If Senator Tom Cotton has his way, revisionist history when it comes to slavery will be a thing of the past sooner or later. He’s seeking to make it illegal to use the New York Times’s wishful thinking known as the 1619 Project in American schools.
While the people at NBC, and by extension, MSNBC, are correct that his effort will most likely not get much traction, let alone passing, the reporting on the story is full of not so veiled hits on Cotton and President Donald Trump for their telling and explaining the historical fact, not the narrative that masquerades as truth.
The president added, “Now they want to change 1492, Columbus discovered America. You know, we grew up, you grew up, we all did, that’s what we learned. Now they want to make it the 1619 Project. Where did that come from? What does it represent? I don’t even know.”
1619 Project focuses on the history of the United States around when the first slave ships arrived in North America which was then a colonial territory of European powers. The claim is more or less than this made the nation inherently racist. Sen. Cotton responded to that notion with an editorial published in an Arkansas newspaper.
“We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise, we can’t understand our country. As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction,” he said. Instead of portraying America as “an irredeemably corrupt, rotten and racist country,” the nation should be viewed “as an imperfect and flawed land, but the greatest and noblest country in the history of mankind,” Cotton said.
And how did NBC describe such a thoughtful way of looking at America? (The quotation marks are an editorial choice from the people at NBC.)
The Republican senator’s bill isn’t likely to gain traction anytime soon, but Cotton nevertheless took his case to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, telling the newspaper the 1619 Project is “left-wing propaganda,” “revisionist history,” and “a distortion of American history.”…
Not surprisingly, it wasn’t long before a controversy ensued over Cotton’s use of the phrase “necessary evil.” Obviously, describing slavery as “evil” was appropriate, but suggesting that slavery was once “necessary” is something else altogether.
Except that at the time, in the late eighteenth century, slavery, what little there actually was of it in the United States, WAS considered a necessary evil.
The people at NBC might look that up sometime.