Jan 27, 2008

September 24, 2007: Oh! Columbia, Throwing Stones Near Glass Houses, Texas Radio and the Big Beat

Rupert Murdock’s Fox Noise and the collective idiot right (read wrong) of this country are all-a-dither about the appearance of Iranian President Ahmadinejad at Columbia University. He is in the country in connection with a United Nations appearance in New York and has been banned from appearing at ground zero but invited to speak at Columbia. The cons and the neo-cons have fouled their collective pants over the alleged ‘outrage’ of having a modern-day ‘Hitler’ addressing an open meeting. The argument is that this sponsor of terror and supplier of military hardware to the Iraq insurgency and Hezbollah in Lebanon should not be given a forum in which to state his views.

Fair enough, but under that criteria Oliver North should not have a microphone and be given access to appear on television and radio since he funded the terrorist Contras in Nicaragua. Henry Kissassinger should not be allowed his regular appearances on Nightline and other talk shows to spout his dated wisdom since he fostered the illegal war against Cambodia and Laos. Ronald Reagan, if he were still alive, would likewise be forbidden to appear at any University Campus for his state sponsored terror in Nicaragua and supporting the death squads in El Salvador. So too would John Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower, Kennedy for funding and supporting ‘freedom fighters’—insurgents—in Cuba, Eisenhower for similar acts in Cuba and Guatemala and for overthrowing the legitimately elected government in Iran and re-installing the much-despised Peacock throne. One must be careful when throwing stones near glass houses.

“Let me tell you about Texas Radio and the big beat
Soft drivin’, slow and mad, like some new language”….The Doors

Texans know all about insurgency. It was, after all, an American insurgency spawned by a flood of what would today be illegal aliens coming over the border from the United States into Mexico. Perhaps this is why ‘Ol Two-Cows’ and his Texans rode into Washington so cocksure they understood what we were up against whilst the rest of us poor slobs could simply take a back seat and learn.

The problem is that while the Americans in Texas won their independence, the Mexicans lost their battle with the insurgency. And oh yes, what was that rebellion against the autocratic Mexican authority all about? Freedom? Independence? Reproducing American political institutions and the Bill of Rights on what only yesterday was sovereign Mexican territory? That’s the way some Texans believe it for that is the way the history books tell it.

“The History books tell it
They tell it so well
The Cavalry charged
The Indians fell
The Cavalry charged
The Indians died
And you never ask questions
When God’s on your side”----Bob Dylan

Unfortunately, as Voltaire once so thoughtlessly remarked, “History is the lie commonly agreed upon”. This is especially true in Texas wherein the state has a unified core curriculum and all the high schools must purchase the same books from the state depository. Hence the Texas School Book Depository Building….anyway, wielding the clout normally reserved for say the Medicare system to negotiate prices with pharmaceuticals, the Texas Board of Education can literally dictate or rather edit unpalatable or ‘inconvenient truths’ from the common understanding concerning origins. This applies, it appears, not only to the origin of species, but to the origin of the state itself.

So the common misunderstanding concerning the cause of the Texas revolt against Santa Anna and the “repressive” Mexican government is that it was a fight for freedom against slavery.

Wrong! It was precisely the opposite. The truth is that brother Travis had run into some problems with the local authorities in Louisiana and as an added inducement wished to skip out on his wife and kids. Unfortunately the Mexicans, to whom Texas then belonged, had the ascended the ladder of civilization just far enough, it seems, to have inconveniently outlawed slavery. Poor Travis could not take his slaves with him lest they become freedmen upon crossing the Louisiana/Texas frontier. Answer: foment revolt, break away from Mexico so as to extend the ‘peculiar institution’ westward and continue to make one’s fortunes by exploiting one’s fellow man. This was the impetuous behind the famous revolt romanticized in legend. This was the cause for which Bowie and Crocket gave their lives. Remember the Alamo.

Texans, with their outsized egos, braggadocio, and penchant for overstatement have, it appears, a long experience with standing history on its head. And the problem with standing history on its head is that one is prone to consistently draw the wrong lessons from it.

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