From Whose Perspective will You Follow:
Thugs, Criminals and Slave Owners Serving as Selective American Examples
By Solomon Comissiong
Like most US holidays, many American “heroes”, are manufactured based on a significantly flawed and biased “value” system. Individuals like Andrew Jackson, George Washington, Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan, are routinely propped up throughout public school systems as well as the corporate media as if they should be canonized. Despite doing everything from holding human-beings against their will as slaves to inflicting mass carnage on Native Americans to waging illegal wars on people throughout Central America—the likes of these individuals are hailed as models for American children to socially and politically shadow. Perhaps this is why so many Americans directly, or indirectly, support their country’s longstanding pernicious foreign policy. A great many Americans have been willing participants in their own social demise. This, in large part, has not entirely been their conscious fault—for they have been trained how to think just as Ivan Pavlov’s dogs were. Many American’s social “value” systems have been engineered for them just as widgets are within an enormous industrial warehouse—one size fits all. However, in this case inanimate objects are not being created; minds are being shaped. The American psyche has been bombarded with a pre-selected and limited array of revisionist history, among many other mentally deleterious things. Nestled within that “history” is a tainted list of historical figures that are commonly hailed as champions for “democracy”, “freedom”, and “justice’. The actions of many of these people are reprehensible by any morally sound standard. Depending on whose perspective you follow their actions certainly are not to be seen as humane, democratic, or justice oriented.
When the likes of Ronald Reagan are commonly extolled as national heroes and even “great communicators” the precedent is implicitly being set to champion much of his actions, both foreign and domestic. The current US president, Barack Obama, has even routinely praised Reagan for his own political gain. However, the mere mention of Ronald Reagan’s name is enough to make any socially conscious person cringe. Reagan was a man who referred to black women as welfare queens, black men as “bucks”, waged a bloody illegal war on the people of Central America, and supported the South African apartheid regime. These were among a few of the reprehensible things he did during his political career. In light of all this he is habitually praised affectionately by media pundits throughout the corporate ranks, regardless of network affiliation. If one were from another planet (or simply a programmed American) you might think he was some sort of deity. Reagan’s social record is far from deserving any merit or commendation. However within the US Reagan and his ilk are regularly touted glowingly, perhaps because America has very little social conscious. This ensures that the next generation of political “leaders” will use some (or many) of Reagan’s policies within their own work. Humanity beware. Unfortunately examples like Ronald Reagan are NOT far and few between the annals of US propagandistic history. These foes of humanity are everywhere; meanwhile others more deserving of praise are systematically suppressed.
Ultra-repressive US states a la Arizona and Texas are now doing in the open what has been done traditionally within America’s classrooms for generations. This, naturally, has been beneficial to the government’s effective propaganda machine. So long as US government sanctioned public school classrooms promote historical figures whose ideals were white supremacist or imperialistic, in nature, they can feel much more confident about sustaining their repressive grip for generations to come. Equally, if these same classrooms continue their planned omission of historical figures whose ideals were centered on socially progressive values; they substantially decrease the odds of any forward thinking change agents from making their way into society. This, in turn, ensures that the status quo—in regards to social policies, remains virtually in tact, no matter how regressive they may be. After all, most Americans have no idea how regressive their government’s social policies can be. When the people have no point of reference, socially or historically, it can be a recipe for disaster for those same citizens.
Most Americans, in general, have a limited point of reference when it comes to everything from history, geography and geopolitics. However, this is far from accident—it is as planned as America’s ongoing imperialist wars. The more limited an understanding Americans have on issues like institutional racism, democracy, war, and even health care; the easier it remains to keep them in the dark with regards to things that are undoubtedly in their best interest. This is why in 2010 the world watched in amazement as scores of so-called middle class Americans argued or remained apathetic about something that was in their best interest to have—true universal single-payer health care. While other nations such as Norway, Venezuela, and Canada (only to name a few) enjoy the human right of having quality universal health care; tens of millions of Americans needlessly suffer. And beyond that, over 40,000 Americans die each year because of a lack of health insurance, as it also remains the number one reason Americans fall into bankruptcy. A great many Americans, due to the tiny ‘box’ they have been placed within, have no idea what they are allowing their government to rob them of, humanity.
The governmentally manufactured world created for them has many Americans believing that their country and its heroes are paragons for life, liberty and justice. This “Bizarro World” that far too many US citizens blissfully reside within faithfully keeps them obsequious to their political and corporate masters. However, in reality, Justice, Democracy, and Liberty are seldom found in the lives of America’s most poor and disenfranchised. The illusion of democracy pacifies the masses. Embracing the duplicitous records of many of the historical figures that have been fed to Americans since grade school, unfortunately, ensures that America’s domestic and foreign policies will continue to be supported by those who have to power to change them—the people. Instead of celebrating true humanitarian change agents, whether they may be American or not, they mindlessly champion war mongers, mass murderers and deniers of freedom.
Nat Turner, John Brown, Demark Vesey and Harriet Tubman are but a few of the individuals born within the illegally confiscated boundaries of the US that should be nationally celebrated. They literally gave their lives to resist one of the most oppressive systems known to man—chattel slavery. This is the same system that significantly built up America’s current oppressive economic arrangement—-capitalism. Converse to the aforementioned champions for freedom; American children are routinely fed a steady diet of individuals who were selective deniers of freedom. In essence they were champions of illegal incarceration, white supremacy and repression. They include the likes of George Washington (owner of over 300 African slaves), Woodrow Wilson (rabid racist and repressor of Haitians), and Andrew Jackson (slave owner and Native American murderer). For their destructive and inhumane deeds they have been rewarded with everything from having their images placed on currency to having bridges named after them. Without a mass progressively focused educational intervention far too many American children will continue to embrace the ideals and selective values of historical figures that routinely used their power to suppress the freedom of scores of people. Thus many of us who are in-tune with our collective consciousnesses must boldly ask ourselves the question, “From whose perspective will we follow?” Will we demand a more humane and socially conscious education for our children regarding history and social studies, or will we go the way of the coward—thus ensuring that injustice will be passed down to younger generations? We can no longer afford to selectively choose to extol historical figures that were repressive then profess that we are champions of freedom, justice, and equality for all. Those we praise with holidays, naming of streets, and buildings should, at the very least, have been uniform champions of those virtues. After all, can one truly be a defender of civil liberties and human rights when they owned people as property or waged bloody wars for imperialist purposes? We must turn the page towards justice and equality for all. Building this type of progressive culture begins with extolling those who actually upheld those admirable values. The perspective of the human rights champions must be followed, anything less is socially unacceptable.
Solomon Comissiong is an educator, community activist, author, public speaker and the host of the Your World News media collective (www.blogtalkradio.com/Your-World-News) and www.yourworldnews.blip.tv.