Whitewashing, American Style

This Week’s Poll!

Despite everything the right wing wants you to believe, race remains a volatile subject in America.

Just listen to Michele Bachmann chant that she wants to “Take America Back!” — clearly implying that some Americans aren’t real Americans, or, at least, have no business being democratically elected. And listen to the cheers of Rick Perry‘s supporters when he brags about having executed over two hundred Texans — with the next one in line having been deemed by a psychologist as “likely to commit crimes in the future” because he’s black. And, of course, we stand in awe at the complete lack of respect shown to Obama by a handful of old white men in Congress who simply think they don’t have to take his calls or show up to a meeting if he’s there.

As if this weren’t enough, now there’s a new book out this week from a group hoping to “defend” the image of Thomas Jefferson. Despite years of research, DNA evidence and newspaper accounts going back to 1802, it claims Jefferson never fathered any children with his black slave Sally Hemings. The book, titled The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy and written by a commission at the behest of the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society, seeks to revive the debate, long considered settled by many, that the DNA evidence points not to Thomas Jefferson, but to his brother Randolph. That’s one hell of a way to keep another pesky black-family reunion from taking place at Monticello.

Granted, the paradoxical history of our country’s third president is worth continued discussion. But, in light of all the race-baiting talk amongst the 2012 GOP candidates — and the utter dismissal by conservatives in Congress that race is an issue in America — we find it fascinating that anyone feels the need to “defend” Jefferson from the claim that he had a sexual relationship with a black woman. And we suspect that, for these self-described colorblind conservatives, it’s like waking up to the news that Nancy Reagan’s first husband was Stepin Fetchit.

So what’s next? Clearly, whitewashing the future isn’t enough for today’s conservative. What will be their next challenge be in whitewashing American history?

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