Thursday, July 4, 2019

Howard Zinn's America is Not My America

I have a message for Nike and Colin Kaepernick:

Just Blow Me!

I've been pondering something for a few weeks now, and this Fourth of July seems to offer the perfect opportunity to commit my thoughts to (digital) paper.  I have more than a few friends, some in "meat space", but mostly on social media, who seem to be adherents of the Howard Zinn school of American history.  In 1980, Zinn first published his A People's History of the United States.  To quote Wikipedia, Zinn considered it to be:
"a different side of history from the more traditional fundamental nationalist glorification of country. Zinn portrays a side of American history that can largely be seen as the exploitation and manipulation of the majority by rigged systems that hugely favor a small aggregate of elite rulers from across the orthodox political parties."

Apparently, when it comes to America at least, Professor Zinn is a really tough grader.  Too tough in my opinion.

I'd be the first to admit that the simplified and sanitized version of American History that we all learned in elementary school and even high school was probably a little heavy on patriotism and a little light on critical analysis.  Nevertheless, "exploitation and manipulation of the majority by rigged systems..." is a little too much of a swing of the pendulum to an alternate reality.  

I think a lot of the people who believe and promote Zinn's version of America only do so because of the perceived cachet attached to the new and more radical interpretation.  Kind of like the early adopter who brags about his new 85" 4K TV even though it's way too big for his tiny apartment, and we're years away from any significant amount of 4K programming. 

Take away all the Zinn acolytes who are just trying to be the "wokest" kids on the block, and a lot of those who are left (pun intended), just hate America.  

So this Independence Day, I'm celebrating America.  Not just the America of myth that I learned about in high school, but also the real America that I've learned about since.  American exceptionalism is still the real deal.  Even with all her flaws, I can't think of anyplace in the world I'd rather live.  We're flying the flag on the front porch today, and if Nike and Colin Kaepernick don't like it, I have a message for them.

Just blow me!