Wednesday, May 26, 2010
We, as a people are embedded in false sense of choice. There is the illusion of possibility. But, even taking a basic observation will show a general uniformity to the options we are presented. There is a right to voice dissent or access to “alternative” information however access and empowerment are very different. The ability to speak one’s mind is allowed to a degree but there are absolute consequences that will follow. Various acts of legislation have been implemented to keep strict constraints on the ability to speak, print and assemble as well as to limit basic seemingly guaranteed fundamental and constitutional rights. These included the Smith Act, the Alien and Sedition Act, the USA Patriot Act, the USTIPS ACT, the Internal Security Act, the Subversive Activities Control Board, COINTELPRO as well as the House Un-American Activities Commission and the FISA domestic surveillance bill. Should you subvert from increasingly narrowing standards for acceptable conduct in the United States, these programs exist to make sure you are discovered, dealt with and punished accordingly.
We are run by an inescapable set of truth and consequence. The closer to uncovering the truth one is, the more one is inspired to act but there lies the path to consequence. Every choice is bathed in consequence but the American way is steeped in disregard of any consequence or recollection of previous ones. What causes this “American amnesia?” Where are these “freedoms” we are told exist? What Americans are free to do is unwittingly nod their head in approval of the actions of their government’s choices which was inevitable from the start. This is to do the bidding of their masters in the elite enclaves of our society. These elites have bought, stolen and killed their way into positions of utmost power. This false choice exists in the legislators we elect, the laws we approve, the restrictions we unwittingly impose upon our selves which is the will of the authoritarian state tightening its’ grip.
America is flooded with a false sense of patriotism and freedom unified by blurry, untrue links. Randolph Bourne called this “The Health of the State.” This meant the desire of nation-states to create a newfound, unnatural patriotism. This goes against, natural love of home or origin. It wasn’t about the love of your country but, instead, the anti-love of foreign states. These links range mainly in a structured system of mis-education that is dictated to our youth at its most impressionable age and continues into adulthood. If you follow “ABC” you will get “XYZ.” Do not divert or things will go wrong and you will be to blame. This has traditionally been the accepted mantra, even though more and more people who followed the straight and narrow are finding the “American Dream” is not coming true and their just dues are not being paid even in partial. More and more people are finding its not just hippies, addicts and people who choose to live below the standards who aren’t getting the slice of the American dream but now the working-class “everyman.” Because of this, they are confused, angry and increasingly desperate. This creates a perfect mix of emotions to, yet again, have a frantic population to manipulate as the leaders see fit. What is there that can be gained from this? A massive amount of seemingly limitless wealth coinciding with uncontrollable greed to possess it while the rest of us scramble for the leftover scraps.
Multinational corporations have been an American institution since the first notion existed of creating monopolies and trusts. Your classic fiscal libertarian will vehemently defend these concepts saying the ability to do business as one sees fit is just as American as the ability to vote, earn a living, or join the army. However, a glaring contradiction is evident when one specific thing such as a corporation’s ability to exist and thus possess limitless power, wealth and influence setting it as a power outside our elected democratic republic’s said principles which can potentially destroy millions of citizens abilities to live. Through a painstakingly controlled set of laws, jargon and technicality, they have hijacked every major part of the citizenry making it virtually impossible to live by the rules of American standard and be comfortable.
In history classes, students often hear of the fourteenth amendment as a revolutionary victory in civil rights. Being the middle of the three “slave” amendments, its main purpose (of so it is said) was to allow black people officially into American society and the legal system. However, one lesser emphasized facet is that it also gave legal autonomy and representation of corporate entities even dating back to 1868. While merely a dozen or so cases were taken to the Supreme Court in regard to guaranteeing African Americans the right to vote, get jobs, represent themselves in court or initiate civil law suits; hundreds of corporate issues were taken to the highest court in the land to set up and protect a concrete precedent in the foundation of our evolving legal and legislative systems ensuring legal protection and identity of the incorporated business sector.
