[KB] davidthomas1572@comcast.net has shared: Texas textbooks and the trut...

davidthomas1572@comcast.net davidthomas1572 at comcast.net
Fri Jun 4 12:45:57 EDT 2010

Thanks, Ed. Go ahead and vent. 

Taking it out of the personal, meaning how you feel personally, and how I as a self-righteous, politically correct opponent of profiling (let's take the quote marks off of the word), and also slavery, feel about it, and moving the discussion into the wider circle of interest of Burke scholars, let's consider the division created within our society by the rhetorics of both sides, and how the Texas School Board has attempted to bridge the division. 

Where do we start with the pollution-purification-scapegoating/mortification-redemption template? 

Who is identifying with them? 

To the extent that digital publishing is likely to revolutionize the production and distribution of schoolbooks, so that small states can select their own choices without reference to what Big Textbook Companies have to make available to a market formerly dominated by the Big State Textbook Buyers, the issue of what the Texas School Board is doing to history as a secondary school subject might indeed be limited only to the borders of Texas. Who knows, maybe not even the entire state of Texas. Maybe we will see the day when all individual school districts, not just the wealthiest ones, can exercise local control over all their customized textbook needs, and be able to pay for it. 

But until that day, I think it remains an issue pertinent to rhetorical scholarship, how the so-called conservatives and Libertarians of the state are using political skill to exploit the centralized state textbook buying policies, in order to impose their own goofy ideas on all high school history classes for the next ten years. How ironic is that? 

I am a native Texan, now retired and living in Florida. The majority of my professional years, and my most mature scholarly years, I worked in Richmond, Virginia. So I have a pretty good idea of what the South stood for. As a rhetorical scholar and critic, I also have a pretty good idea of what Lincoln's rhetoric was, and a century later, what MLK's rhetoric was. It's pretty much the canon to know the rhetorical influence of Lincoln and of King on the subsequent political consequences of the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement, respectively. It may be fun to speculate the "what if's" there had been a diplomatic solution to the conflict between the North and the South instead of the terrible costly Civil War, but you can't really assume other things would still be equal today, absent that war and that movement. You have to assume that the southern states would have succeeded with secession, and actually became the CSA. With slavery intact. And now, speculate, what if, in terms of the civil rights of anyone in a CSA, with slavery intact. Personally, I don't assume that slavery would have just naturally withered away over a reasonable period of time in a more enlightened economy. Hell, we have slavery in Florida today, by some of the Big Fruit Growers. Actually convicted of slavery. What if that were actually legal? 

Certainly, illegal immigrants impact Arizona more than they do Pennsylvania. I agree that something has to be done. Having some values does not mean I have to send a special offering to help the empathetic Arizona people buy water bottles to put out on the Sonora Desert to help prevent death from thirst, though I am sure that some part of my church pledge goes there. Not any more than any self-righteous, angry, proponent of racial profiling is obligated to send money to the Arizona Militia to help out with their ammo invoices. 

If language is truly symbolic action, then engaging in political debate is something we need to engage in, surely. 

If political debate relies on knowledge, as well as skill in the tools of argumentation, then it matters what some Right Wing statewide school board imposes on the school children in their states, too. 



----- Original Message ----- 
From: Edappel8 at cs.com 
To: davidthomas1572 at comcast.net, kb at purdue.edu 
Sent: Friday, June 4, 2010 11:09:07 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern 
Subject: Re: [KB] davidthomas1572 at comcast.net has shared: Texas textbooks and the trut... 

OK, David, I'll bite: 

Let Texas teach history and historical geology and biology any way it wants. Just don't let it get beyond those borders. Yell, scream, and threaten textbook publishers if they try to spread these rightwing constructions across the U.S.A. 

Based on the North's STATED justification for invading the South (and don't say that Fort Sumpter justifiably turns the tables---it doesn't), the South had a RIGHT to secede. The Constitution of the United States wasn't then, and isn't now, Holy Writ, Glenn Beck notwithstanding. That was the cause the North SAID it was pursuing: to preserve the union vouchsafed by the Constitution. If the reason was to end the outrage of slavery within U.S. borders, the North should have said so outright, and it should have invaded the South on that bais not in 1861, but rather in 1851 or 1841 or 1831. Slavery was no more an abomination in 1861 than it was a century earlier. 

And oh yes, how much longer would slavery have lasted in the South, if what was left of the U.S.A. and other nations of goodwill had blockaded and boycotted the South? With the industrial revolution marching on apace, I don't think for very long. And if the South had ended slavery more on its own terms and timetable, the vicious aftermath of lynchings and Jim Crow discrimination might have been moderated more than a trifle. 

Six hundred thousand dead and tens of thousands maimed and wounded by this terrible war: Don't forget to factor in THAT abomination, too. 

As for the Tuscon school district's teaching Mexican-Americans and Mexican illegals about the oppressions of the white Anglo power structure, it's OK with me. Viva local control!---up to a point. When that instruction makes a case that Arizona, New Mexico, and California still really BELONG to Mexico, the state of Arizone has a right to intervene. 

Whether those three states should ACTUALLY be Mexico's or America's, that's a question no one can answer definitively. We took them by force. Do they, therefore, rightfully belong to us? Does the Holy Land, including the area around Jerusalem the Israeli's are encroaching and building on belong to the Jews, who had it wrested from them by the Romans 2,000 years ago? Or to the Arabs/Muslims, who more or less controlled those terriftories for 1,300 years, prior to 1948. You tell me. 

And while I'm venting, put me down on the side of Arizona's Governor Brewer and the redneck majority (in Arizona and in the U.S.A.) who are fed up with having to provide social services for half a million Mexicans who have crossed into their state illegally, "line-jumpers," as it were. If you're one of the self-righteous, politically-correct opponents of "profiling" in that state or any other, your "goodwill" counts with me ONLY if you have sent money to that state to defray their 1 1/2 billion-dollar outlay to pay for these services. Your words mean nothing to me. Only your deeds. 

Someday I'll tell you how I really fell. 


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