". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Friday, March 19, 2010

Eric Foner Speaks to TBoE's Changes to the Curriculum's Textbooks

In The Nation, here.

This is his concluding paragraph:

"Clearly, the Texas Board of Education seeks to inculcate children with a history that celebrates the achievements of our past while ignoring its shortcomings, and that largely ignores those who have struggled to make this a fairer, more equal society. I have lectured on a number of occasions to Texas precollege teachers and have found them as competent, dedicated and open-minded as the best teachers anywhere. But if they are required to adhere to the revised curriculum, the students of our second most populous state will emerge ill prepared for life in Texas, America and the world in the twenty-first century."
Eric Foner has studied and written extensively the lies of how the era popularly known as "Reconstruction" has been taught, and how the lies have been transmitted down the decades in our schools' history classes -- which includes much calumny and distortion of President Grant's personal life and career. These long campaigns of mendaciousness have only begun to be corrected in these later years -- in the eyes of the crazy rightwing and rethugs. So imagine what they changed in the textbooks in these areas.

Also Peter Watts, the award winning Canadian profession / Science Fiction writer, was convicted of assaulting a border security guard earlier this year, when trying to cross back into his own country of Canada, from the U.S., where he'd been helping a friend move house.

All we can hope for now is that the judge is as fair as PW judged the judge to be, and gives the lightest sentence possible, and then suspends it.


K. said...

As for the Revolution paving the way for a "military," isn't that wrong on the face of it? The country was mistrustful of a standing military at the outset, and I believe that Congress came close to shutting down West Point at least once. We didn't have much of a military establishment at all until after WW2, and even then there was significant demobilization.

BTW, Andrew Bacevich has pointed out that the North prevailed in the Civil War despite entering it with a small army, and that we won WW2 despite going into it with a small army and no air force at all. On the other hand, since we've built the military in to a sacred cow, we've had at best a mixed record in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq.

Foxessa said...

Another reason they can hate on Jefferson -- he didn't like navies, so he made sure the U.S. didn't have one, which made fighting the Brits effectively in the War of 1812 difficult -- UNTIL, then the U.S. built a navy far faster than the Brits could believe they could, and managed to take out some of their best fighting ships, which they couldn't believe even more so the U.S. could do.

Another one of those wars that was deeply unpopular in the U.S. -- particularly among the merchant and shipowning classes.

The Brits blockaded Boston's harbor for an extended period.

Still and all -- when actual armies got to fighting in the War of Southern Agression, it was a bloody meatgrinder for everyone, that kept grinding until the very end.

What was also made things so bad at first for the Union was that Buchanan had shipped most of the army's supplies to the South, and deployed a large part, plus the navy, on a bogus expedition to Paraguay, was it? And then so many of the officers chose the Confederate alliance. So that also hampered the Union getting up to speed.

But it had the financial instruments to build essentially a new army from scratch. It knew how to borrow and manage debt -- with all those bankers, businessmen and industrialists in the North to advise Lincoln and his administration, and to DO.

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

That was a very longwinded way to say your point makes sense.

Armies at best are lumbering and heavy. They seldom can turn on a dime. The longer a professional army is entrenched in its structures and has dinosaurs like the retired general who blamed the fall of Srebrenica on the inclusion of gay soldiers in the Netherlands' military -- the more lumbering and cumbering it is.

Love, C.