refuse to allow personal attacks, logical fallacies, or ignorant stupidity to post unless it illustrates the point I was making in the associated essay - if your comment appeared to be such, it's possible I deleted it. Though as I said I don't recall such.

      It's possible that your comment was eaten by the spam filter (I don't see any such comment in the spam queue, but there are hundreds of viagra and work from home comments in there and I'm not inclined to look very far). Comments posted anonymously are far more likely to get flagged by the filters as spam than comments posted using a login.

      I will say that if "Perhaps I didn't open with enough praise for the depth of thought or writing genius like the other folks who respond here" is a sample of the kind of thing you posted, well, then it's entirely possible that I took your comment as a personal attack and dumped it with the rest of the sneering contempt I get.

      Try again.

    2. Ah. Nevermind. I found it.

      I did delete it. It was the racism. You can just keep that shit to yourself, Anonymous.

    3. Jim,
      Thanks for the reply I knew you were a standup guy. I'm glad that you found that my comment wasn't a personal attack, logically fallacious, or ignorantly stupid which I believe is a redundancy, but was merely semi racist, although I would argue it was semi humorous. That said...

      Perhaps you can edit my comment by deleting the parentheticals which I thought were simply descriptive but you evidently found racist and we can have your readers judge the strength of my historical argument.

      Thanks Jim!

      Anon Ymous

      Anon Ymous

    4. The gist of your comment is that the white colonials of America threw off tyranny in order to create for themselves a nation of freedom and liberty. The black native inhabitants of Kenya just wanted whitey out of their country and now they don't know what to do without him. While I appreciate you doubling down on Rudy Giuliani's "they" aren't like "us" routine, I see no reason to entertain it here.

      If that wasn't your intention, then rewrite your argument. Otherwise we're done.

    5. There's no reason to restate anything, the argument about colonialism is clear and historically accurate. What it does is dismantle the whole premise of your little screed. Your summation is more than a little disingenuous, which is unfortunate. I was really hoping to shit in your little sandbox.
      Anon Ymous

    6. Nice. I see why you post anonymously.

      As I said, we're done.

  51. Jim,

    I really liked your line:
    If conservatives see America in a negative light, perhaps it’s their own guilty conscience speaking.

    It’s this thinking that breeds fear of “Death Panels” because it’s really conservatives who want say over how people live and die. We get “FEMA Camps” because conservatives really do want to put “undesirables” behind fences. And they spaz about “Sharia Law” because it’s actually conservative Christians who want religious law.

    It’s only natural for them to attack AP American History and call it “indoctrination.” That’s really what conservatives want – indoctrination into their views, their religion, their way of life. Only THEY are exceptional. Everyone else is expendable.

    Chris in S. Jersey

    1. Chris, you have it exactly right -- it's projection, pure projection of their darkest desires, it's projection all the way down.

      Couple that with an utter incapacity for self-reflection that would offer them the slightest understanding of the inner demons they project upon those who do not echo their shibboleths, and you get the fear, rage, hatred and aggressive contumely they direct toward anyone not of their tribe.

  52. To those above who were debating slavery as a cause of the Civil War, I will offer a quote that I remember clearly from college American History, from a Union soldier's letter home; therefore primary source: "I signed up to fight to keep the Union together, not to free the n----s."
    I think it is safe to say that, then as now, motives differ between government and individual, and between one individual and another.

  53. I did not read the entire AP course description here, but I skimmed it, and my kids are taking all AP, honors and gifted courses and I see each of their classes doing similar things. They are being taught to look at subjects from various perspectives, analyze them, explain them, re-write things from history to reflect modern issues (for example, my son, when in 8th grade, studied and re-wrote a speech by Fredrick Douglass, with the focus on modern day slavery and human trafficking.) and, basically, kids are taught to THINK and apply and make connections. This is a wonderful opportunity and I am happy that our children are taking courses with a depth that I didn't experience until college. I also find what Oklahoma is proposing to be appalling.

    I also connect this mentality with some of the opposition to the Common Core standards. A lot of people are scared of them because they are so new and different and hard. Well, implementing new things is often hard. That doesn't mean we don't do it. Especially when it comes to much needed change. The Common Core standards can be read here: http://www.corestandards.org/read-the-standards/ but my favorite is this one, number four - "(the standards are) Based on rigorous content and the application of knowledge through higher-order thinking skills" Higher order thinking skills. Yep. Just like in the AP courses, Common Core curricula has a goal of teaching kids how to think. It's harder to teach kids how to think, than to teach them how to listen, memorize and regurgitate, so I get it when people say that it's hard, but, in my opinion, teaching kids how to use "high order thinking skills" is something that we need MORE of, not less of, and definitely not something to be replaced by bible-thumping, feel-good, flag-waving, false patriot, lowest common denominator BS.

    1. I'm old enough to remember when "New Math" was introduced to American classrooms in the 1960s, not least because I was out sick for the first week of school (sixth grade?) and never could quite figure it out and catch up with the rest of the class. People got in an uproar over it then, too, because it was so different from the way math was traditionally taught. But I don't recall it being opposed as an un-American attack on all that was good and patriotic, just that it confused the hell out of parents who couldn't do their kids' homework any more.

    2. Tom Lehrer knows what you're taking about when you talk about New Maths: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIWaJ0sy03g

    3. Oh, yes, I was hearing that Lehrer song in my head the whole time I was composing my comment! What a gem that man was, so many wonderful songs.

  54. http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/02/20/barack_obama_loves_america_and_thinks_it_s_great_video_evidence_contradicts.html

  55. In Soviet Russia, You beat Telltale Heart of History!

    Sorry, couldn't resist. I'm not sufficiently caffeinated yet, so I just *think* I'm funny.

  56. Anon Ymous translated from the original Douchkrit: Pompous Anus.

  57. I can't speak for anybody else, but I learned about anti-colonialism during my boyhood in India, the same place that Dinesh D'Souza should have. My family were missionaries there from 1953 to 1958. I learned that, even though the British rule there was gone, I was still a member of the highest caste, being white and European. My friends were Indian children, but, when my parents found out that I went along with them to collect cow dung from the side of the road and put it on the walls of huts to use for fuel, I was told that our people didn't do that. When, like the other children, I put commemorative wreathes of flowers on the statue of Gandhi Thata, I was told I really should leave that to the Indians.

    On the other hand, I also learned that colonialism is the reason that, despite being the size of Europe, with a vast history, multiple languages and. and huge cultural differences between North and South, India still can see itself as a single country. I was there when the native Indian rulers (from the North) tried to make Hindi the national language of the sub-continent and the other ethnic and linguistic groups refused. Oddly enough, English, the language of the colonialists, is the one that everybody in the country can agree on as a common language, which makes nationhood possible.

    Just as Jim said, anti-colonialism is complex, it applies to everybody, and we need to understand it before we say anything.

    -Paul Cooper (former QM3/SS)


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