OPINION – A family traveling about America looking to discover its majesty in fact has discovered something else: a disturbing and visible trend at this nation’s historical landmarks to revise our history and even inspire guilt over our past.
I first met Todd and Tammy Smith a few years ago when I had a couple of speaking engagements in Alaska. They picked me up at the airport and showed me a number of the wonders of the Kenai Peninsula.
As I visited with them, I realized that it takes a certain type of rugged individualism to live and thrive in Alaska. The Smiths certainly fit that description. Todd Smith is a defensive handgun instructor and Tammy Smith is a professional photographer.
They are a homeschooling family with 10 children and an unshakable sense of adventure. So I wasn’t terribly surprised when I learned that the Smiths have been taking their kids on the trip of a lifetime.
With seven of their 10 children, the Smith family drove down to the lower 48 states and have been traveling coast to coast in a 15-passenger van pulling a 31-foot travel trailer. Their goal is to grow closer as a family while discovering the majesty of America and visiting the places where history was made.
They’ve experienced many wonders including the Grand Canyon, the Smithsonian, and the battlefields most of us have only read about. They’ve also encountered something that was unexpected and more than a little disturbing.
At many of the historical sites and monuments they visited, our nation’s story is being told in a deliberately distorted manner. Tammy Smith is concerned about the politically correct revisionism; she said:
The story has been changed to emphasize how we are a nation embroiled in a fight for freedom for minorities, a nation built on the backs of Indians, blacks, and women. A nation still trying to overcome this horrible history.
There is no talk about the amazing things our Founding Fathers did to overcome and create this country and government. Instead the story is about how they failed to do away with slavery, how they failed to recognize blacks and women as voters. All about what they didn’t do.
Tammy Smith wrote to me how in the six years since she last visited the Liberty Bell, it has been transformed from a symbol of American freedom to a rallying point for repressed minorities.
Like most propaganda, the stories being told at these national sites are a misleading mixture of lies and truth calculated to deceive the masses.
One of her concerns, she said, is how to counter the politically-correct history being taught without being accused of racism, or worse.
Tammy Smith has a point here. It is becoming more difficult to speak up in the face of official falsehoods without appearing insensitive.
Political correctness has resulted in a subtle molding of our everyday language that seeks to shape our thinking at an unconscious level. When we hear phrases like “gender,” “gun violence,” “entitlement,” or “hate crime,” few people recognize them as politically biased terms.
Charley Reese wrote of this sad tendency many years ago:
Our culture, if you can call it that, is in sad shape today because so many people seem to think they must conform to the prevailing prejudices. So many of them run around sticking labels on people and things, they miss life altogether.
When we are unsure what today’s “acceptable” terms are, we become reluctant to speak up — even in the face of politically fashionable duplicity.
One reason that the Smith family recognizes this dilemma is that they are no longer part of the uninformed masses. They long ago made a commitment to turning off the television and studying the kinds of books that withstand the test of time.
Tammy and Todd Smith understand the value of original sources in creating personal depth as well as breadth in their understanding of the world around them. This is what they are teaching their children.
They understand that we can learn from the past, but we cannot change it. We are not responsible for what was done or not done in the past and therefore we should feel no guilt whatsoever for mistakes made by those who came before.
But guilt and fear are powerful leverage over those who are uncertain about their own understanding of history. Our nation’s past is currently being reinvented to better fit the ideologies of certain opinion leaders.
The court historians have been busily rewriting history as only the winners can. But we can inoculate ourselves against their propaganda by seeing it for what is and speaking up when necessary.
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Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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