History isn’t what it used to be.
Last week, the Texas Board of Education worked on rewriting standards on what should be in grade, middle and high school text books. This will affect education all over the United States. Texas is a huge buyer of textbooks. Publishers find it easier just to mass produce for everybody what Texas wants.
The Texas board is really conservative, and a lot of them aren’t actually in the education field. An influential member of the board is a dentist, which of course qualifies him to be one of the nation’s foremost experts on history education. His theme song is probably It’s a Wonderful World. (“Don’t know nothing about history….”)
Some of the changes are a bit, uh, striking. Thomas Jefferson isn’t all that important in these guidelines. The conservative movement of the 1980s was momentous. Ok, it was sort of important, but somehow a glowing portrait of Phyllis Schlafly in a textbook seems a bit much.
The new standards also portray C0nfederate general Stonewall Jackson as a role model for effective leadership.
Uh, maybe I’m mistaken, but didn’t the Confederates lose the Civil War? It was a long time ago, so my memory might be hazy.
The rewrite would also note the civil rights movement created “unrealistic expectations of equal outcomes” for minorities. Yeah, we wouldn’t want African Americans or any other minority group to have equal protection under the law or anything like that.
I got to thinking, if conservatives can just kind of make up things to put into history books, or at least alter things a little bit, so can I. I’m qualified because I got straight A’s in history during high school and college. Never mind that I haven’t touched a history textbook in 20 years. I’m also narcisstic enough to think that current textbooks don’t come close to talking about how I, Matt Sutkoski, have changed the course of this nation’s history.
I was born about a month before the Cuban Missile Crisis. The world didn’t end, and the problem was resolved peacefully because everybody knew what a precious little thing I was at one month old. Khrushchev and Kennedy would have hated to ruin that.
Lyndon Johnson was so influential in improving civil rights and pushing the Great Society because he realized I was such a fair playmate at that time, when I was a young boy, always sharing my toys and saying please and thank you. If I could do it, the rest of the nation could, he figured.
Nixon resigned in 1974. He’d said “I am not a crook.” I said, “You are, too!” He realized I was right and slinked away.
Reagan survived that assasination attempt in 1981 because I willed that bullet to miss his heart, I swear. Yeah, some people might be mad at me because they disagree with Reagan’s philosophy, but I don’t think people should die for politics.
The Berlin Wall came down in 1989 because being of Polish heritage, I thought it was wrong that Poles should lack basic freedoms. So Russia decided to do away with the whole Eastern Bloc thing.
I haven’t been perfect. I confess I lacked the wherewithal to stop all wars, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, the Tea Party Movement and Snooki from “The Jersey Shore.”
I’ll have to accept that the history textbooks will not have a uniformly rosy picture of how I changed America. But that’s the burden of history.
So whaddaya say, Texas Board of Education? Don’t I deserve at least a few mentions in history textbooks?
I’m even willing to share the stage with Phyllis Schlafly.