And in honor of King…

Daily Kos reports:

This [is] a quick heads-up on the “1776 report”, which was released today by the White House, of all days, on MLK Day. It’s another attempt to re-write and white-wash history and prop up the modern white supremacist movement.

The report was written by the “1776 Commission”, a rag-tag group of mostly white and conservative “historians”; it states that criticism of the Founding Fathers’ slave ownership ‘has done enormous damage’ and has had a ‘devastating effect on our civic unity and social fabric’. The report claims that the nation’s founders detested slavery even though many of them owned enslaved people.

So what’s the idea here? That praise of the “founding fathers'” slave ownership would do tremendous gooditude and have an empowering effect on our civic unity and social fabric? Because I’m not seeing it. I think insisting that slavery was virtuous and the men who made the rules were awesome for entrenching it would be much worse for our civic unity and social fabric than that other thing.

The press statement announcing the report:

1776 Commission Takes Historic and Scholarly Step to Restore Understanding of the Greatness of the American Founding

Wossa historic and scholarly step?

Anyway – back in the real world – yes, in some ways, the white men who wrote the Constitution did a revolutionary and progressive thing, but, that doesn’t mean they did an infinitely perfect and not to be questioned thing. They left a lot out, and the lot they left out was actually quite important. The rights of the people they were displacing, the rights of the people they held as slaves, the rights of the people they didn’t allow to vote or get an education or do much of anything except bear children and be wives – all that and more was left out. We get to talk about that and think about it and write about it and make tv documentaries about it.

[The] 1776 Commission—comprised of some of America’s most distinguished scholars and historians—has released a report presenting a definitive chronicle of the American founding, a powerful description of the effect the principles of the Declaration of Independence have had on this Nation’s history, and a dispositive rebuttal of reckless “re-education” attempts that seek to reframe American history around the idea that the United States is not an exceptional country but an evil one.

Scholars and historians don’t present “definitive chronicles.” That’s not what they do; that’s not what history is. It’s a work in continuous progress, and even the best work isn’t called “definitive”; that’s just amateurish. And history isn’t a matter of “chronicles,” either; it’s not story-telling and it doesn’t claim to be telling the whole and only truth (because that’s not possible). I was taught that first thing as a history major. These hacks on the trump job are exactly that: hacks. Also nice touch doing this on Martin Luther King day. Racist assholes.

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