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Democrat Distortions of the Florida Educational Curriculum

Love … does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, … it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 

1 Corinthians 13

The Democrat “News” media Colluders (hereafter the DNC) have become quite exercised about Florida’s new curriculum guidelines for teaching students about slavery.   VP Kamala Harris, employing the standard DNC attempt to make this into a victimized “us” and an oppressive “them” issue (a “class struggle”) managed to work herself up into quite a performance, angrily claiming that “middle school students will be taught that enslaved people benefited from slavery.  They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us and we will not stand for it.”

Unfortunately, the Florida curriculum does not teach that slaves benefited from slavery.  One must, as usual with the DNC, go slow, as if speaking to children.  What the Florida curriculum will actually teach is “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”  First, if one said that someone who survived a lethal cancer learned some skills in that struggle that benefited them no one in the right mind would interpret that to mean that cancer benefits people.  It is obviously the struggle against the cancer that benefited them. Second, assuming that one can make the mundane distinction between an institution (like slavery) and the skills one acquired by enduring it, the point is not that slavery benefited anyone but that slaves “might” acquire some skills by enduring slavery that “could be applied” to personal benefit.  Since applying requires an applier, i.e., the slave themself, it was through their own industry that they benefited from the acquired skills.  Got it Kamala and DNC?  There was a time when one would have assumed that a J.D. and the DNC could make the high school-level distinction between an institution and a skill acquired by enduring it.  No more!

One might illustrate the point by appealing to the 1984 movie, Places in the Heart.  In a small Texas town during the Great Depression Sheriff Royce Spalding is accidentally killed by a drunk black youth, Wylie, shooting off a gun.  Wylie is promptly hanged and the Sheriff and the black youth are buried on the same day.  Royce’s wife Edna (Sally Field) is left with a farm she does not know how to run because her husband did the farming and there is a note on the farm held by the bank that she cannot repay.  Despite her personal hardships, being a Christian woman (that still being allowed back then), she feeds a wandering black man, Moses (Danny Glover), but he steals some silver spoons from Edna and gets caught.  Despite the theft, Edna ends up employing him to work on the farm.  It turns out that the only way Edna can pay the banknote on the farm is by winning an annual contest in which $100 is awarded to the farm that produces the first bale of cotton that season.  Despite her desperate predicament, Edna, her family and Moses – working together – win the cash prize and save the farm.  There is no doubt whatsoever in the film that it is Moses (Glover) who enables Edna to negotiate a fair price for the seed, plant and harvest the cotton and submit the first bale of the season.  This is made entirely clear when the cruel seed salesman, Mr. Simmons, who was thwarted by Moses in his attempt to cheat Edna and says, “That’s a smart [N-word] you got there, Mrs. Spalding. He’s a credit to his race.”  Unfortunately, Moses’ advice to Edna earns him a nighttime visit from the KKK and he has to flee the town to save his life.

Although Moses is never represented as a former slave (this is the 1930s), the point is clear.  When the Great Depression hits, Moses, as a descendant of former slaves and in a lowly position not much different from slavery, would be among the first to be fired.  However, it is the skills his ancestors learned as slaves and passed down to him that enable him to help Edna save her farm.   When the film was released no one claimed that the film suggests that slaves or their descendants “benefited” from slavery by the skills they acquired thereby.  People were not that vicious in those days.  In fact, the message of the film is the opposite, namely that despite the mistakes of the past it is possible for people to learn to overcome their differences and suspicions and learn to work together and love each other.

There is a remarkable scene at the end of the film that makes this point in a truly unforgettable way.  In the final scene many of the town residents are gathered together in a Christian church receiving Holy Communion.  As the pastor reads 1 Corinthians 13, one woman who had become estranged from her husband takes his hand.  The congregation partakes communion, passing the ritual wine to each other as the choir sings “In the Garden” (the message of which is that even in our greatest hardship Jesus walks with us).  The townspeople who were seen throughout the film, including a woman who died in an accident, are shown in the pews.  Moses is there too, sitting beside the white parishioners, passing the tray of wine along.   Edna is shown passing the communion tray to her dead husband, quietly saying “Peace of God”.  Her dead husband, saying “Peace of God,” hands it to the black youth, Wylie, who had killed him.  After Wylie replies, “Peace of God”, the camera lingers on the two men in peaceful contemplation as the hymn (and the film) ends.  

Some viewers were confused by the presence of Edna’s dead husband and the dead black youth, Wylie, sitting in the pews.   The scene is obviously not meant to be taken literally but to symbolize that all these people, including those the deceased and those, like Moses, who had fled the town, all still occupy “places in the heart” of the parishioners.  The film was made at a time long past when people still wanted to build bridges and overcome the injustices of the past.  Those days are long gone.  Now, unscrupulous politicians and media will use everyone and everything, even a drowned child in the Rio Grande, to divide people in order to obtain their own wealth, power and privilege, but somehow keep silent when their beloved Biden sets a new record of deaths, at least 853, at the southern border.  

There was a time, not so long ago, when one would expect normal people to be able to make the distinction between saying that slavery benefited people and saying that despite the injustices of slavery some slaves were able to use it to rise above it.  The former denigrates slaves.  The latter praises them.  The DNC prefers the former because it can be used to drive wedges between different demographics, thereby dishonouring them, in order to benefit themselves politically.  The DNC rejoices, not with truth, but only with the Party narrative, whatever it happens to be on any given day. 

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Richard McDonough

Richard Michael McDonough, American philosophy educator. Achievements include production of original interpretation of Wittgenstein’s logical-metaphysical system, original application Kantian Copernican Revolution to philosophy of language; significant interdisciplinary work logic, linguistics, psychology & philosophy. Member Australasian Debating Federation (honorary life, adjudicator since 1991), Phi Kappa Phi.

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