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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Right, Our History, and The Fear of Understanding

The Modern American Right has always had an issue with the accurate portrayals of American History and it being displayed in text and film formats. That's always troubled me. And I'm not alone. Enter Oliver Stone and Showtime. The Right, whether in their more modest and farthers forms, have never liked Stone. I can almost see why - to a fault. From Stone's earlier works like Platoon to his forays into the world of documentaries like Persona Non Gratta, Stone has been cast in the character of a pariah for decades. Now he's about to complete another magnum opus for Showtime on American's "real" history. Enter William Bigelow and the serial distortionists at the Breitbart Media Complex
The polemic, which airs its final installment at 8 p.m. EST tomorrow night, intentionally distorts history in order to paint the United States as a terrible country that oppressed its people and hid the seamy side of its past. Ronald Radosh, in a brilliant attack on Stone and Kuznick in the Wall Street Journal, explains how they twist the truth in order to promulgate their attack on the noblest of nations. He begins by noting that Kuznick wrote in a book of essays that his role entails “creating a bridge between leftist and more moderate students … try to radicalize some of the more moderate and liberal students.” Kuznick said of the Vietnam War that America had gone so far "to the dark side" that "we were the wrong side." The authors deny that the Cold War was necessary, arguing that it only transpired because President Franklin D. Roosevelt dumped his socialist vice-president Henry A. Wallace (their hero) for Harry Truman in 1944. They assert that if Wallace had succeeded Roosevelt instead of Truman, everything would have been hunky dory with the Soviets.
While the documentary, regardless of subject matter, requires that somewhat of a common theme or narrative been reinforced throughout it's running time, the Modern American Right have clearly injected their own narrative without even the slightest attempt to understand that the history of this country isn't all waving flags, rhetorical flourishes from great men and women, and people prospering in the face of adversity. It was - and still is - at many times a bloody and scary place to call home and some of it's primary characters didn't always have a life that was white as snow. So here's the question - what does the Modern American Right have against even mentioning the seemingly more darker portion of our nation's history? They are all too willing at times to talk to us about "the truth", but are quite hesitant when that truth is revealed. This isn't to say that Stone's work on the Showtimes series didn't have historical plot-holes or spend longer stretches of time on subjects where more of a wealth of solid information is available or even hypothesize to a degree. Does that make it a documentary that is without merit? No. Does this mean that Stone is attempting to say that America is a place of nothing but evil and where not everyone is created equal? Not in the least. I'm not going to hold my breath in the hopes that the Modern American Right are going to even begin to accept the true history of our nation within my lifetime. Maybe never - based solely on the fact that they are creating their own dark history of this country, but it doesn't include anything about the Right - as the dark history revolves exclusively within the realm of anyone or anything that doesn't accept conservative or even libertarian beliefs as holy writ.

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