In April Bush was in Tuskeegee, Alabama pumping his American Competiveness Initiative by playing up technical education and downplaying the importance of history and the humanities. He said, in fact, that in the brave new black working world he envisions, "history might not cut it." I guess it is easier to get beyond your past if your forefathers did not suffer under 200 years of slavery statutes that go all the way back to the 1660s. Of course, these statutes codified a practice that had been been going on since the first white men came ashore here.
One of more intriguing Slave Codes was enacted in Virginia in 1667, and it was intended to settle a troubling moral question of whether or not a slave that had been baptized and Christianized could continue to be held as private property. From the Wikipedia:
Virginia, 1667 - “Act III. Whereas some doubts have arisen whether children that are slaves by birth [...] should by virtue of their baptism be made free, it is enacted that baptism does not alter the condition to the person as to his bondage or freedom; masters freed from this doubt may more carefully propagate Christianity by permitting slaves to be admitted to that sacrament.”
If the Courts had decided otherwise, one must wonder if Christianity would have survived at all in the New World's new economy based on slave labor. This history is, of course, the dangerous kind that Bush and Falwell and Lynne Cheney want to keep out of high school and university courses--the exact kind that "might not cut it."
Apparently, the President or his Brain has decided that downplaying history, in the best traditions of Booker T. Washington, is not enough, but, rather, the facts need to be changed regarding the period of legal slavery on our shores. A hundred years was, therefore, subtracted from that legalized period of slavery while Bush delivered his historic speech to the descendents of slaves at the NAACP Convention:
Slavery was legal for nearly a hundred years and discrimination legal in many places for nearly 100 years more. Taken together, the record placed a stain on America's founding, a stain that we have not yet wiped clean.Or was it all just an innocent mistake by sloppy fact checking? Are the White House fact checkers, in fact, the same ones interning from Patrick Henry College, the tiny Christian college of 300 students that has filled roughly as many White House intern slots during the past six years as Georgetown U?
Oh, yes, the motto of Patrick Henry: "For Christ and Liberty."