Rewriting history has long been a part of Imperialism and Colonialism...
by David Davila (Gay Latino)
"History is decided by the Victors."
Winston Churchill is credited with saying that, but he didn't come up with it. There are dozens of other people credited with saying similar phrases throughout History and so it is the perfect example of it's own meaning. None of us can know the things that came before us except through written documents, shared stories & myths, and scientific evidence. So it has always been that we believe what we are taught. So it seemed like the perfect time to review some of the #AlternativeFacts that every American has been taught in school.
Alternative Fact: Christopher Columbus discovered America.
Long before Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas, North and South America were inhabited by thousands of nations made up of Native people. These nations had been producing agriculture and trading amongst each other for centuries. Out of those thousands of Nations, descendants of only 562 of them survive today.
Alternative Fact: Native Americans died of diseases. There was no intentional genocide.
Yes, many Native Americans died from diseases that were brought over from Europe that they had no immunities to such as small pox. Still, there are documented instances where some of these diseases were spread purposefully as an act of biological warfare through the distribution of infected blankets. Even beyond that however we have no way to know the amount of villages that were completely wiped out by colonizers who were encouraged to end the Indian race by any means. Yet, perhaps the greatest documented act of genocide was committed by the sixth president, Andrew Jackson, a populist who is now regarded by many as the American Hitler. His many deals with the Indian Nations eventually led to the Trail of Tears, a genocidal required relocation of all Native people across the entire country to Indian reservations. Most Natives did not survive. Even as late as the 1970's Native children were being taken from their parents - an act that the UN defines as genocide.
Alternative Fact: The electoral college exists to protect us from tyranny.
Many politicians at the time saw the electoral college as the only way to protect the country from the uneducated masses with no knowledge of the candidates from across the country. The creation of a two party system should have done away with that fear, however politicians in the South argued that their votes deserved to count more because of the slaves they owned. The electoral college gave slave owners credit for their slaves and allowed the genocidal practices of slavery to remain in use for another hundred years.
Alternative Fact: Slavery was completely abolished with the 13th amendment.
The thirteenth amendment stated that slavery was no longer legal except as a form of punishment. When the amendment passed it wasn't long before hundreds of thousands of former slaves were arrested and forced into manual labor to "rebuild the South" after the Civil War. This has turned into a billion dollar prison industry which incarcerates mostly people of color.
Alternative Fact: In America everyone is free.
Approximately 1 percent of the US population are incarcerated under a system that profits off of their imprisonment. These men and women are forced into labor without pay or with very little pay while the billion dollar industry continues to thrive.
Alternative Fact: In America everyone is equal.
Where to begin? Women only make 80 cents to every man's dollar for the same work done. LGBTQ people can still be fired in 29 states, while trans people are being discriminated against in restrooms. Some states have laws that require people with brown skin to carry around their 'papers' at all times to prove that they are citizens. People of color are oppressed by systematic racism that is imbedded into many of the policies of our government. People of color are not allowed to militarize as promised in the second amendment. Americans of white descent are encouraged to buy guns, but people of color are often murdered by police officers or painted as criminals when they are found to have a gun.
I'm not a historian. I'm not a legal expert. I'm not an expert on anything really except dramaturgy and music. These are my observances as a concerned citizen. Alternative Facts are dangerous, and that is not an alternative fact.
Make no mistake that Donald Trump and his team are attempting to rewrite the history of his presidency through their outrageously false tweets, press conferences, and interviews.
I was lucky enough, growing up in South Texas along the Mexico border, to have amazing teachers throughout my public school education who made it a point to ensure that all of their students understood that the United States was built on Alternative Facts. We were encouraged to dig deeper and not believe what we were told. I am forever grateful to those brave social studies and history teachers who were in fact committing acts of civil disobedience by teaching us that "facts" in books could be lies. Thank you for your service!
DAVID DAVILA is a playwright/composer from South Texas who grew up along the Texas-Mexico border. He is the co-author of MANUEL VS THE STATUE OF LIBERTY an award winning musical comedy about immigration, and VOX POP a musical about the tragedy of democracy. He has long been working on a series of plays about life along the Texas/Mexico border which include ADAN Y JULIO, ABUELAS OR THE POVERTY CYCLE, MEN OF GOD, CREDO, REQUERDOS OF MY LIFE, and AZTEC PIRATES AND THE INSIGNIFICANCE OF LIFE ON MARS. He is a self proclaimed Voxist, a Diva enthusiast, and founder of Lone Star Theatre Co. Wanna talk about it? www.daviddavila.net
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