Et tu Texas?
Deuce Richardson scouted this up — from the Dallas Morning News:
AUSTIN — A panel advising the State Board of Education on what seventh-graders should learn in their social studies courses has urged deleting the label “heroic” from a curriculum standard about the Alamo’s defenders…
…Current seventh-grade social studies curriculum standards include the “siege of the Alamo and all of the heroic defenders who gave their lives there.” The advisory committee recommended cutting the phrase “and all of the heroic defenders who gave their lives there.”
… The recommendation, made in a report issued last month, was one of several hundred tweaks, additions and deletions offered up by the advisory group reviewing state curriculum standards for social studies. The panel said “heroic” was a “value-charged word.”
I won’t bother to wade into the profligate use of the term across all sorts of social causes. You can fill in the blanks yourself with a dozen examples a day. I will simply say this, in paraphrase of John Milius, who understands much about heroism and manliness:
It doesn’t matter if we remember whether the defenders of the Alamo were good men or bad. Maybe it doesn’t even matter anymore why they fought or why they died. But as long as we give a damn about courage, commitment and sacrifice, it will matter that few stood against many. That is what’s important.
Sure, the Alamo has been mythologized and propagandized — starting on March 7, 1836. I freely acknowledge the iconic power of my youthful image of Davy Crockett in his coonskin cap and fringed buckskins, going down swinging as a balladeer sings:
Storybooks tell they were all cut low
But the truth of it is, that just ain’t so
Their spirits live and their legends grow
As long as we remember the Alamo
As a grown man and a frontier historian, I don’t need the Disneyfied version. I accept the possibility that Crockett didn’t go down swinging — that he surrendered in the face of overwhelming firepower and was then executed, or that he was among a handful that attempted a breakout during the storming of the fort on March 6, and died on the plain, run down and skewered by Mexican lancers.
And maybe Sam Houston right, that the Texians should have just abandoned the indefensible old mission and blown the damn place up.
Doesn’t matter. Crockett and all the approximately 200 men who fell that day did their damndest in the face of overwhelming odds, in a fight they knew was doomed. That’s heroic. Full stop.
The article quotes Walter Buenger, a historian who specializes in Texas history at the University of Texas at Austin, who said he could understand why there may be a desire to remove as subjective a descriptor as “heroic” from discussions of those involved in the battle.
“Many times the Alamo gets boiled down, as it often does in movies, to the Mexicans are the bad guys and the good guys are good Anglos in coonskin caps,” Buenger said. He noted that many Mexicans fought alongside Texans in the siege.
“Part of the problem with the word heroic may be that it’s too simplistic,” he said.
That’s horseshit. The Mexicans who fought on the rebel side were heroic, too. See? Simple. Fixed it for you.
There’s an agenda here, and it’s not a political one — it’s cultural. Bury the manly virtues and “redefine masculinity.” Because the ultimate measure of a man is his willingness to stand before the foe and die in the defense of his people. That is the blood sacrifice of men. That sacral purpose what is ultimately under assault here, and, to paraphrase Col. William Barrett Travis, “we will rather die in these ditches than give up this post to the enemy.”