If you wonder why so many folks are able to believe the lies spouted by the Teabaggers and other factions, look no further.
It’s quite one thing for two persons of good will to interpret events differently. And it is true that we tend to interpret the past in the light of the present. One hopes that greater distance breeds greater objectivity, though it doesn’t always do so.
It’s quite another when even the events are wrong:
In the version of history being taught in some Virginia classrooms, New Orleans began the 1800s as a bustling U.S. harbor (instead of as a Spanish colonial one). The Confederacy included 12 states (instead of 11). And the United States entered World War I in 1916 (instead of in 1917).
These are among the dozens of errors historians have found since Virginia officials ordered a review of textbooks by Five Ponds Press, the publisher responsible for a controversial claim that African-American soldiers fought for the South in large numbers during the Civil War.
This is quite frankly appalling.
New Orleans was a French possession in the early 1800’s.
It gets worse.
The problem is that, if the basic facts (names, dates, who said and did what) are wrong, any conclusions drawn from them are wrong, leading Virginia to end up like Texas, which consciously uses its textbooks to warp its students understanding of the past.