On Changing History and The Time Continuum

>> Friday, March 19, 2010

This is a little belated piece on daylight savings time and the Texas textbook incident.

As Rachel Maddow explained, daylight savings time really doesn't have any benefits, especially in this day and age. Maybe it was once upon a time helpful to farmers or help save energy somehow, but how many of us are farmers? Everything can be digitalized and computerized so energy can be controlled. As nice as still seeing sunlight after work sounds, businesses can change their opening hours. A lot of restaurants and other businesses do have different hours in summer, there is NO need to change the record of time continuum in order to facilitate things. It is especially confusing when people propose to advance or postpone changing the time for an X amount of weeks.

One year, I was traveling in the suburbs for a meeting and since I was quite a hermit that doesn't watch the news and go to church, I somehow missed that it was daylight savings time and was shocked when I found out I have missed my train and horrified when I got their an hour late. I do think it does more harm than good.

Perspective is a funny. Different people have different interpretation on how history happened. A few years ago, there was a controversy on Japanese scholars changing their history textbooks to downplay Japan's role in World War II. Nobody like to play villain I'm sure, but what happened happened, you can either treat it like the elephant in the room or just embrace and learn from it.

The situation in this country is a bit crazy. Instead of having a country with two political parties, the two parties are at such odds that they feel the need to infiltrate a school board, lobby the hell out of it and attempts to change what history is for the future generations.

Here's just a few of the textbook changes approved by the Texas State Board of Education.

-The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum's world history standards on Enlightenment thinking, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”

-"Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state." “I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate. “I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”

-The Board refused to require that “students learn that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others.”

-McCarthyism will be taught as an example of how communism was rooted out of the federal government.

-Students will learn about the "patriot movement" of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.

-"Board members also rejected requiring history teachers and textbooks to provide coverage on the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy and new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, while the late President Ronald Reagan was elevated to more prominent coverage."

So every influential organization will have to beware of these people making their way in and changing things to their likings? I wonder what is the qualifications to become the member of these board of educations.
"Board member Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, objected to a standard for a high school sociology course that addressed the difference between sex and gender. It was eliminated in a 9-to-6 vote. She worried that a discussion of that issue would lead students into the world of 'transvestites, transsexuals and who knows what else.'

"Members voted to polish up references to the American 'free enterprise' economic system and removed most mentions of 'capitalism,' a word that board member Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, said has a negative connotation."

It's almost democracy in its fullest, if you can get your friends together, you can get into the board of education to change whatever you see fits too. Should we be afraid of Scientologists pulling the same schtick and demands the teaching on Xenu in textbooks? How could the State board of education has the power to do such a thing and why the US department of education not stepping in? Aren't we doing "the children" serious disservice but subjecting them in such nonsense?

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