American History

Donald Trump, Fox News Channel, The Evangelical Right, And The “Caravan”

For nearly three years, since Donald Trump announced his Presidential candidacy on June 16, 2015, he has, every day, demeaned himself by his utterances and actions, more every day.

So has Fox News Channel, becoming a propaganda machine for Donald Trump.

And so has the Evangelical Right, which has demonstrated how much they can distort and manipulate the true teachings of Jesus Christ.

Hypocrisy and corruption and a mean spirit has dominated, but now, hard to believe, these three forces have joined together to lower themselves to an even more disgraceful level.

They have promoted the myth of a “caravan” of about 1200 people who are migrating through Mexico, and it is alleged, are about to “invade” the United States with their evil intent, consisting of intentions of rape, murder, and terrorism.

Who makes up this caravan, in reality?

Large number of young children, their mothers, many elderly people make up the bulk of the group, and they are poor and deprived, escaping violence, bloodshed, and fear for their own safety, wanting a better life!

This is often, historically, the reality of immigrants throughout American history, and also, world history, people who are striving for opportunity, a new life, and to avoid death.

How could ANYONE be against such people, who have done nothing wrong, except to be born and living in nations that are death traps for so many, with so much human suffering, that they wish to find “a promised land”?

This is the story of the Jewish people escaping Egypt; the story of Irish and Italians and Jews and Polish and other parts of Europe escaping to America; of Muslims escaping bloodshed and persecution in the Middle East and Africa in coming to Europe in recent years; of people in Central America migrating northward; and of the constant quest for freedom and opportunity and a chance to live, throughout the history of the world!

This is the “American Dream”, how the ancestors of Donald Trump came to our shores; how the ancestors of Joseph P. Kennedy came to our shores; how the ancestors of all of us came to our shores! America is the nation of all nations!

But now we have a President, a news channel, and a religious group who are rejecting the basic tenets of organized religion, and particularly of Christianity, totally rejecting common decency, common humanity, common compassion, for those who are poor, deprived, and facing persecution and death!

The so called Pro Life movement is a farce, and Fox News has no morals or ethics, and Donald Trump is a disgrace to the Presidency and to human behavior, willing to lie and distort for his own advancement. He has no concern for the American people, and has shown he has no consideration about the damage he is doing daily.

It cannot be too soon to see this cancer excised from the Oval Office!

Donald Trump’s Attack On Truth, Facts, Knowledge Leads To An Alternative History And Science, Detrimental To America And Its Future!

Donald Trump has mounted an attack on truth, facts, knowledge, and in so doing, it has led to an alternative history and science, detrimental to America and its future.

His ignorance on both history and science undermines the future of American education, as we see distortion of both areas of knowledge being advocated as reality, when it is just the opposite. The fact that Betsy DeVos is Secretary of Education only undermines true education in history and science, as well as in other areas of the curriculum.

We also see a large number of Trump supporters in the Republican Party and the conservative movement attacking the nature of, and need for, higher education.

This is all part of a plan to promote ignorance, propaganda, and disdain for educated people, and that kind of trend endangers the long term future of the nation, as other countries surpass us in the competition for educated people to deal with the future of the world economy.

The attack on how American history is taught is an alarm bell, reviving the old focus on only white male accomplishments in government and the economy. We have been enriched by teaching and analyzing about the role of minorities, women, and working people in our American history curriculum, on both the public school and college and university level.

The attack on science promotes Christian doctrine, and denies evolution, climate science, environmental protection as important, instead promoting preposterous theories on the age of the earth, and the concept that there is no need to protect the earth and its natural wonders for the long term future, only focusing on profit and capitalism for the present, and ignoring the long term implications. The fact that Ryan Zinke is our Secretary of the Interior, and Scott Pruitt is the head of the Environmental Protection Agency is tragic in so many dimensions.

The struggle to fight the Donald Trump emphasis on alternative truth, which are simply lies, must be continued, no matter how arduous the battle!

Nikki Haley, Paul Thurmond, Jenny Horne: Signs Of The New South Carolina And Profiles In Courage!