Repeatedly, our nation took on paternal, neoliberal doctrines of spreading a patented and exclusive format of democracy to nations too weak or inept to enact them independently. However this obviously had ulterior motives of disassembling any specter or self-rule these “basket cases” or “banana republics” previously had while replacing them with dictatorships in the State Departments pocket through covert or overt funding. Once the modern day caudillos were in place, they were indebted and vigorously compensated American industrial and agricultural interests by opening up whole nations wide arrays of indigenous resources. The third world was thus, ripe for the plucking. Simultaneously, as the GNP’s of these nations skyrocketed (an illusion of the sacred right-leaning “invisible hand” doing what it does best because American GNP means profit so it apparently must be the same everywhere else) their quality of health dropped to horrific levels with death rates paralleling the medieval era. Since these people are (economically or forcefully, as a result of the American sponsored regime change), terrorized, in desperation, they flee to America. Ironically, many underemployed neighbors in the western hemisphere are forced to leave because American companies set up Maquiladoras (cheap extra-national factories which are set up to explicitly dodge American safety, health and environmental regulations) which employ very little domestic workers (since they tend to import guest workers) and pay them even less. They then come to America to work for these same companies within the continental U.S., usually working under the table, still below the American federally mandated standard for pay. This human economic backwater, with major aid of “conservative” and “liberal” media, thus is then targeted by the working class here as the major enemy and cause for their shrinking wages and evaporating jobs. Not only do the companies responsible get away scot-free but they receive tax cuts for employing the legal portion of these depressed immigrants. This is not happening in the third world, this is not happening in some God-less communist nation, this is happening here.
So what is our solution? Of course, the obvious one. Send troops to the U.S./Mexico border as Obama is doing (at the insistence of republican and democratic political leaders alike) to “fight” the immigration problem! Just like sending DEA agents and police to “fight” the drug problem. Just like we raped and pillaged the airline industry to “fight” the homeland security problem! And look at all the progress! Wait…drugs are still everywhere, bomb scares haven’t decreased and, seemingly, no matter how many border guards you station, the immigration problem is not going away. This is all part, again, of a systematic brainwash of the American psyche by programming us; a soldier with a gun can fix just about anything. Even though the last time that was true most of our parents weren’t even alive. The structure and dependence on the police state is another one of the long cons both sides of our government have been shoving down our throats, even though a chart I saw yesterday showed alarming statistics of over 300 botched paramilitary (SWAT) police raids over the last 20 years across America on the homes of innocent people due to false tips and bad or lazy intelligence. Even though the facts are plain as day and prove you could live on the straight and narrow all your life but still, some day, may have your door blown off and a MP-5 jammed in your face for no reason; people still are fervently in favor of supporting strong-armed divisions of our police. Remember how the Philadelphia Police handled the MOVE siege in ’85? That’s right, they burned down 65 homes in West Philly when they dropped a bomb from a helicopter on the home with no warning while the fire department watched the flames burn down building after building.
Apathy was a major goal of the elites in control of media exposure. They flood the public with horrible extraneous news to raise the appearance of danger and war to whet the masses collective appetites for bloody action while they are inundated with an uncontrollable sense of hysteria and hopelessness. In a state of hysteria, man is capable of anything sans the ability to use rationality. Buying and Destroying are very similar for in order to buy, not only does it come at the cost of destroying something for the product to come we also destroy a part of our individual self. Kinda “new agey” but I don’t care. Check out this video if you have time about how much our business masters depend on Americans thinking disposability is just as normal as innovation, creativity and fireworks on the fourth of July. From the point we recognize words, we are trained to follow orders, attend a very narrow format of education, work away our lives at menial jobs in order to make money to buy an unending list shit we don’t need. All the while, we are disregarding our families, faiths, self-worth and surroundings. Not only that, but we are conditioned to react to those who do not follow this model with at the least ridicule and at most violent hostility. This is all done because through this, we are told, we can create an image for our self. The only way this can be done is through collecting apparel in a method of buying all that we can which can exclaim our identity with certainty. Candidates in politics are exactly the same.
