What Today’s Students are Learning About the Vietnam Era
THIRTY YEARS IN THIRTY PAGES
There has to be an enormous amount of care taken when compiling and editing any historical work. If the objective is to present history in the most accurate, factual light, there has to be a weigh in of sorts between the historian’s world view and the relevant facts uncovered in the research. An editor must be able to overcome his own biases when exposed to facts that contradict his beliefs. Exposure to a fresh history, like a first impression, imprints a powerful residue on the psyche of the reader. A fresh history, or the first exposure to an event or era, usually takes place in school. So it is not so much the history per se to which a student is first exposed, but the attitude of the editor presenting that history.
In recent years school books across the country have come under scrutiny for blatant bias. These are easy to expose because they are so blatant. Traditional American values, our Judeo-Christian origins and American exceptionalism are disappearing in textbooks at an alarming rate. In that newly available space themes more hostile to our unique heritage are inserted. This comes in concert with the successful effort to remove from the schools and vilify our traditions, prayer and virtue.
Generally speaking, we can trace the current climate to the 60s. Since the introduction of Marxism in the 19th Century, the philosophy had mainly been promoted by elitist intellectuals; those who know better how a peasant should live than the peasant himself.
By the 60s our post WWII prosperity had deprived us of peasants. It had also filled our universities with the beneficiaries of our capitalist prosperity. It was in these universities that Marxism established a serious base among those suffering from prosperity guilt; those who wished to assist the less fortunate with gifts of other people’s wealth. The vehicle that drove Marxism to its stealth position of esteem today was the Vietnam conflict.
It is an editor’s prerogative to choose what stays and what goes in presenting a comprehensive history in a confined space. Very often it is what is not in the history that exposes an editor’s bias and distorts history. Brevard County High School students are getting their Vietnam era history from The Americans: Reconstruction to the 21st Century. This textbook is published by The Holt McDougal Publishing Company; copyright 2005. It will be teaching students until 2012 when a review of textbooks is scheduled.
In The Americans the editors cram 30 plus years of Vietnamese history into 30 pages. Chapter 22 is devoted to the Vietnam War in conjunction with the turbulent 60s.
A good historian need not experience the history he’s presenting but regardless, it should be well researched. Generally, the presentation is accurate in what this textbook chooses to present. But it is far from an accurate history. In this one, an entire theme is missing. The silence on this theme is a lie of omission so blatant that it corrupts the entire history and ignores a large part of the legacy of that era.
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