South Carolina has finally done the right thing, vote to take down the Confederate flag placed on the state capital in Columbia in 1961, in defiance of the civil rights movement, and in favor of enforcing segregation.

Governor Nikki Haley, State Senator Paul Thurmond, and State House member Jenny Horne deserve special praise, showing courage and principle in moving to change South Carolina history in the wake of the Charleston Massacre in mid June.

The fact that all three are Republicans in a Republican run state government is testimony that after decades of GOP rule, where the old Southern Democratic prejudices were not changed just by party affiliation change, that finally South Carolina is coming out of the 19th century.

Nikki Haley is an Indian American, her parents born in India; Paul Thurmond is the son of segregationist Senator and Governor and States Rights Party (1948) Presidential candidate Strom Thurmond; and Jenny Horne is a direct descendant of Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis.

These are a new generation, working to overcome the nightmare images of John C. Calhoun, Ben “Pitchfork” Tillman, and Strom Thurmond, who promoted slavery, racism and lynching, and racial segregation.

But part of this “new” South Carolina will be to bring social and economic conditions in the state into modern times, including the establishment of a minimum wage law statewide, and advancement of a modern educational system that teaches the truth of American history, and teaches evolution and climate change. Additionally, a health care system that helps white and black poor is essential!

Until South Carolina brings about these changes, it is still a long way from being a modern state on the level of states in the Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific Coast!

Texas Textbook Standards Destroying The Truth Of American History, As Well As Science!

The state of Texas, with the largest number of students, and therefore, having a massive effect on publication of textbooks and establishment of curriculum across the nation, has now destroyed the truth of American history, complaining a “liberal bias”, which is just, unfortunately, telling the truth about the American past.

So now the new standards do not mention slavery as the major cause of the Civil War, but rather states rights and different economic systems.

They also downgrade the importance and details of the civil rights movement on American history.

They avoid mentioning about “Jim Crow” segregation laws and the Ku Klux Klan.

They bring Jesus Christ into the curriculum, as if he was an American!

These and other faults come on top of the changes in the Science curriculum, promoting creationism, rather than evolution.

Texas is promoting ignorance and propaganda in place of History and Science, and this will dumb down the nation’s children if it is not stopped dead in its tracks.

So the historical and scientific community, and the professional associations MUST fight tooth and nail, and stop this assault on teaching the truth about the American past, as well as promoting basic scientific knowledge!

Decline Of Religiosity In America A Sign Of The Future In America

In the past few decades, we have seen the deleterious influence of the Christian Right in America, promoted in the 1970s and 1980s and beyond by the likes of the late Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

They and other preachers have utilized their influence to attempt to dominate American politics, and promote a right wing agenda that promotes intolerance and hate.

This includes opposition to women’s rights to control their own bodies (misogyny); opposition to gay rights and gay marriage; the repudiation of science for the teachings of the Bible; the rewriting of American history to make it seem that the Founding Fathers wanted a national religion and a theocracy to govern us; advocacy of war overseas against Islamic civilization; promotion of nativism on the issue of immigration; belief that school prayer will somehow change America in their direction; and attempts to legislate morality limits through control of government.

Originally known as the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition, many of these preachers have become super rich and gained the following of millions who have stopped using their brains, and just accept the unethical, hypocritical utterances of charismatic figures.

Despite this, there is now evidence that more Americans, particularly the young and disaffected, have abandoned organized religion and its narrow minded tenets. The Pew Research Center describes this group as the “Nones”, and they are 22.8 percent of US adults, up from 16.7 percent in 2007. Meanwhile, those who identify as Christian have declined nationally from 78 to 71 percent, including not only evangelicals but also Catholics and mainline Protestants and Mormons. There has also been growing disillusionment with the Catholic Church, mainline Protestant sects, and the Mormon Church.

The “Nones” outnumber Catholics (20.8 percent) and mainline Protestants (14.7 percent), demonstrating a constant decline in adults who identify as being Christians. “Nones” include those who have no religious affiliation, as well as those who say they are Atheists and Agnostics.

