My colleague Manny Schewitz covered in great detail the absurd push in Oklahoma to ban AP History classes in the state, and he was pretty much spot-on with his analysis. A large part of why conservatives oppose these classes is that they don’t teach the “white-washed” aspect of United States history. In other words, conservatives are very upset that many of the horrific events that actually happened in our nation’s history (slavery, genocide, oppression) might get more emphasis than just a section of a chapter in a normal history class that’s glossed over in about two days time.
But there’s more to it than just the conservative aversion to our actual history vs. the legendary history that’s often taught in our schools.
Republicans don’t just dislike reality, they’re actually trying to change what “facts” really are. They’ve set out to distort and destroy education as much as they possibly can because they know that by doing this they can then rewrite textbooks in their own ideology, essentially creating new “facts” that they’re comfortable with.
When I was in school the “facts” were that Christopher Columbus discovered America and everyone at the time believed that the world was flat. Those were the “facts” when I was a kid. Though that’s no longer what’s taught in schools today, at least not according to the teachers with which I’ve spoken.
If Republicans do what they’ve been trying to do for years – such as white-wash history and push creationism into biology books – what they’re actually doing is changing what the “facts” are.
Facts are generally indisputable, but the truth is, they’re really not.
The anti-vaccine movement is a great example of what I’m talking about. There’s been so much misinformation pushed against vaccines that “facts” for many are completely distorted based upon the information they’ve decided is true. Does that mean the “facts” really change? No, of course not. But if you build a society that’s completely impervious to the truth, the “facts” are whatever that society thinks is real – whether or not reality supports what it is that they believe. If tomorrow our schools began teaching that vaccines were dangerous, we would create whole generations of people who would forever believe that they were harmful.
It wouldn’t matter if facts really didn’t support what they believed because the “facts” have been changed based upon what they were taught.
Luckily, “anti-vaxxers” don’t have enough power to alter educational curriculum. Unfortunately, Republicans do.
Right now they’re doing their best to get climate change taken out of text books, evolution put side by side with creationism and history altered to make it seem as if the Founding Fathers were a bunch of evangelical Christians who clearly meant for this country to be a gun-toting Christian nation – even though our Second Amendment refers to “well-regulated militias” and there’s not a single reference to Christianity anywhere in our Constitution.
None of that will matter if Republicans have their way.
There is a deliberate effort by conservatives to restructure what “facts” are in this country.
If you’re still confused as to what I mean, look at North Korea as another example of what I’m talking about. They’re taught fiction from the moment they’re born. They’re pumped full of propaganda and lies every single day of their lives. For North Koreans, “facts” are very different from reality. For millions of people in that country, “facts” are the nonsense that they’ve been indoctrinated with since birth.
That’s what Republicans are trying to do here. They want:
- History to reflect only “patriotic legends.”
- Faith to seem as factually sound and accepted as scientific facts.
- Our Constitution to be something that it’s not (a foundation for a theocracy).
And if they get all of that, then they’ll change what “facts” are for our future generations.
Which is why I cannot emphasize enough that liberals/progressives/Democrats must vote all the time, every single election. It’s great to show up every four years to elect a president, but it’s often the midterms and state elections that really determine which direction this nation is pushed. And those are elections far too many on the left don’t show up to.
If that trend continues, the reality we face in the future is going to be very bleak. Because if you think this all sounds far-fetched, go talk to the one abortion clinic in Mississippi or the thousands of Americans who were disenfranchised from voting this past November. See what they have to say about what Republicans can do if we don’t stop them.