Making Sense: History Books Get Gay Makeover

Michael Reagan
July 07, 2011

Michael Reagan

Eldest Son of President Ronald Reagan, New York Times Best-Selling Author

According to a shocking news report, California legislators have enacted legislation that gives the state the dubious distinction of being the first state in the nation to require public schools to include the contributions of gays and lesbians in their social studies curriculum. 

We can be certain that one result of this ill-advised move will subject kids to a form of what CIA spooks call "blow back" -- an inevitable result of a specific action. 

When I was a youngster I was teased and bullied for being an adopted child. In view of my personal experiences, should we add the contributions of adoptees to the legislation? How about adding the contributions of skinny kids, or kids with red hair, or extra-long legs or eyeglasses? 

Where does it stop?

Singling out a segment of the population for specific inclusion in school studies programs on the basis of their sexual preferences elevates what -- rightly or wrongly -- many see as a form of sexual perversion, to a civil right.

The bill, SB 48, passed on a party-line vote, adds lesbian, gay, bisexual and so-called transgendered people as well as those with physical or mental disabilities to the list of groups that schools must include in the lessons. It also would prohibit material that reflects adversely on gays.

Unless I'm badly mistaken, what the legislature has done is to classify sexual preference as a form of disability, meaning that those who adopt the lifestyle are mentally or physically disabled though no fault of their own. Somehow I seriously doubt that gays or cross-dressers will appreciate being classified as disabled as a result of their sexual orientation or preferences.

This is just another example of the tendency of legislators sticking their noses into the personal lives of the citizenry.

It will prove instructive to see how the state's lawmakers go about the job of implementing this absurd legislation. Will they, for example, rule that textbooks must describe what the state classifies as acceptable behavior? Or exactly how?

Should the state require textbooks used in its schools to provide play-by-play descriptions of the behavior they sanction? Just where does this stop? Should not the "contributions" of convicted thieves be celebrated? Or those of serial killers? Or embezzlers?

The matter of the content of school textbooks has long been a controversial subject, but until now it has never reached the point where specific parts of the population are singled out for preferential treatment, especially when the segment of the population is distinguished solely by their sexual preferences.

School textbooks should never be used to promote anybody's political positions. They should instruct, not propagandize the publisher's personal politics. 

According to news reports, San Francisco's Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano insists that SB 48 is crucial because gay students are being bullied. Republicans said the bill had good intentions but was ill-conceived, and raised concerns regarding indoctrination of children.

Assembly Speaker John Perez, the first openly gay speaker of the California Assembly, says, "This bill will require California schools to present a more accurate and nuanced view of American history in our social science curriculum by recognizing the accomplishments of groups that are not often recognized."

Sorry, Mr. Speaker, but the sexual preferences of groups "that are not often recognized" have no place in deciding the legitimacy of legislation. 

California Gov. Jerry Brown has yet to announce if he will sign the bill or follow in the footsteps of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who vetoed a similar bill on 2006.

One hopes the governor will have his veto pen handy. This bill is a monstrosity.

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