A panel is advising Texas educators to omit the word “heroic” in teaching seventh graders about the men who gave their lives at the Alamo in 1836, fighting for Texas independence from Mexico.
The Dallas Morning News reports:
The recommendation, made in a report issued last month, was one of several hundred tweaks, additions and deletions offered up by the advisory group reviewing state curriculum standards for social studies. The panel said “heroic” was a “value-charged word.”
No argument–it is a value-charged word.
For more than a century and a half Texans have honored the values that impelled the defenders of the Alamo (including Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and William Travis) to die rather than surrender.
In addition to eliminating the word heroic, the advisory committed wanted the letter William Travis, commander at the Alamo wrote from the Alamo, removed from the required reading. It is known as the Travis Letter or the “Victory of Death” letter. Travis’ letter is definitely values-charged:
“I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country — victory or death,” Travis wrote in 1836.
Definitely more than a recent Spartacus moment.
Governor Greg Abbot has characterized the advice as “political correctness run amok.”
A University of Texas professor, on the other hand, complains that the term heroic for the Alamo defenders is “too simplistic” and that in the movies the story of the Alamo gets boiled down to “the Mexicans are the bad guys and the good guys are good Anglos in coonskin caps.”
In other words, racist.
Just for the record, there were heroic defenders who were of Mexican descent. The Alamo was a pivotal event in which a volunteer force played a crucial part in the history of Texas, at the cost of their lives.
So much of what we fight about now involves history, which it seems, regardless of what actually happened, must be rewritten to suit PC sensibilities.
The Alamo isn’t the only recent victim. Rod Liddle has a terrific piece in the [U.K.] Spectator about the new movie, First Man, about the Moon landing.
As you remember, the key event of the Moon Landing was planting the American flag on the Moon. Future generations might not remember this–the American flag was removed from the movie. Liddle writes:
This was because, according to one of the cretinous stars of the film, Ryan Gosling, the moon landings were not about American triumphalism, but something that was good for the whole of humanity. And so they excised the bit about the flag, including showing the astronauts saluting the flag, because it did not fit in with their political agenda and, being liberals, they think that what actually happened, i.e. history, isn’t important and if it offends them it can be rewritten or simply expunged.
Aside from anything else, this is cheating the moviegoers. My guess is that people who want to watch something about one of the US’s greatest triumphs probably possess a scintilla or two of patriotism. They may be the kind of people who would have enjoyed the film made of Tom Wolfe’s fabulous book The Right Stuff, which covered similar territory (and with a rather better cast, not least Ed Harris and Sam Shepard). Gosling and co clearly want the large audience which would be attracted by such a project, but wish to gloss over the inconvenient politics of the time and the political feelings of the audience.
In truth, the moonshot was quintessentially about American triumphalism and almost nothing else — the good of humanity was not a consideration, except insofar as more successful rocket technology at last put the US ahead of the Soviet Union, behind which repulsive country it had lagged alarmingly, well into the 1960s. It was two fingers to the Russkies and a reminder to the rest of the world that the US was the greatest country on earth. In short, as President Kennedy knew, it was the only thing which could trump Sputnik, Laika and Yuri Gagarin. It won the space race.
Remember the Alamo.
And remember the Moon Landing–with an American flag planted on the Moon.