Those with the interest to become a person of influence or, better yet, control of person of influence needs little more than the funds necessary to achieve it. The hand of the market stops nowhere and this ranges from the top to the bottom and controls each level in that order. It was no coincidence that George Washington and his contemporaries were the absolute elite of the colonies. Washington was possibly the richest man in America. A phrase to be looked at is, “We the people,” for it is little more than rhetoric of universality to rope in everyone who was below the fathers of the nation which was almost everyone outside the doors of the Philadelphia Hall where the document which contained it was written.
The constitution did little more than set up exclusionary sets of rules to pretty much ensure that only connected, educated and rich men would be able to hold “office,” the uniquely American term for bourgeoisie or gentry class. The Bill of Rights was pretty much addendums to get the middle class behind the constitutional exclusionary principles that, under any other circumstance, they never would have supported. Anyhow, the bill of rights was being trampled on within ten years of its conception when Alexander Hamilton violated countless constitutional guidelines and tried to ferment an open rebellion secretly so he could have a reason to use the continental army against frontiersmen in western Pennsylvania as a warning of the American government’s unflinching willingness to use force under any challenge to its autonomous superiority. This case was one of the first among many which followed showing the leaders’ enthusiasm to unleash force to obtain the capital, influence, territory and obedience they desired.
The question which arises is how committed to constitutional protections are our leaders if the same judgment repeatedly gets passed down to the population that the constitution is not a war-time document? Well, we have been at war pretty much since our creation as a country so was the constitution ever valid? Especially when one considers, civil protections to our ability to own firearms, restrictions on the quartering of troops and judicial protections are all things which should come up regularly in a time of war.
There is no sector of the globe where American or American-supported influence through military force has not touched. However among the powerful who control the mainstream media and the educational systems through “standards” very little awareness is present among the citizenry. The insistence and demand for focusing on the immediate unconnected personal placement in time has grown to an insane measure. The people have no way to even know how to want anything different due to unceasing conditioning from authority figures in school, at work, in church and from Washington. You’ll live a lot more contented when you realize: There is no partisanship; it’s all the same show where the parties alternate center stage between the acts.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Based on Sunday’s closing of one of the most captivating series in television history, the Lost finale is receiving some very mixed reviews hitting every shade of the positive/negative spectrum. I personally loved it but I could understand why some were left wanting more or feeling a little shortchanged. I will attempt to offer my best explanations and interpretations.
So let’s talk about the story structure and the plot devices. It used a fully circular method of ending where it started. However I feel it worked extremely well if you looked at it in the most literal way possible. The blink of an eye. This in an ingenious device in summing up everything the show talks about. Illustrating what seemed like a timeless stretch on the island where time literally has no meaning. The full circle aspect could be seen as Jack, the one who led everyone, was the one who was led to his final place in the story by everyone. He was LOST and he FOUND everyone, including most-importantly himself. Action-Reaction, Good-Evil, “To push the button or not to push the button”, these were parallels that this series thrived on. Jack is Cain, Able, the Prodigal Sun, Moses, Abraham, Buddha, Homer and Luke Skywalker all in one or even a literal Shephard as a shepherd. The epitome of hero. The parallel “sideways” timeline was a purgatory-like state (if you want to call it that). However, who is to say when this alternate time-line began or ended? Had they been living from birth in this new time-line or did it start the second we the viewers began to observe. Many of the flash-back-forward-sideways elements put us in an omnipresent role, seeing things about specific characters even before they were conscious of what was going on around them (this alludes to character connections, foreshadowing, past-lives, etc.). Jacob may have been watching, but so were we. I feel the sideways line started as soon as we saw it and perpetuated itself to serve a purpose, just as the island did. What purpose? That is relative to the needs of each specific entity. One person’s heaven could be another’s hell based on where they were coming from. So although characters (Kate, Claire, Sawyer) may have gotten off the island and died much later in life, they all returned to the perpetual state of “island self” to return to the “most important points of their lives” as Christian stated. The “connections” and “awakenings” they find in the afterlife could simply be the illuminations of their kindred spirits, their soul mates or however one chooses to describe the term. What of the light? It could be “heaven.” It could be the light in the heart of the island. They could all be going back to relive the experience. What it truly is would be up to our own unique interpretations.
