The Rewrite of American Heritage
How Rewriting History Rewrites You.
Some time ago, I found myself, on the Wiki site for noted terrible musical Hamilton. I can’t remember how I ended up there, but there I was. I navigated to the page for the Democratic-Republican party and found that they had been listed as “Center-Left” ideologically. Something about that blatant falsehood really irked me. Perhaps what got to me was the fact that most people coming to that page would have a surface level knowledge of history, and wouldn’t be expecting the Wiki for a dumb musical to lie to them.
It is, admittedly, a rather trivial thing to be angered by on its own. Yet, I couldn’t shake the irritation, because this isn’t a one off. There are so many tiny, insidious lies peppered through modern life, especially in the Public Schools and Universities. Lies about people like John Rockefeller and Standard Oil; the myth of the ‘Robber Barons’ of the late-19th century (I highly recommend the book The Myth of the Robber Barons by Dr. Burt Folsom on this subject). The whitewashing and cult of personality built around historical figures like Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Lies about the cause of the Great Depression (*insert some drivel about boom-and-bust cycles here*) and the effectiveness of the New Deal at combating it. Lies about the “party switch” in the 60s, redacting the history of lifelong Democrats like Robert Byrd who never switched parties, just like their southern constituents. Slander directed at people like Joseph McCarthy and Barry Goldwater. Lies about what supply-side economics actually is (hint: the words “trickle-down” don’t have any relevance). Lies about so many things it’s hard to keep track.
Admittedly, however, these all seem to be fringe issues, history that few are interested in, and even fewer know. Trivia that doesn’t affect the daily existence of anyone. But all these small pieces of history, individual pixels in the large picture that comprises the story of the American Experiment, are vitally important. Everything is in those little details.
II. SEMANTICS AND THE POWER GAME
The details matter perhaps even more than the bigger picture, because they create the bigger picture. So, when a man is asked if he cares about the statue of some Confederate General being removed, he says no, “Why would I care. My family’s from Connecticut, the Southerners were the bad guys.” Like that, they’ve ceded ground, just an inch perhaps, but it’s an inch too far. The goalposts are moved; the targets of the Establishment’s ex post facto laws of morality are shifted ever so slightly. In the blink of an eye, they’re ripping down Jefferson and Washington and Ellsworth. Next, they’ll come for their tombstones.
One day a woman is asked about a bakery refusing service to a gay couple, she says: “That bakery is wrong. They shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate against anyone. Everyone deserves to be treated a certain way.” Less than a decade later, her nine-year old daughter is coming home, telling her that her teacher “came out” to her class today. Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, her son is talking about how his chill University Professor doesn’t think pedophilia is all that bad.
That’s how it happens, one detail at a time. A change of a definition here; a small alteration to a definition there; a slight tweak to the historical record — “Did you know that Alexander Hamilton, that guy from the musical, might have been GAY?!?!?!?! Because he had a close MALE friend who he wrote to. Sounds pretty queer to me; everyone knows men can’t have friends.” — and in the blink of an eye, your ancestors have gone from great men with flaws, to the bad guys. They’ve been re-written by powers that be into the villains of the grand story of existence.
Your ancestors were evil people; they were the bad guys. You descended from them. They passed down their history and ideas and answers to the fundamental questions of life, to you.
So… YOU must be a bad guy.
I mean, there’s no other rational conclusion. You are a bad person. Aren’t you? You all are. You’re the bad guys. It’s in your blood. You’re predisposed to it. It’s preordained. Right? Are you a bad guy? Tell me. Admit it. Kneel at my feet and beg for salvation.
It happens that quickly, and has in my lifetime. I’ve born witness to college professors defending pedophilia, calling for the assassination of sitting politicians (all of them, not just one). It’s not uncommon; there are more stories like it every day. Collectively, we caved on a few details here and there in the name of “progress”, in the name of “democracy”, in the name of “moderation”, and “unity” as if those are virtues in and of themselves. Then, they changed the whole picture, and even though everyone was watching in real time. Not enough noticed. Not enough acted. 1776 became 1619.
And it happened one detail, one pixel, at a time.
III. BAD PHILOSOPHY AND THE FUTILITY OF ‘WHAT IF’
These same people will trot out the corpses of the great men they’ve spent decades meticulously tearing down. When the Entertainment Complex needs some new propaganda, they drag out Alexander Hamilton. When the Democrats need to be, they’re the party of Jackson and Jefferson, and… “the Democratic-Republicans were actually a center-left party. James Madison would’ve LOVED the VRA. Trust us, we (re)wrote the history books.”
They’re happy to play both sides, sometimes simultaneously. Watch Nancy Mace go on Fox News, say one thing, then hop on CNN thirty minutes later and say something completely different. Hypocrisy is part of their belief system. It’s a core tenet of Heidegger’s metaphysics. Their answer to the fundamental question is that there is no answer; everything is inherently contradictory and they can exploit that nihilism and confusion among the masses for control, for power.
This is why all the “Can you imagine if a REPUBLICAN said that” or “What if DONALD TRUMP did that” tweets and articles are useless garbage. They know that they’re contradicting themselves, they think it’s funny, and if they can gaslight you while they do it, that’s just a bonus.
IV. TOPPLING THE HOUSE OF CARDS
This is all to say that the issue is much bigger than any one small historical detail or one man’s legacy. It spans beyond the realm of the living. We’ve allowed our heritage to be rewritten. We’ve allowed them to redact the history of those who came before us, to choose what happened and what didn’t. It goes way beyond the history books because…
When you allow them to REDEFINE your heritage, you let them DEFINE you.
You let them tell you who you are, what you believe, and you let them pin their fictional sins onto your chest like a scarlet letter.
This is the crux of their scam. The rickety scaffolding upon which the house of cards is built. But, all it takes to send the whole thing tumbling down, is to reject their premise. Their power comes from your contrition. So, say no. I will not grovel. I will not be embarrassed by those who came before me. We’ll take the good and learn from the bad, but we won’t rewrite our own history. The legacy of America.
Every person who takes that stand, brings us one step closer to the ideals of Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Hamilton, and Jay. One step closer to a better future.