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The State of Houghton Mifflin

February 2, 2012

Last week our President delivered, before a joint session of Congress, his State of the Union address. The annual report/speech which details the condition of the nation, usually addressed during the speech as “strong”, and the Presidents outline of the nations priorities.

I’d like to offer another such address. I call it The State of our Students Reference Books, but for those of us who remember the manufacturer of our textbooks, I call it The State of Houghton Mifflin. Not to belabor the point, “my fellow Americans the state of Houghton Mifflin is pathetic!”

Today, January 24, 2012 we are experiencing a crime of historical proportion. It began last year, as the emboldened Tea-Party pressed conservative state board of education in Texas approved massive changes to its schools textbooks. Changes designed to put slavery in “a more positive perspective.” Or to put it bluntly, whitewash history. The Tea Party is now seeking to do the same in Tennessee.

According to Slate magazines Alex Pareene, Hal Rounds, spokesmen for the group seeking the changes to the Tennessee texts stated: ” an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another,” and “The thing we need to focus on about the founders is that, given the social structure of their time, they were revolutionaries who brought liberty into a world where it hadn’t existed, to everybody — not all equally instantly — and it was their progress that we need to look at.”

Translation, we need to know that Thomas Jefferson wrote the declaration of Independence but not that he denied that freedom to the slaves he owned. 

 Unbelievable? Yes, the worst of this disgrace – No.

The group is also demanding that: “No portrayal of  the minority experience in history (which actually occurred) shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

What does that mean in actual terms boys and girls? It means that it is conceivable that future generations of this countries youth will never understand the veracity of the prejudice or cruel and vicious nature of our nations race relations. It means that confederate sympathizers will be allowed to cast the civil war as a matter of simple states rights to commerce, without the understanding that such commerce was undergurded by the persecution of a single race of people (Africans)! It means that the white racists will be allowed to cast the Klu Klux Klan as an extreme Christian sect outside of the mainstream instead of a home grown terrorist organization that murdered thousands of black people! While casting the Black Panther Party as a militant and violence prone black nationalist subversive society.

Those are not my imaginations, those are the exact wishes of the Tea-Party group now lobbying and pushing for text book changes in Tennessee.

My fellow Americans, the State of Houghton Mifflin is under-seige!

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