Jack was the central figure, this whole series could be a biography of his character, and the other passengers/connections he made were all secondary but filled the roles to how to facilitate Jack’s personal evolution. The island was the second most important device (or even character) in the story; it contained good, evil, punishment, redemption, dharma, nirvana, everything and nothing. Seasons 1, 2, 3 where all about them being stuck on it, season 4 was jack desperately trying to get back to it, season 5 was Locke dying and facilitating the explanation behind Jack’s change of heart, 6 was explaining as many pieces to this seemingly unending puzzle as possible, many dealing with the origin of the island.
I noticed many people have been griping about “what of the island’s origin? The magic of the witch? The healing/birthing/telekinesis/supernatural/electromagnetic/time issues?” These were all mysteries of the island. Think of how many people died, where drawn there, killed, and sacrificed because of it. They never found out as first hand witnesses. So why would we? Their interpretations were as good as any of ours be it Eloise Fisher, Charles Whitmore, Alvar Hanso, Ben Linus even, to some extent, Jacob and Nemesis. Think of “the Shining.” In that film and to some extents the book, we see that there are certain people who “shine” in certain places and we generally accept it. It never goes into the origin or the cause of shining and we don’t seem to care. It’s a power that people have and that it that. This story, taking many elements of King’s work, also seems to follow that structure. Some people got it, some people don’t.
The main idea was it was a supernatural force of good and evil which completely could manipulate the laws of the world. Some, such as Whitmore, to some extent the Others, the U.S. army (the H bomb subplot), the Dharma initiative, wanted to exploit those forces. This was something that could not be, hence Jacob pulling the strings of the Others to do his bidding in exchange for them to be able to live “off the grid.” Walt was special because he already was special and the Others, who knew of the islands power, wanted to find out if it was because of the island directly or if Walt was a story in and of himself. It was the latter, apparently, because during the Room 23 issue when Walt was being tested, the Others were scared of what he was able to do there. This is a fantasy fictional world so who’s to say if there aren’t telepathics around the world already which the flashbacks illustrate is a truth… (Remember the psychic who won’t read Claire’s palm???) Hurley’s numbers were more a device for us the viewer to make easier connections to the supernatural world, almost like highlighted portions of a book. The birthing issue had something to do with the statue which was a symbol of Taweret or Isis, both Egyptian symbols of fertility. The statue was standing in the beginning but was taken down, or broken down… I’m guessing by the MIB to prevent potential candidates from being born on the island. Hence, the statue comes down, no more babies… Until the chosen candidates arrive (Sun who would have had the baby if she stayed or Claire) Ever think why the Others had so many medical professionals in their ranks or why they were so hard-up to get Juliet in their ranks even killing Edmund Burke (hit by a bus) to get her there.
