Looks like the Lone Star State is trying to whitewash its history … again.
We all know the state of Texas was founded when Ted Cruz, trying to avoid the pernicious impacts of global climate change on his living room, attempted to escape to Cancun through an Einstein-Rosen bridge. He was instead sent back in time to November 1963, where he laid out his dad’s clothes for the big Kennedy assassination before being transported to the Battle of the Alamo in 1836.
There, Cruz manned the ramparts, began his standard stump speech (complete with awkwardly rendered The Princess Bride references), and Mexico’s Santa Anna, deciding that keeping Texas just wasn’t worth dealing with this asshole, turned his troops around, deciding instead to build an impenetrable wall and moat that he’d eventually force the U.S. to pay for.
That’s my version, anyway. And since we all get to come up with our own comforting mythologies now, I’m sticking with it. Anyone who gainsays my account is a disgusting, un-American, cancel-culture cuck of a traitor.
Yeah, I know that all sounds pretty silly, but then again, so does this …
The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin abruptly canceled an event scheduled for Thursday evening featuring the authors of a new book on the Alamo and its role in the mythology of Texas. Chris Tomlinson, a Houston Chronicle columnist and one of the authors of the book, Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth, said a museum employee told him they had to cancel the event “following a social media campaign by right-wingers and an order from the board,” made up of Gov. Greg Abbott (R), Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), state House Speaker Dade Phelan (R), two other GOP state lawmakers, and a citizen board member.
Wait, a throng of anti-”cancel culture” warriors got an event they didn’t like … canceled?
That doesn’t sound right.
Forget the Alamo, co-authored by Bryan Burrough and Jason Stanford, explores the Battle of the Alamo as more a fight to ensure the preservation of slavery, enshrined in the original Texas Constitution, than a heroic battle by 180 star-crossed rebels defending Texas from Mexican aggression. The Alamo has been central to the “whole Texas creation myth” and it’s time to look beyond the “Heroic Anglo narrative,” Burrough told NPR recently.
Oh, I get it. The book asserts that white people were fighting to preserve slavery, not their “freedoms” (unless “freedom” is really supposed to mean the freedom to kidnap innocent people and work them to death).
Among the glowing reviews of the book its publisher has promoted is this one, from The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty: “As a native San Antonian, I grew up knowing only Hollywood’s version of how things went down at what became the ‘shrine of Texas liberty.’ In this lively book, Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson and Jason Stanford dig deep into Texas history to separate fact from legend—not only about the Alamo, but of the forces that produced Texas itself. It turns out reality is richer and more compelling than mythology.”
Yeah, reality usually is more compelling than comforting fables. And it teaches us more about the world and our place in it, too. But conservatives love storybook fables, particularly when those myths help sustain racial inequality. Note the conservative freakout over critical race theory, which merely lends needed context to the clear reality of systemic racism.
In an interview with the San Antonio Express-News, co-author Tomlinson said of the cancelation, “I think we’re being censored, which is a shame because the mission of the Texas history museum is to promote examining our past. We’ve done more than a dozen events, and this is the first time we’ve been shut down like this.”
Of course, it’s almost certainly not a coincidence that Gov. Abbott and the GOP-dominated Texas legislature recently created something called “The 1836 Project,” an obvious riff on Nikole Hannah-Jones’ The 1619 Project, which seeks to regard the history of our nation through the wide lens of slavery.
Conservatives hate The 1619 Project, of course, because it doesn’t go along with Donald Trump’s version of history, which whitewashes our past in a way that will likely have Frederick Douglass turning over on his couch.
The conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation compared Forget the Alamo to The 1619 Project in a post earlier this week, calling it “a radical reinterpretation of history” and “an effort to diminish the great figures of history and place slavery at the center of every story.” TPPF chief executive Kevin Roberts applauded the Bullock’s decision to cancel the talk Thursday night.
Does the Texas Public Policy Foundation sound familiar? It could be because of this ridiculous tweet it deleted earlier this week.
Good God, these snowflakes. A little sunshine is allowed to seep into the nooks and crannies of our hidden history and they instantly melt away.
Slavery happened. Southern states took up arms to defend the practice. These events still affect us today. That’s obvious. And it’s not that difficult to see, unless you insist on donning yellow rose-colored glasses.
Grow up, Texas. It’s time.
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