The ultimate Texas shrine was injected into the political correctness wars a few days ago when an official of the Houston Independent School District announced a change in the way the siege at the Alamo will be treated in history classes, so as to make the dialogue less of an “us vs. them” confrontation and supposedly not be as offensive to the large and growing number of HISD students of Latino descent. We await the re-writing of the textbooks to see what revision of the facts will be proposed. This follows the huge annual Cinco de Mayo parade and celebration of Mexican cultural pride and a March debate between the two Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidates that was conducted entirely in Spanish (to his credit, Dan Morales protested loudly, to no avail; he lost the argument and the election).
The Alamo incident is producing a backlash, much of it, I am pleased to say, from students of Latino ancestry who said they simply want to be taught the truth and the facts. After all, the siege at the Alamo was about a lot of things—courage in the face of long odds, the human will to freedom, property rights, and America’s manifest destiny—but not about race or ethnicity. Similarly, most Hispanics I know believe that the only successful route for their children is through assimilation with American culture, beginning with a mastery of English. But the flap brings to mind reports on articles and commentary coming from the National Council for Social Studies, a large organization of teachers of history, geography, and political science, who have the responsibility for teaching civic values to our young people. If their pronouncements are to be believed, this group sees its mission to “de-exceptionalize” the United States and promote the idea of the cosmopolitan citizen without allegiance to a particular history, culture, or locality. Nothing could be further removed from the Founders’ ideal of civic education as a pre-requisite to self-governance. Is there any wonder why there is moral confusion about our role in the world?