Now, regarding a little more detail to the “sideways” time line. I have read repeatedly that many viewers considered it a waste of time. Not so, in my opinion. Take it from Faraday’s time continuum. There are simultaneous time-lines going on all over the place. For Christ’s sake, the Losties going back to the 70’s would mean in real-time their childhood or infant selves would be alive at the exact same time in the rest of the world. This apparently does not alter the flow, or did it? Remember the nose-bleeds. Charlotte and Daniel were the first to really react negatively. So even though they were inherently connected to the island even from young ages, maybe their extended stays or familiarity with the island were why their bodies couldn’t handle the stress of the “time storms.” Remember, Charlotte and Miles being there during the Dharma initiative as children and Daniel being possibly conceived there and even murdered by his own mother while she was pregnant with him! (Wrap your mind around that)
Eloise and Whitmore where in the know but even their perspective was limited. Although they were thinking on higher levels of consciousness, to another degree so was Lennon and Dogen, even the most knowledgeable character was still limited in their perceptions… They were just a tab further down the road than everyone else. But I’m getting tired of theorizing and I hope some of these things seem a little clearer. The whole point of the show is mystery. I know I rambled and got hung up on some details but this is fitting for a show that tended to ramble and was completely detail-centric. If you were demanding more, I don’t know how the show could have ever done that job because for the numerous questions it posed, you would literally be watching 5 hours of answers with no more new questions, and that, frankly is not at all what Lost is about. Socrates main method of teaching illuminated the philosophy by answering a question with an endless cycle of questions. Through this method, some of the greatest philosophers created explanations to the human condition that hadn’t even been touched before. Even look at all the scientists and philosophers who get name-dropped just in characterization along, Locke, Bentham, Alpert, Faraday, Burke. Lost used a system of touching on (or diving head on) into some of the best plot, philosophical, symbolic, religious and story-telling devices we know. This may be why we love it so much. It uses things we already know and love and subconsciously touches on our own personal nostalgia. I mean do you think it was coincidental that so many things clicked, when they dropped a Star Wars reference or if you noticed the copy of Sawyer reading “Watership Down” on the beach, Aldo reading “A Brief History of Time” outside room 23, Sawyer reading “The Fountainhead” in prison, or if you noticed the Dharma Stations “Pearl” and “Looking Glass” are two stories from our adolescence? There are so many “shout-outs” to things we all love, it almost impossible based on any personal taste not to get a “nod” on at least one thing you’re into.
Point is, If you left by getting something from this series, good. If you left scratching your head, better. If you left overjoyed or enraged and dying to talk to someone about it, congratulations, you got the point.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
The wait is finally over, not only the Lost finale airs in an hour but Mario Galaxy 2 was released today! If anyone knew me slightly as a kid, I was a Mario freak. I could draw him in 10 seconds upside down, for God’s sake. Every time a new game came out, it was my obsession. From the first time I got to try it at my cousin’s house as a six year old, I couldn’t get enough of it. However, from my high school years, I've taken quite a big break from Nintendo but that's the magic of it. You can put it down for a decade and it will always be there waiting for you.
Mario’s latest journey was released today and based on the reviews; it’s looking to be a almost definite shoe-in for game of 2010. One thing I’m seeing is although the unanimous praise, the haters are coming out of the woodwork to take the red and blue clad plumber down as many pegs as they can. It is a baffling degree of negativity and bitter bullshit that seems really unwarranted. I just don't understand how people hate on this console wars bullshit so much. “It doesn’t display the Pixel power”, “it has no story”, blah blah. These are acceptable complaints but, if you notice, these people ironically who are bashing the “no story” argument are the same who hate on art or indie games for having too much or too complex a story. And usually these complaints would be adequate if these were people who followed the Mario story and thought this story was less or sub-par compared to the long going feud between King Koopa and the Mushroom Kingdom but usually you’ll see something comparing this game to Halo, God of War or whatever Sony-Microsoft exclusive they think should be on top. This is more about some unfounded corporate mascot loyalty taking drab, brown-drenched, color free, flat storied “hardcore” or “mature” characters overtly in favor of a pure, imaginative, happy, colorful character from our childhood who stayed strong and lasted through it all. What I love about Mario and Nintendo is their upfrontness, and their willingness to stay true to the magic that got us into games in the first place. They are unafraid to call the medium what it is, a game! Not some horse shit “playable cinematic experience” which is, when you strip away the million dollar ad campaign, the over the top violence, and the high-def production, also a toy!
