Why don’t Republicans know what American values, history and culture are?

Looking back at historic events and people involved, putting it in context and attempting to evaluate those people and events with modern understanding is history. That is literally what history is and what historians do.

Statues aren’t history. The story of why those statues are there, what they meant for the people who put them there, why those people were chosen; that’s history. This is why every attempt to revive the symbols of the confederacy is an attempt to rewrite history. Taking down the statues and putting them in museums isn’t erasing history. It is history.

Insisting that you can not criticize some historical figures, reevaluate their contributions, discuss negative things about them in the light of modern understanding isn’t protecting history. It is literal political correctness and it harms our values, history and culture.

More importantly, no one taking away American values, history, and culture because those statues do not represent America. They represent Confederate culture and Confederate values. That Republicans do not understand this is both shocking and not at all surprising.

I honestly do not know what is wrong with the Republicans anymore. I keep hearing “they aren’t being taught what I was!” yeah, no shit. We know more now. Having you kids taught exactly what you were taught assumes we haven’t learned anything. Having your kids taught something new means you did your job.

Actual historians have looked over events and historical figures with new eyes and with new understanding and now we know more. When Johnny Boomer was in school in 1960, it is very likely that all of his text books were written by people who simply never questioned the idea of white christian male rule as an immutable fact of life. When I was in school it was likely that all my text books were written by people who never considered LGBT rights leading to marriage equality.

So it would be irresponsible to teach kids about the founders without discussing slavery. And it would be irresponsible to exclude the existence of the LGBT community. It would be irresponsible to ignore the work that went into documenting structural racism. We no longer teach kids to use typewriters, slide rules and manual spreadsheets using ledger paper anymore either. Times change and it would be disservice to teach kids the 1960 Johnny Boomer curriculum for the sake of Republican feelings.

Female Spies and Gender-Bending Soldiers Changed the Course of the Civil War

In this climate, women made great spies precisely because of the way 19th-century society underestimated them. During the Civil War, they “were able to take society’s ideas about the weakness of womanhood and brilliantly exploit them,” Abbott says. “Women were always supposed to be the victims of war, not the perpetrators. One of my favorite quotes in the book is from a Lincoln official, who was completely flummoxed when he said, ‘What are we going to do with these fashionable women spies?’ The idea that women are not only capable of treasonous activity, but they are also capable of executing it more deftly than men was something that had never occurred to these men.

After 150 years, America is still haunted by the ghosts of its Civil War, whose story has been romanticized for so long it’s hard to keep …

(via Female Spies and Gender-Bending Soldiers Changed the Course of the Civil War)

Something to keep in mind when reading articles about women in spec-ops units. If only we had an enemy that underestimated women to the point where women would walk around hidden in plain sight.

History Unfolding: Right-wingers, then and now

Thanks largely to last fall’s elections there are now 123 Generation Xers in the Congress. 83 of them are Republicans and 43 are Democrats. The Democrats are the party claiming to stand for the achievements of the last eighty years of American life, and they are correspondingly much older. Indeed, most of the leadership of the Democrats in Congress, including Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, and their committee chairmen in the Senate are from the Slent generation, whose youngest members will turn 69 this year. John Boehner is a Boomer, but most important lieutenants, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor, are Xers. We can’t understand them if do not keep in mind that they feel no commitment or any allegiance to anything this country did before 1980 or so. Their attitude was summed up by one of their number after a Thursday meeting with Treasure Secretary Tim Geithner: “We didn’t start this mess.”

From History Unfolding

Interesting read, adding historical context to the rise of the tea party and genX conservatives.

Clinton Sees An Early Payoff of U.S. Debt

Mr. Clinton, in an announcement from the White House, called on Republican leaders in Congress to “put politics aside and join me” in a budget proposal that would pay off dollars 3.6 trillion in debt by 2013. This, he said, would leave the United States debt-free for the first time since 1835.

“What we’re doing by taking this position,” Mr. Clinton said, “is maximizing the choices the next president and the next Congress will have.”

From Consumer Confidence Hits an All-Time High – Jobs Called ‘Plentiful’ – Clinton Sees An Early Payoff of U.S. Debt – NYTimes.com

Remember when?

Adam Winkler: MLK and His Guns

in 1956, after King’s house was bombed, King applied for a concealed carry permit in Alabama. The local police had discretion to determine who was a suitable person to carry firearms. King, a clergyman whose life was threatened daily, surely met the requirements of the law, but he was rejected nevertheless. At the time, the police used any wiggle room in the law to discriminate against African Americans.

Ironically, the concealed carry permit law in Alabama was promoted by the National Rifle Association thirty years earlier. Today, the gun rights hardliners fight to eliminate permits for concealed carry, as Arizona has done.

Eventually, King gave up any hope of armed self-defense and embraced nonviolence more completely. Others in the civil rights movement, however, embraced the gun.

One of the most indelible images of the 1960s is a photograph from Life magazine of Malcolm X looking out a window with a long M-1 carbine in his hands, the rifle pointed up to the sky. For blacks unhappy with the progress achieved by King’s marches, the gun became a symbol of the “by any means necessary” philosophy.

From Adam Winkler: MLK and His Guns

So the moral of the story seems to be; if you want popular support for gun control, get infamous black people to pose with guns.

Thomas Jefferson on Wealth Inequality

I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable, but the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. The descent of property of every kind therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers and sisters, or other relations in equal degree, is a politic measure and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions or property in geometrical progression as they rise.

From Thomas Jefferson on Wealth Inequality

Thomas Jefferson was a pinko commie socialist redistributionalist.