Evangelical Protestants still are the largest group at 25.8 percent, but they have declined, and it is clear that the “Nones” will eventually surpass them in the adult population of America over the next couple of decades, as many of the Evangelicals are older and will die off over time, as young Americans reject their divisive ideology!

Texas Republicans Go Far Right Tea Party Extreme! But Wendy Davis And Castro Brothers Make For Democratic Future!

Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick are the most right wing candidates in the country in many respects, as the GOP nominees for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of the Lone Star State, Texas! They make outgoing Governor Rick Perry and Senator John Cornyn look moderate, which they, most certainly, are NOT! Abbott and Patrick are more in the tradition of Senator Ted Cruz, and with many loony Tea Party type Congressmen in Texas, it bodes ill for the future of Latinos, African Americans, women, labor, and environmentalists in the state of Texas!

Denial of health care to millions, and promotion of creationism and denial of global warming, and shaping their own distorted view of American history is also part of the cancer of the right wing tilt going on in Texas in the Republican Party!

But the Democrats are not giving up on the possibility of their Gubernatorial nominee, Wendy Davis, being triumphant this fall, and already, there is discussion of Congressman Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, challenging Senator Ted Cruz for his Senate seat in 2018.

At the same time, a campaign for his identical twin brother, outgoing San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, newly selected to be Housing and Urban Development Secretary for President Obama, to be a possible Vice Presidential running mate in the 2016 Presidential election is being seriously discussed.

It could be that the Castro twins could be the redemption of a state rapidly moving toward a likely “Blue” or Democratic status by 2020, with the chance it could happen with a possible Wendy Davis victory in 2014, followed by Julian Castro being on the team of any Democratic Presidential nominee, not just Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, in 2016!

The Triumph Of Science Over Ignorance In Texas

Great news that the Texas State Board of Education has voted to approve science textbooks based on established science for the next decade, a massive victory over the forces of ignorance which attempted to promote religion in place of science in the curriculum, and wanted to deny the facts of evolution and global warming and climate change.

Since Texas has such a large student population, the decisions of the state board have a great effect not only on the Lone Star State, but also on the textbook materials used across the nation, as publishers shape their editorial plans on what Texas does.

But now the influence of the religious Right is still threatened over the teaching of Social Studies, including the study of American history and world history.

David Barton and his right wing forces, which claim to be historians when they are not any such thing, wish to cut down attention paid to ethnic minorities, women, labor, and the study of great reforms and reformers throughout history, and to promote the concept that religion was advocated as part of government by the Founding Fathers, when that is a total myth!

And also, they wish to promote the idea that we are a greater nation than any in the world, taking away attention from world civilizations, as if we magically became the nation we are, despite the fact that we have been influenced by cultures and influences from around the world.

So the battle for knowledge over ignorance and prejudice has won in the battle for science, but now must continue the good fight for the the legitimacy of history in the curriculum and the textbooks!

Five Year Anniversary Of “The Progressive Professor”, And 4,000th Posting!

Today marks exactly five years since the inception of “The Progressive Professor” blog by this author!

It has been a wonderful, fascinating, and fun time expressing my views, opinions, and analyses of the political events of the years since the nomination and election of President Barack Obama as our 44th President.

It has been also an opportunity for this author to discuss and evaluate American historical events and personalities, including a detailed analysis of the Presidency and Vice Presidency, our Presidential elections, and of our Congress and Supreme Court, relating past historical events to our present times.

Along the way, it has been a pleasure to have debate and commentary with many readers, including some who are my “supporters”, and some who have been my ‘rivals” in my views and interpretations of the controversies which have been the subject of discussion on this blog.

And perfect timing, as it turns out on this 5th anniversary of “The Progressive Professor”, this posting is my entry number 4,000, a great accomplishment, considering my other professional responsibilities, as I continue, even in “retirement”, as an Adjunct Professor of History and Political Science at Florida Atlantic University, fortunate to have the opportunity to teach advanced courses on American Political History, American Diplomatic History, FDR and the New Deal Era, America in the 1960s, America Since 1945, The American Presidency, and other courses.

