County Judge, Veronica Escobar

  • E. Anthony Martinez: The Ministry of Truth is thriving at the Texas         Board of Education
  • By E. Anthony Martinez \ Guest columnist Posted: 03/21/2010 12:00:00 AM MDT
  • BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. He is restoring the Party. He is rewriting your textbooks.
  • In the novel "Nineteen-Eighty-Four," Joseph Stalin's totalitarian Soviet regime inspired George Orwell to paint a dark world of perpetual government surveillance, passive mind control, and the political manipulation of news and history. Big Brother and the Party control everything.

  • When we meet Winston Smith, the protagonist, he is a low-level bureaucrat in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth. From his small cubicle, Winston's job is to rewrite the past -- historical documents and news articles -- to ensure Big Brother is never wrong.

  • In other departments of the Ministry, employees "vaporize" political dissidents and re-create the past as if the dissidents had never existed.

  • If Orwell had written for Texas, the Ministry of Truth is where you would find the Texas State Board of Education. In Orwellian fashion, the SBOE recently proposed a state social studies curriculum that rewrites Texas and American history and vaporizes the unwanted.

  • The vote was 10-5 along party lines, with a conservative Republican bloc in the majority.

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  • ons are unashamedly open in their ideological mission to revise the past. Board member Don McLeroy, a Republican from Bryan, has said, "We are adding balance.

  • History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left."

  • The enemies list is clear: liberal thinkers, non-Christians, hip-hop musicians, immigrants, Hispanics, anti-capitalists.

  • True to form, Texas schoolchildren will not learn in Texas textbooks that Hispanic Tejanos fought alongside Anglo Texians at the Alamo in 1836. With a single vote, the SBOE vaporized heroes like Juan Abamillo, Juan A. Badillo and Gregorio Esparza.

  • Neither will the civil-rights work of the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund or the League of United Latin American Citizens be taught in schools. With a state student population that is 44 percent Hispanic, the SBOE repeatedly ignored the central role of Hispanics in Texas' history.

  • This is the "balanced" world of the SBOE.

  • There are too many examples of the political and ideological revisions the SBOE made to a curriculum that will stand for the next 10 years -- but the most egregious is the vaporization of Thomas Jefferson and the First Amendment.

  • As it turns out, Jefferson coined the phrase separation of church and state in a letter to the Danbury Baptists. In the world of the "Christian" SBOE faction, this is akin to heresy.

  • Remember, Big Brother can never be wrong. SBOE member David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont, said, "I reject the notion by the Left of a constitutional separation of church and state."

  • What is ironic for the SBOE is that this is a biblical concept as well as a secular one. In Luke 20:22, Jesus is asked, "Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?"

  • Jesus answers, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God things which be God's."

  • In John 18:36, Jesus says, on his way to the cross, to Pontius Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world."

  • In other words, the state and the church are separate. Even the Baptist General Convention of Texas' Christian Life Commission expressed dismay that the board rejected the First Amendment over politics.

  • The SBOE concept of a church-run state is not an original one. In fact, Iran has a theocratic democracy that may serve as a model for the SBOE.

  • In that country, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is subordinate to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, a religious cleric. And upon closer inspection, it is a world not unlike that of "Nineteen-Eighty-Four."

  • The SBOE will hold a final vote on the curriculum standards in May.

  • E. Anthony Martinez is product of Texas public schools and a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso in Chicano Studies. He is thankful the SBOE never voted on that curriculum.

  • County Judge
    Veronica Escobar