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COLUMN: Rewriting history

COLUMN: Rewriting history

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I cannot wait for this year to be over. Of course, the events that have made this year a disaster don’t read calendars and the challenging forces that defined 2020 won’t know when 2021 arrives. So, I’m preparing myself. What if, in fact, Donald Trump is sworn in again January 20, 2021?

He was, after all, elected before without a majority vote. And that was after insulting women, mocking a journalist with a disability, and with a shoddy past regarding hush money, philandering, collusion, failure to pay contractors, and tax fraud. Yeah, yeah, not all of that has been proven, but if you’re still falling for his denials you probably believe he was “only kidding” with his derogatory comments about John McCain.

There is no containment of Donald Trump, and that should frighten everyone. I’m not even going to weigh in on his alleged comments about soldiers being suckers and losers, or disabled veterans being the wrong image for a parade, because it won’t matter. He says anything he wants, and if it doesn’t land well he denies it. And millions of Americans seem fine with that. I’m not.

The coup de grace in four years as our duplicitous president came just two weeks ago as he threatened to pull federal funding from schools that teach a Pulitzer Prize-winning work focusing on American history from the arrival of slaves in Virginia in 1619 to the subsequent contributions of Black Americans. Conservatives derided the work for “stoking racial division, pushing leftist ideologies and rewriting history through a racial lens.”

President Trump agreed with that assessment and went a step further by directing federal agencies to cease anti-racism training that involved critical race theory. A White House memo said the training is “anti-American propaganda.”

Let’s be clear:

  • Our history has racial divisions that have continued from the beginning. Acknowledging that is not “rewriting history,” it is how we correct that course of history.
  • If uncovering the truth of racial injustices and systemic issues is a “leftist ideology” that would imply that “right-wing ideology” is the denial of such history. And that is a “racial lens.”
  • Critical race theory centers around the idea that race is a social construct of white people to further economic and political interests. How can that be denied? That is the definition of slave labor in America. Slavery was an economic engine constructed by white Americans to fuel wealth and politics.

The hypocrisy of Trump’s claim that such teaching is “un-American” should make the hair on our collective neck stand. Is it un-American to doggedly search for truth and to redress grievances? Or to debate and question our narrative in the interest of justice? To contradict those tenets would be un-American. That is if we actually believe that equality is a self-evident truth as we claimed in the Declaration of Independence.

Donald Trump as the arbiter of the American narrative is as disingenuous as drinking bleach to stop coronavirus. Let’s not poison true history, as well. And, please, let’s not bleach four more years of our future.

After all, isn’t hindsight 2020?

Gary Kroeger is a former local business owner and advertising executive in Cedar Falls.

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