Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Jan 24, 2012
The late comedian George Carlin used to say America was built on a double standard: “This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free.”
We wonder how his joke would have sat with members of Tennessee’s tea party, which just presented state legislators with five priorities for action, including amending state laws governing school curriculums to change textbook selection so that “no portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers,” the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.
Hal Rounds, an attorney and a spokesman for the group, said the goal is to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another,” according to the Commercial Appeal.
Though they acknowledge that the Founding Fathers were human, evidently the Tenn. Tea Party doesn’t think kids in school should hear about those ‘little’ events that “actually occurred”. Sort of like the imaginary religionists that David Barton, pseudo-historian, claims the Founding Fathers to have been.
What the group is asking is not unprecedented. In 2010, the Texas State Board of Education adopted controversial textbook standards that stress the Christian influence of the nation’s founding fathers and give more weight to conservative groups and personalities throughout history.
Those moves have been criticized as a departure from generally accepted historical teachings and a threat to the apolitical nature of academic standards.
It is no surprise that so many on the right advocate for policies that have failed time and time again – for them, history is something to be manipulated for political gain, not a set of facts to be studies and learned.