Amelia EarhartHistory is, as they say, history … as in “totally
and completely defunct”. That does not stop some activists wanting to disinter
the corpse and put it in new
grave clothes

A bill that would require textbooks for
California public schools to include the historical contributions of gay,
lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people passed the state Assembly on Tuesday
by a margin of 49-25.

Sigh. Why does sexual orientation have to
come into the picture at all when it comes to teaching history? Was Amelia
Earhart a closet lesbian? Were any of the signatories for the Declaration of
Independence secretly gay? Who cares? Don’t their contributions to history and
civilization matter more than which gender they fancied?

The money quotation has to be from CA Assemblyman
Tom Ammiano, who is openly gay: “I don’t want to be invisible in a
textbook.” He is also openly unintelligible, which is rather inexcusable
for a politician who has presumably spent at least some time in school. If you
are “in” a textbook, then you are not exactly “invisible”.
If you’re not in a textbook, you are not invisible, just, well, not in a
textbook. Maybe instead of “gay history”, schools should concentrate on giving
kids the straight goods on grammar, syntax, logic and public speaking.

History as a school subject has become completely
meaningless, because it has been so battered, abused, revised and
re-interpreted. We live in a culture that has wholeheartedly embraced
relativism. If there is no absolute truth, no right or wrong, then there is no
way to tell children what “truly” happened (and why) in the past.

It’s all a matter of perspective: liberal,
conservative, secular humanist, atheist, materialist, communist, feminist, gay
and lesbian, downtrodden aboriginal, WASP imperialist, conspiracy theorist, Jewish,
Buddhist, Muslim, Catholic, fundamentalist Protestant—everyone looks at history
from his own unique perspective. And in a milieu of (multi)culturalism and
moral relativism, who’s to say which one is “right”? Should the state endorse
any of them?

Say, here’s an idea: let’s think outside
the box (or the boxer shorts, as the case may be) of state-mandated curriculum,
and allow parents a choice of which version of history they want taught to
their children. Oh, wait a minute, we already have that: it’s called
homeschooling. And it’s still legal. For now.


Mariette Ulrich is a homemaker and freelance writer. She lives in western Canada with her husband and six of their seven children. Mariette holds an Honours B.A. in English Literature...