Friday, April 2, 2010

Ladies and gentlemen, 1984

Posted By on Fri, Apr 2, 2010 at 1:49 PM

The great Mr. Orwell
  • The great Mr. Orwell
I remember reading George Orwell's 1984 during the Bush era, and getting the shivers.

The whole "you're with us or against us," the constant drumming up of fear, and the overly-simplified worldview I was witnessing day-to-day all fit well with Orwell's book.

This was during the time period when the news had stopped talking about fighting the Taliban and started just telling us that we were fighting "bad guys." A time when french fries magically became "freedom fries" because we hated the French (the same French who helped us win the Revolutionary War and become a country; the same French who gave us the Statue of Liberty). Why did we hate the French? Because they dared to disagree with us. Which, of course, meant they were "unAmerican" and probably deserved to be bombed.

But I digress.

As many of you have heard by now, the Texas school board is rewriting curriculum guidelines to reflect more conservative sensibilities. They're rewriting history. Let me repeat that: They're rewriting history.

Those of you who have read 1984, does this sound familiar?

I just got done reading an excellent McClatchy article on the subject that I highly recommend to the rest of you.

But listen, before we all drop off the edge of extremism in this country, let's keep one thing in mind: History — real history — is clear that both conservatives and liberals have done great things for this country. There have been real American heroes on both sides of the aisle. And America has a lot to lose if we decide to erase half those heroes from our history books just because their successes don't fit neatly with our political ideologies.

Here's the article.

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