Less is in fact more and the best thing about Mario's story is that he can tell it without saying a single word besides a hearty Yahoo! Man goes to a new, strange environment to conquer a looming enemy force and make things right and, once order is restored, he returns to his old or familiar world a hero. You can do this again and again and have a hit. Lord of the Rings, Neverending Story, the Goonies, Star Wars, the Odyssey, etc. As a kid, wasn't there a book or movie you remember being able to read or watch again and again? Mario epitomizes this feeling while always keeping it fresh. Furthermore, the Sony and Microsoft dicks needs to deal with the fact that Mario (along with Sonic, Alex Kidd, Bonk and Pac Man) was the pioneer of bringing video games into the mainstream. Without him and his popularity, the bland, replaceable, big, armored dudes with some various weapons wouldn't even exist. Mario/ Duck Hunt was the game included with the Nintendo console so, for almost an unanimous degree, (besides Sega kids or the super rich Neo-Geo kids) it was the first game many of us played. Nintendo was putting everything it had on their block-breaking front man and they sure did deliver flawlessly and still managed to push the envelope again and again…. Anyways, the point is, if you have a can hate on Mario, your hating on a symbol of childhood for everyone who makes all of the games you play today.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Hard times seem to have landed on the world of social studies educators. This can be especially evident in my part of the state for educators seasoned and green alike in finding or securing employment based on the hiring freeze and mass privatization in Philadelphia and the slashing of educational budgets in the Garden State or if you’re an educator in general based on the day-old Texas mandate which, in a nutshell, plans to literally rewrite American History text books or if you live in Arizona and want to learn about any history beyond American or European, you’re out of luck. Wow, what a laundry list of depressing stuff! Social Studies, which is often thought to be a backdoor or unimportant “filler” class, now has been the placed in the national spotlight on multiple issues the past few days. All of which are negative.
That said, I would like to speak about two specific stories; the first regarding the 9-5 Texas statewide school board decision to completely rewrite American History text books. Both of these strike major blows to not only social studies students on statewide and national levels but also are a disgrace to history as a profession and a practice and the second regarding a part of the notorious set of laws which had befallen Arizona regarding the elimination of the “Ethnic Studies” portion of their History curriculum.
I will begin by writing about the controversial Texas initiated curriculum change. As a history teacher, I already thought text books were slanted and biased by white-washing (in some cases literally) controversial issues through making them as irrelevant as ever or just not covering them period. I have noticed a pattern of leaving out a great deals of "question raising" topics like the progressive movement, reformers, anti-war activists, important African American, Native American, Latino and unconventional white male and female historical figures, unpopular wars, US "interventions" throughout the Western Hemisphere and the rest of the world, and often simply saying war "broke out" instead of actually laying out causes such as economic and political motivations for war and then refusing to show the actual human sacrifice and cost of it. Now, Texas is officially smashing the scales. Students will get to read an extra long segments about how great Jefferson Davis, Milton Friedman, Phyllis Schafly and Ronald Reagan were while inventing religious principles to founding fathers who rarely prayed (such as Washington) and actually condemned the organized church during the revolution calling it an institution of "oppressors" and "opponents to [our] liberty!" (Such as Adams and Jefferson) How about less Ronald Reagan and Jefferson Davis and more Eugene V. Debs, Malcolm X or Jane Addams? Since we are making up history, why don't we rewrite it where George Washington became a regent for life, Alexander Hamilton turned our country into a monarchy, slavery never happened, Vietnam adopted American democracy, Kennedy was never assassinated (because he lost to Nixon the first time like he should have) and the Native Indians happily gave up the Americas and flew off in their shiny space ships? Sure is a pleasant fiction.
