The controversy over changes to Social Studies textbooks in Texas is, as everyone knows, based on an ideological war that has been waging, sometimes public and sometimes behind the scenes, for many decades. The war is not being fought just in Texas. School boards, water districts, county and municipal bodies of various ilk and make-up have been infiltrated by, in most cases, well-healed right-wing ideologues dedicated to a grassroots campaign of disinformation and subversion in order to drag the country even further to the right.
Understanding this will help you understand that which defies understanding, the current Texas Text-Book Massacre. Why, you wonder would the right-wingers make such a big thing out of calling the United States a Democracy and insist that it be termed a Republic. Is it because Democracy sounds too much like "Democrat"? Well maybe, partly, after all the people involved in this really are that petty and narrow-minded. But, here, I think is the real reason: a Republic is nothing at all like a Democracy. In a democracy, the majority rules and minority and individual "rights" are subjected to the law of the majority. Tie that to the right wing's perpetual persecution complex and ongoing sense of victim-hood and you have a clearer idea of what is behind that specific issue. The right believes that in this imagined, idealized Republic that they believe the founders actually had in mind for us, that if someone wanted to own slaves, it would be a matter of individual choice and the majority could not impose an anti-slavery rule on those who wished to be slaveholders.
Never-mind that the dumb-asses have completely forgotten that we fought a war over that very notion and closed the book--we thought--on such arrant nonsense! What they failed to accomplish wearing butternut while under the Stars and Bars, they hope to achieve by ideological indoctrination.
Let's not get lost in that illustration, I am not asserting that the owning of slaves is the desired outcome, but use the illustration to demonstrate the practical difference between a Democracy and a Republic. The bottom line is one of state's rights, individualism and anti-Federalism.
The forces for sanity have won a couple of skirmishes and firefights in the war by forcing inclusion of the accomplishments of Barbara Jordan and Caesar Chavez which were to be deleted in the next printing. Again, an example of just how narrow and petty are these people.
And, allow a quick digression: The fact that we are talking about these ideological issues rather than the educational needs and standings of today's Texas students is a victory for the right-wingers. Their goal is ideological indoctrination, not education! They would like for you believe that their mealy-mouthed posturings mean otherwise, but the simple truth remains...it is about right-wing ideology and the radical agenda of the religious right and its fellow travelers in the uber-conservative Tea Party spectacle!
Were it not so pitifully appalling and disgustingly and ridiculously tragic, the whole thing would be laughable. If you ever attend one of the spectacles of mass hallucination of the cultural right and religious fundamentalists you would be treated to a display of at least one speaker channeling "The Founders" and their intent that "Ah-meer-ah-cuh" be a "Christian Republic". Wait a minute here Fox, you say, ain't they picking on ole Thomas Jefferson , and ain't he one of them there founders? you ask. Yep! sez I, and herein is the morbid humor of the self-contradictory madness of these people. You see, while a founder, Thomas Jefferson had the heart and soul of a "Free-Thinker" who was splendidly ardent in his belief in a "wall of separation" between chruch and state, and while an anti-Federalist, he had the good common sense to utter these words, "The fundamental principle of [a common government of associated States] is that the will of the majority is to prevail." --Thomas Jefferson to William Eustis, 1809.
Hardly a man around whom to build your case for a "Republic" based on Christian principles, is it? So, they say, "let's eliminate his poisonous beliefs from our textbooks". Seems, that, as in some recent elections where conservatives were not conservative enough, Thomas Jefferson was not quite the Christian Republican he should have been.
Again, it is important that we understand several things at this point; these people are not acting on whim--there is a agenda and a greater purpose to their efforts, it is about ideology and has virtually nothing at all to do with education itself, and these people are not a group of like-minded concerned parents out to correct a wrong--they are part and parcel of the radical religious right and its fellow travelers from the ranks of those seen at Tea-Party spectacles.
Tomorrow: We name some names, expose the viciously narrow background of several of the major players, and introduce those standing strong and holding hope for the future.