• Nicholas L. Farrow

OPINION: He Who Controls The Past, Controls The Future

Illinois state Rep. LaShawn K. Ford joined community leaders to call for the abolishment of history classes in schools.

Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.

A quote from George Orwell's, 1984. If that quote above sounds familiar or similar to things going on today, its because today we are seeing an attack on our history. Today we are seeing our history destroyed or left out in teaching in the name of racism. Many believe that because our history has events and occurrences that may have involved racism, we should get rid of all statues to it and end all teaching of it to our children.

As I mentioned in a previous article here on The National Times, the world of Orwell's 1984 brings to light what a government that has complete control of its people would look like. I even brought up how the main character, Winston, works for the Ministry of Truth which has the role of erasing, falsifying, and forging any piece of history that contradicts what the Party says. In this article, I'd like to explore how we are seeing the beginning of that level of censorship.

The censorship of our history has been going on for years in the form of getting rid of the statues to Confederate Generals and those who supported the Confederacy. While that may seem justified, that was only the beginning of the censorship. In this case, the saying, give an inch and they'll take it a mile has come to fruition.

When it came to the Confederate statues, many suggested the idea that the statues be removed from the public grounds and moved onto the National Park Battlefields, but even that idea has been turned down by those who wish to see all of the statues comes down. Recently, The House of Representatives passed a bill which would have our battlefields take down all Confederate "commemorative works," if it were to be passed by the Senate and signed by the President. The bill in question is HR-7608, which was passed on July 24th by a vote of 224-189, which states that the National Park Service (NPS):

Shall remove from display all physical Confederate commemorative works, such as statues, monuments, sculptures, memorials, and plaques, as defined by NPS, Management Policies 2006, §9.6.1"

That then means all such Confederate items from Gettysburg, Antietam, Manassas, Fredericksburg, Appomattox, Petersburg, Fort Donaldson, Stone River, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Tupelo, Corinth, and Chickamauga and ,any others would all come down.

The issue with HR-7608 is that this part about the Confederate statues was skillfully buried deep inside of this 727-page appropriations bill by the House Democrats. The main purpose of this bill was to fund State, Agriculture departments, as well as the EPA and the Department of the Interior.

But, in the past few months, the protestors and rioters in the streets have taken it upon themselves to not just vandalize and pull down Confederate statues, but also statues of prominent figures like Christopher Columbus, George Washington, and Frederick Douglass. None of them supported the Confederacy or were Confederates so why are they under attack? Because our history as a whole is under attack.

In Illinois, state representatives have decided to bring up the idea of abolishing all history curriculum in public schools. Their reasoning behind this decision comes from their belief that the current history curriculum leads to a racist society and it overlooks the contributions of women and minorities. As said by Democrat Illinois State Representative LaShawn K. Ford in a press release at the beginning of this month:

I’m calling on the Illinois State Board of Education and local school districts to take immediate action by removing current history books and curriculum practices that unfairly communicate our history until a suitable alternative is developed

The problem is there is not a suitable alternative to history that does not involve the changing of facts, the falsifying of documents, and the misinterpretation of events. This we get a quote from Orwell's 1984 which I also incorporated into the title of this article.

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

State Representative Ford alluded to what is being discussed in that quote as he says that the way our history curriculum is now, it leads to more a racist society. So in that case, the past is controlling the future. The next step it would seem the Democrats want to take is to control the past through the process of taking down the Confederate monuments on the battlefields as well as through changing the curriculum that our children learn in school.

Truly, Orwell was ahead of his time when it comes to the world that he created in 1984. Sadly though it would appear we are getting closer and closer to a world as Orwell described. We must stand up against such legislation that impacts our history and teaching of history so deeply. Whether it is racist or not, we must preserve our history.


Nicholas Farrow is an Opinion Contributor for the National Times