Thursday, June 16, 2005


I was never a great History student. Admittedly, my brain turned off when my teachers were up in front of the class, dictating the lessons each day, especially when the subject was American History in the 20th Century.

Looking back, though, the underlying theme throughout my education in this regard was that the US and its citizens always fought for the "right" ideals, and that this country really never made any mistakes; it always stood up for the common good, was a free country, the best country, blah blah blah.

In my early adult years I was never interested in politics, or the news; therefore I took it for granted that this country was pretty much infallible. I still don't know a whole lot today, but I've finally taken some time out to study some history. It's still confusing to me, and I still have a tendency to have "brain turn-off" when information gets too thick.

That being said, I find myself a little perturbed and disconcerted that my early education was based on propaganda - chest-pounding, brainwashing propaganda. I feel slighted. I was made to believe that the Indians were savages, that the massacres were the "right" thing to do. I was made to believe that this country was founded on the basic principle that all "humans" are created equal, only to find out that what they really meant was that all white anglo-saxon protestant men were created equal, and that everyone else was below human status. I was made to believe that America was the "Melting Pot" (or salad bowl, or whatever) and that we welcome immigrants, only to find out that each nationality or race was met with disdain or mistrust when they arrived. The list could go on.

My wake up call was when Grace was in 4th or 5th grade. She was having trouble with her History homework and asked me for help. I read the chapter that she was working from and became very surprised and angry. This was a history book from a Virginia public school, and, if I remember correctly, the subject was the period of time when West Virginia "seceded" from Virginia. Slavery/Economics. This book played down the atrocities of slavery and made excuses for the South's behavior. Facts were incorrect. I started yelling, saying that this textbook was wrong, and asking Grace what the hell they're teaching her at that school. Poor Grace.

Now, I've known some Northerners that were every bit as racist as the most racist of Southerners, and I've recently discovered that the Northern states weren't as lily-white as I had been taught with regard to that period in history, but I thought that, since the Boomers were in office, today's children would be taught more of the truth.

Take, for example, "Reefer Madness". This propaganda was not created to alert the public of the dangers of Marijuana. It was created to deport a few Mexicans from the Four-Corners states and Texas. Another example - Marijuana has been called the "Gateway" drug so that it can remain illegal. Studies show, though, (snicker... "studies show!") that LEGAL substances i.e. alcohol and Pharmaceutical drugs are more likely to lead people down the path of addiction than Marijuana.

Why does everything have to be about fear and money and power? I have found during my wake-up call that these are the motives that drive the "Servants" (Politicians are supposed to "serve" their constituents, right???), rather than having a sense of community and people helping people.

Am I too naive? Too idealistic? What's wrong with the truth? Huh? Huh?


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