We have noted, without paying particular attention, that United States history isn’t much taught in American public schools. Oh, the kids are forced to learn some important names and memorize a string of dates but that is not history. What they get is rather like recounting an adventure the Amazon rain forest by reciting a list of village names and distances. We wondered why it is so.
We still don’t know that answer, but the cogitation gave rise to some curiosities: How is it that today, all Progressives are Democrats but the first Progressive American President was a Republican Theodore Roosevelt? How is it that the great friends of the American blacks are the Democrats who made and used the Ku Klux Klan to enforce legal repression and segregation in the South and not the Republicans whose President Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation that announced freedom for the slaves? Curious, no?
We hear the Republicans denigrated as the “War Party” with Iraq and Afghanistan as examples; we seldom hear of the Democrats who presided over WWI, WWII, the Korean “Police Action” and Viet Nam. Hmnn …
Then, there’s Civil Service. Government employment by competitive exam was a Progressive triumph when it went in under Republican President Chester Arthur; the preceding spoils system years had repulsed the citizens. President Theodore Roosevelt was previously a Civil Service Commissioner. But today’s Democratic Progressives have provided us scandals at the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Justice and others where government employees are alleged to have engaged in partisan politics — the opposite of the goals of Civil Service.
Another puzzlement comes with modern Israel: Democratic President Harry Truman hastened to recognize the new state in 1948, doing what he could to support its success. In 2014, Democrat President Barack Obama has been insulting the Israeli Prime Minister and holding up shipments of Israeli purchases of defense items. Israel hasn’t changed in the interim, so this isn’t clear to us.
And recalling presidents from both parties, President Truman the Democrat and President Eisenhower, a Republican, both rounded up and shipped out large numbers of Latino “wetbacks,” the then term du jour for illegal aliens. But in spite of high U.S. unemployment in 2014, current President Obama is going to great lengths to attract and hold on to as many of those same folk as he is able, even though polls show that the citizens aren’t in favor of that. How would a history teacher explain that?
After this consideration, that last question seemed to shed a bit of light on why U.S. history is so sketchy in American public schools. First, the school teachers likely don’t understand it themselves and second, would be unable to explain it if they did. Politicians after all, pay their salaries. As for us, we decided to inquire into something more understandable, like say, general relativity. U.S. history is too confusing …