Anti-Americanism is often synonymous with the Left. Whether it's the NAACP's hollow rhetoric about the lack of racial justice, the pathetic call from unions for more for government budget-busting pension programs, or Mr. Obama's deafening silence on American exceptionalism, they and their political benefactors never seem able to focus on the goodness of America.
The most "anti" of anti-Americanism, Howard Zinn, died three years ago, but his writings and influence are important to reflect upon as our children start another school year. He was a member of the Communist Party since 1949, and he left a covey of faithful admirers including some of the leading thinkers and historians of our time like Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson.
Celebrity worshipers will reel in horror as they read this. Anyone who knows anything knows that Matt is so-o-o-o hot that he couldn't be a charlatan ... besides, what's a charlatan? And Willie, how dare me vilify Willie with his star spangled headband holding his long gray pig tails in place? Yep, they all held up Mr. Zinn as a "hero of the people." He made them giddy with his "stick it to the man" philosophy (whoever the man is), and his book "A People's History of the United States" (2.2 million copies) is their Zinn Bible. In it Mr. Zinn writes, "The American system is the most ingenious system of control in world history." He calls for wealth redistribution to the masses so everything will be "free -- to everyone: food, housing, health care, education, transportation."
It's easy to dismiss such kooky ideas by wealthy elitists, but the concern is that such Zinnful thoughts have crept into our classrooms from liberal educators who subscribe to revisionist American history. They conveniently overlook thousands of indentured servants who came from the Old World to the New World in search of opportunities to work and worship and escape the heavy yoke of tyranny.
They neglect our Founding Fathers who put both their lives and honor on the line to pen their names to our Declaration of Independence. They ignore Horatio Alger stories that still abound in this country about poor people who rolled up their sleeves and used their God-given talents to "make it." Likewise, they overlook the contributions of folks who have made it in giving jobs and opportunities to tens of thousands of employees because of their success. You know the stories: Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Normandy, Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, Silicon Valley -- all remarkable records of successful Americans. Were they duped and under the control of the mythological "man"? I think not. Our children deserve to know about the real sacrifices and accomplishments of their countrymen; otherwise, as Cicero said, "Not to know what happened before you were born is to be forever a child."
How does the rest of the world view our opportunities? Despite what Mr. Zinn believed, our embassies are overwhelmed with people trying to immigrate to the United States. During my career in the United States Air Force, I spent four overseas assignments in Iceland, Germany, Japan, and Greece. All are progressive countries politically, technologically, and environmentally; yet, none enjoy the freedoms and opportunities we take for granted. If you are born poor, chances are almost certain that you will die poor, and if you are born rich, you will die rich, even if you are an incompetent buffoon. I witnessed first-hand the old expression, "Yankee go home ... but take me with you!"
A great country like ours must permit the free debate of ideas and opinions, but we must also remember the worth of an opinion is only as good as the facts upon which it is based. Mr. Zinn's facts and those of his revisionist liberal disciples are woefully inaccurate, divisive, and misleading. Our children deserve better.
Roger Smith is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel and a pilot with Southwest Airlines. He and his wife, Patti, live on Possum Creek near Soddy-Daisy.