Barak Obama has, once again, shown himself to be devoid of any sense of American history. A few days ago I saw him in an interview proclaiming that victory in Afghanistan would evoke the scene of Emperor Hirohito coming on board the USS Missouri to surrender to General Douglas McArthur at the end of World War II. You can watch a short clip of that interview here.
Obama's claim notwithstanding, Hirohito did not come aboard the USS Missouri that day in September, 1945, and he signed nothing in the presence of McArthur or any other westerner. His emissaries did the signing. This is just one more example of Obama's grasp of history in general and American history in particular. Not many weeks back Obama put words into the mouth of Winston Churchill, claiming that the British did not torture -- even as civilian targets in London were being reduced to rubble. Churchill said nothing of the kind. However, the Colonel Robin "Tin Eye" Stephens, commander of Camp 020, did have such a policy. The story of "Tin Eye" Stephens is an interesting one in its own right and can be read here. Winston Churchill did not dictate, or even adopt, "Tin Eye" Stephens's policy. That was a convenient bit of political fabrication by Barak Obama. The author of the article that inspired Obama's fabrication can be found here. By the way, The Times of London is one of the few British newspapers I'm inclined to trust.
In a larger sense, Obama's weak grasp of history, if that is what it really is, is a reflection of the public education system in the United States. While the Obama administration makes daily headlines by grabbing power and property from the private sector, his plans for public education are more opaque but much more disturbing, if you are paying attention. The public education system has been failing for years; it shows in test scores over a span of thirty years and more. And who hasn't seen a segment out of Jay Leno's "Jaywalking?" If the claims I have read are correct, the show's producer never had to do much culling to get what you saw on TV.
In my own experience, the quality of public school teachers, at least, is declining. I taught in the College of Business Administration at a university for about ten years, starting around 1991. The courses I taught were cross-listed; that means that students with majors other than the business majors could enroll. We weren't doing any mathematical analysis beyond high school algebra -- and we were doing it on a financial calculator. Over the decade I taught those courses I noticed a trend. The engineering majors, actuarial science majors, and some business majors, tended to cluster in the higher levels of achievement for the courses. The majority of the business majors clustered in the middle. The education majors, journalism majors, and psychology majors tended toward the lowest levels of achievement. Since it happened over some ten years I don't think it was a statistical fluke. From what I have seen since, the trend continues. Science teachers that don't know science; history teachers that don't know history; the list goes on.
As I see it, a large problem is that the education system is no longer focused on education; it is for indoctrination. You see that with the doctrine of Political Correctness that appears almost everywhere nowadays, especially in public schools. One proponent of indoctrination over education is Bill Ayers. Yes, it's the very same Bill Ayers who was in a lead position in the domestic terror group the Weathermen. Yes, it's the same terrorists group who planted bombs at various government and university sites, mainly in the early 1970s. Here's a list of some of their mayhem. Sol Stern has the goods on Ayers and his ilk. Stern reports on the activities of Professor Bill Ayers and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) here. My own experience and observations tell me that Sol Stern knows of what he speaks. The insiders in the "education system" are intent on subverting it with their "social justice" agenda. It is indoctrination rather than education and it is being taught in teachers colleges throughout the United States. An example of that flared up last October when it became known that Bill Ayers was invited to speak to the Teachers College at University of Nebraska - Lincoln.
Editor's Note: it used to be called the Teachers College, but now they have inflated their claim to fame by calling it the College of Education and Human Sciences. Yeah, right.
A strong outcry over the speaking invitation to Bill Ayers ensued and the heat just became too intense; the college had to "disinvite" him. The apologists for the college claimed that it was an honest error in judgement to invite Ayers. Much more likely is that the error in judgement was expecting that no one would notice or care who was speaking and what his agenda is. I suspect that the faculty of the "College of Education and Human Sciences" is already largely in the Ayers camp and this was going to be a friendly exchange of ideas. In any case, Ayers did get a final say last November in the Omaha World-Herald; they printed his claims that "it is the duty of scholars to challenge dogma." Unfortunately, a link the the World-Herald piece no longer exists, but you can read a copy of the op-ed piece here. In fact, it is Ayers who is the dogmatist and his dogma is the leftist-communist dogma that many were subjected to for decades and ultimately rejected.
Which brings us back around to the issue of rewriting history. The young are gullible by nature; some never outgrow the tendency. I saw it in myself; I saw it in my children and grandchildren; I saw it when I taught at UNL. Even college students will faithfully write down whatever the professor is saying, almost always without a word of challenge, regardless of whether what the professor is saying is factual or not. It is easy to corrupt the young with a false history that the likes of AERA put forth with their "social justice" agenda and more. Once the real history of America is lost to its citizens it will be easy to corrupt all of society and turn it away from the freedoms we have enjoyed for over two hundred years.
If we don't stop the corruption of the education system in general, and the public education system in particular, it will be too late. When those with a false history grow up and become a majority the battle will pretty much be lost. The revisionists will have won because once people have been indoctrinated with a false history it is hard to undo it. After all, they learned it in school and a president of the United States said it. It must be true.