Mother Jones has a new article about the textbooks used by private schools who are receiving funds as part of Louisiana’s new voucher program. I’ll leave the voucher debate for some other time, but I want to look at a couple quotes from the books, excepting the comments about dinosaurs and mankind living together (in harmony), since I’ve talked about that before.
First, there is this gem about the Ku Klux Klan:
“[The Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross. Klan targets were bootleggers, wife-beaters, and immoral movies. In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians.” - United States History for Christian Schools, 3rd ed. Bob Jones University Press, 2001
What the fraking frak?! If you want some insight into the “reforms” that the Klan was fighting for, you need look no further than here in Texas where it took a committed man - Dan Moody - to fight the Klan, despite their repeated attempts to undermine justice and defeat a man who was truly a reformer.
If you do need to look further, look at the Klan in Indiana:
With help from The Indianapolis Times (which won a Pulitzer Prize for its investigations), the structure of Indiana politics would be shaken. [D.C.] Stephenson began to talk about who had helped him rise to power and began to name names. The aftermath was shocking, indictments were filed against Governor Ed Jackson, Marion County Republican chairman George V. “Cap” Coffin, and attorney Robert I. Marsh, charging them with conspiring to bribe former Governor Warren McCray. Even the Mayor of Indianapolis, John Duvall, was convicted and sentenced to jail for 30 days (and barred from political service for 4 years). Some Marion County commissioners also resigned from their posts on charges of accepting bribes from the Klan and Stephenson.
Wherever you look, you’ll find the Klan was a corrosive and corrupting influence in government, not a reform minded organization working with politicians.
Then, there is this supposed factoid about the Depression:
“Perhaps the best known work of propaganda to come from the Depression was John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath… Other forms of propaganda included rumors of mortgage foreclosures, mass evictions, and hunger riots and exaggerated statistics representing the number of unemployed and homeless people in America. - United States History: Heritage of Freedom, 2nd ed. A Beka Book, 1996
I never knew my grandparents were propagandists, but apparently they are, because whenever I’ve heard them talk about living during the Depression, it sounds pretty much as it is described by reputable historians… excuse me, I mean propagandists. Regardless of what one thinks about the New Deal policies used to combat the Depression (and whether or not those policies helped end, or alternatively, extended, the Depression), there is no doubt that life was not good and the statistics about the period are not exaggerated.