Don McLeroy, the former but acting chair of the school board who spearheaded many of these “revolutionary” changes stated that these were to instill history students with a working knowledge of our nation’s origins and to tout American exceptionalism. These in and of themselves sound like pretty admirable things to have in a social studies curriculum. However, once you take a glance even a few statements beyond what Mr. McLeroy is saying, you see that this self-proclaimed “conservative religious fundamentalist” or the rest of his board does little to remove their own personal motives, biases and agenda. This is exactly the opposite of what even first-year history students are instructed. This is to be absolutely objective and balanced in uncovering and delivering the truth. What the overall conservative, republican school board has done has taken an initiative to stress major hegemonic and xenophobic goals in stressing America’s founding as a solely “Christian Nation” under “Christian morals and principles.” You can see these “ideals” echoing the numerous right wing emails that spam mailboxes everywhere dressing up racism and hate in the rhetoric of the flag and the bible while still managing to bash Latinos, Muslims, and well, you know, anyone with dark skin or a vagina. The board is also steadfast on presenting opposing viewpoints which sound like a breath of fresh air but it seems completely devoted toward the viewpoints of conservatives, confederates, racists and opponents to actual liberty and civil rights while renaming them the true patriots of America. Howard Zinn really picked a year to die because, sadly, I can only picture him spinning in his grave from this travesty of history. This is a slap in the face to our actual founding fathers' principles who believed the teaching of morals belonged in a house of living or prayer, not in a classroom. Many of our founding fathers did all they could do to warn against forced religious indoctrination as many of the empires and legacies of Europe were trapped in a world of religious driven tyrants who stated they were of the direct lineage of God and therefore to oppose their monarchical viewpoints was not only illegal but was a path to damnation. Great way to keep the superstitious rabble in line, isn’t it? Strange enough that this forced fundamentalism is actually something conservatives in this country berate Muslim nations from doing under Sharia law. Don’t tell them that because, somehow, I’m sure they would turn the argument around by calling you a terrorist. Be sure to remember, the free-market not only controls all aspects of our lives but now it needs to get extra pages in our children's history books stating it is the ultimate defining force behind what it means to truly be “American.” So now history is synonymous as a fundamentalist version of God and big-business. What a winning combination, just like an evil hate-filled mix of chocolate and peanut butter.
From my experiences reading various history textbooks coming from many different parts of the political spectrum, I always have found, at the very least, a somewhat accurate mention of nearly every major event in American history. Granted, it's almost always written with "America only was trying to help and it did all it could to not have to intervene..." Yeah right. Sure, many things would be cut out for time constraints or previous decisions of what was important or not but I have always found a pretty healthy coverage of right centered moments in our historical timelines. This includes the black conservative movement, the Moral Majority, the John Birch society, the contract with America, the wars on terror, Patriot act, Redeemer Era, Imperialist movement, Law and Order Nixon Period, Trickle-Down theory, you name it and you will see it. So why, all of a sudden, do we need to hear about these things in greater length but now with a spin that they were wonderful periods in our existence? Especially, when history teaches us, irrevocably, they were not.
Usually, this type of history is called revisionism. An example would be from some neo-confederate Civil War “experts” who have repeatedly tried to repaint the civil war as “a war of northern aggression” or a war for “the lost cause of state’s rights.” This is also echoed by people like the hack who poses as a “conservative historian,” Michael Medved whose book, The Top 10 Lies About America, is sure to point out that slavery actually wasn’t that bad and that black people would have been better off as slaves. (He also says Europeans didn’t do anything bad to the Native Americans and that workers protection and business regulation was all manufactured by communist-loving Unions) Claims such as there are usually driven by reactionary motives. But reactions from what? All this does is solidify, in my viewpoint, the tea-party ultra conservative perpetual victim complex to defend their poor wounded vision of American the beautiful and to return us to the “good old days.” Apparently the good old days when you could tie up and drag a homosexual from a car, burn black people alive, beat your wife and child and talk openly racist but be sure to go to bed early because you have church in the morning, Proper. born-again. fundamental, Protestant chruch that doesn't worry about that wussy Social Gospel or Living Wage those Pope worshipping Cathoics do. The true colors are showing more and more. Rand Paul for one showed it best when he went on record after his Republican primary victory in Kentucky by stating he didn’t agree with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And for good reason because those terrible African American religious and community leaders really should have known their places instead of mobilizing and demanding the federal government give them the ability to vote, live and work without the fear of being murdered. Remember, a little fact about Arizona, it among the last states to actually recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day because their politicians didn’t feel he did anything to merit being recognized and honored as a national icon. Go figure, preaching for peace, integration, equality, non-violence and understanding at the literal cost of your own life doesn't warrant a national holiday. They finally acknowledged the day in 1990. A little late, don’t you think? But it is Arizona so are you really that surprised? Still not as bad as Virginia and Mississippi who simultaneously honors Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J."Stonewall" Jackson or Texas who has "Treason Day"...wait, I mean, "Confederate Heroes Day" on the same day as Dr. King's holiday. Fitting to honor a civil rights icon and the political and military leaders of American sedition and defenders of oppression and enslavement.