My intention is to continue this blog, writing on it nearly every day, and to continue teaching for many more years, as well as traveling this great country, and particularly, its Presidential sites, which included this summer a total of three visits, to the Museums and Libraries of Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as to the Congressional Visitor Center at the US Capitol and the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.

To this author and blogger, American History and Politics is his passion, and I look forward to many more years of contributing to the profession, and to imparting my views and interpretations to readers, and opening up the eyes and minds of students to the wonderful world of American history, government and politics!

Conservatives Call Barack Obama First Racist President: Look In The Mirror And At History, Right Wingers!

What a preposterous statement by many people in the Right Wing of the Republican Party and the conservative movement, to call Barack Obama our first “racist” President, because of his detailed, courageous, principled statement about race yesterday before White House reporters!

What Obama said about young black men growing up in America is absolutely true, and despicable, and Obama made it clear that he had, personally, experienced the same racism, and all that talk show hosts can do is throw the appellation “racist” at the President, rather than admit the history of the country, and the reality of the profiling of blacks in 2013, along with Hispanics and Latinos as well!

And the Right Wing chooses to ignore history, probably affected by fake historian David Barton, who promotes a sanitized view of American history, and has had a dramatic effect on textbook companies, pressuring them to write myths, rather than facts, about American history!

The facts are as follows:

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, and Zachary Taylor all owned and exploited slaves, and some of them had children with their slaves, what could be called rape situations!

Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren forcibly removed Native Americans, the infamous “Trail of Tears”, while in office; and William Henry Harrison, Andrew Jackson, and Zachary Taylor all gained their original fame by killing Native Americans, and bragging about it!

Andrew Johnson was probably the most outspoken racist President, and made it clear in working against the Freedmen’s Bureau continuation after the Civil War!

Ulysses S. Grant warred against Native Americans during his Presidency in a massive campaign to take away their lands!

Republican Presidents after Grant ignored violations of civil rights by Southerners, beginning with the fixed election of Rutherford B. Hayes on a promise to end military occupation of the South and let Democrats take care of their own states, and promoting racial segregation, Jim Crow laws!

Woodrow Wilson demonstrated strong racist tendencies and views during his administration, catering to the Southern Democratic heritage of his boyhood!

Many Presidents in their writings displayed racist thoughts, and some did so in speech at times, including Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan (who talked about welfare queens).

Only since Truman has it been fashionable to be FOR civil rights, but even then, Nixon and Ronald Reagan worked against civil rights any opportunity they were given!

So we have at least 18 Presidents who were racists, or displayed racist tendencies, toward African Americans and Native Americans in different forms!

So the concept that Barack Obama is a racist for speaking up on injustices toward people of his heritage is outrageous, ridiculous, and preposterous to the extreme!

Do you hear that?—Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter and the rest of their ilk?

C Span Founder Brian Lamb Steps Down As Chief Executive Officer: His Great Accomplishments!

Anyone who is interested in American history, politics, and government cannot imagine living without C Span, the cable company founded in 1978 by Brian Lamb, who was its Chief Executive Officer from its inception, until the end of this month, when he will step down and become executive chairman of an indispensable cable channel.

It is hard to remember what it was like before C Span, which began as a channel to cover the US House of Representatives live, but developed further into a second channel which covered the US Senate live, and then a third channel which covered American History in all its manifestations, live and taped.

All kinds of special programs and events have been covered 24 hours a day on all three C Span channels, and have enriched knowledge of history, politics and government, making those who watch or look at C Span online much more educated and insightful about how our country works, and also examining the outside world of foreign affairs as well.

Brian Lamb has been a giant in cable development, and will be long appreciated as having made a great contribution to improving our understanding of the political world around us.

There is no more important and precious set of channels on cable than the three C Span stations, and it has come about at a very low cost, and in a manner non partisan, and objective and open minded!

All the best to the future of C Span under its new leaders, Rob Kennedy and Susan Swain!