Bringing up Arizona, I will transition into my second topic. This is another part of the already horribly racist and oppressive Arizona immigration laws entitled HR2281 signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer on May 11, which officially bans the high school course entitled “Ethnic Studies.” If anyone has any questions about Arizona’s motives regarding “Homeland Security”, “Keeping Americans safe” or whatever other Orwellian reason they may choose to employ to justify the fact that they plain just don’t like Mexicans, I hope this illuminates their true reasoning loud and clear. This is part of a systematic pattern to make the lives of Latino Arizonans so uncomfortable and to make them feel so unwelcome that they either become demoralized and take the abuse or they do what the state really wants, which is to pack their bags and leave. This is what Israel’s policy is regarding Palestinians, Britain’s on Catholic Northern Irish, Afrikaners to black South Africans, Russia to Ukrainians, etc, etc. Our country did this before by writing out or oppressing “unsavory” racial or political groups in history classes or general society before. During the Spanish American war, Spain was cast as oppressors and villains in history classes. In World War I, all aspects of German culture was wiped from textbooks and American culture even going so far as to rename frankfurters (hotdogs), sauerkraut (liberty cabbage), the banning the work of Brahms, Bach and Beethoven and, in reverse, even speaking of England (our then ally) in a negative light such as our enemy in the American Revolution could and did land teachers and writers in prison. In World War II, many things about Japan were banned and illegalized and the same followed suite in the Cold War regarding aspects of Russian culture. (Even Russian, Ukrainian and Union Halls were attacked and raided by the Justice Department and, in one case, the American Legion with loaded weapons right after World War I in 1919!)
I remember reading the immediate comments behind this story and for every rational comment, I saw about 10 stating “Duh, Go back to Mexico!” “Duh, we don’t need to know about your filthy culture!” “Duh, I’d like to see Mexico teach an American Studies course!” Well…. I don’t want to be one of those pussy, technical liberals concerned with, you know, facts…. But (A.) many Mexican Americans actually didn’t come here but lived here longer than we did (B.) How come we feel the need to learn about European History, I really don’t think it would hurt our students to learn about anything let along a culture that is infused in a great deal of our national scope and shape especially when the only way you will hear about African, Latino or Asian culture is to have a class devoted to it since “American” History barley mentions any of those topics (C.) Mexico possibly would if their government annexed a third of the U.S. and there were millions of white North Americans living there but, alas, we will never know. Just this week, 15 students were arrested for employing civil disobedience by protesting the governor’s decision to effectively whitewash the Arizona curriculum through the banning of a class which, in her words, “was a class teaching political indoctrination, radicalism, the overthrow of our government and which portrayed my [republican] party in a negative light.” Well, there’s a pretty easy way for a party that is oppressive, racist and brutal to your race to not be portrayed negatively. Can you guess what it is? It might be to NOT be oppressive, racist and brutal! Also, this class not only taught of Hispanic issues, but also dealt with Native American history as well considering Arizona has a large Native American population (the 7th largest in the nation). So, what is this law inherently doing? I may be wrong but I’m interpreting that this is telling students: if you want critical thinking (the point of history classes), you will not get it; if you want to learn about a rich and cultural heritage that out dates almost every other form of history in the world, you won’t see it; if you’re Native American or Latino, you do not matter; if you think because you are different, you are not welcome, you are right.