Trump and the 1776 Commission


Greg Wang, Staff Writer

The 1619 Project, a project started by The New York Times, has been aiming to reframe the country’s history by recognizing the impact made by slavery, and the contribution made by Black Americans. However, the attempt at correcting the whitewashed history taught in our schools has not gone unnoticed by President Donald President Trump. On Sept. 17, President Trump unveiled the 1776 Commission, an executive order created in opposition to the 1619 Project to “teach our children about the miracle of American history.”

In the White House conference, President Trump slammed critical race theory and the 1619 Project, claiming that “the left has warped, distorted, and defiled the American story.” 

However, the efforts made by the 1619 Project aren’t what President Trump has made them out to be. It merely attempts to show that the country is built on oppression, which President Trump and other notable conservatives have repeatedly denied. 

Our country was built by slavery and oppression, despite President Trump’s vehement denial of this. However, his denial is an insult to the lives of the oppressed. While we may have made some progress, America took a very long time to abandon slavery and move past it. In fact, the Southern states were so unwilling to give it up that they went to war over it, claiming that they were defending their way of life. 

Even after that, America had Jim Crow laws, literacy tests, and many blatantly racist institutions to take the place of slavery. Yet slavery is barely taught in history classes. While educators may acknowledge that it was a blight upon our history, the textbooks soften and distort the truth. When the atrocities America has committed are diminished by its own education system, no wonder some people can claim that America is the greatest country, completely ignorant of the truth.

As Frederick Douglass once said of his attempts to abolish slavery, “he who is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins”. Douglass then described a true patriot as someone who recognizes that the country has its problems, and that they must be condemned. The 1619 Project has brought the problems Douglass spoke of into the spotlight in an attempt to properly reframe the nation’s history. The Project aims to introduce more information about the impact of slavery into the curriculum. Yet, President Trump claims that the changes are all left-wing propaganda, and that it is a distortion of our history. Rather than facing the issues in our nation’s history and condemning them, President Trump seeks to bury them and deny their existence. The 1776 Commission, by erasing changes that expose the true nature of America’s history, is a hypocritical move by President Trump that will brainwash future generations to believe that America truly is the greatest country, when we clearly aren’t. 

By attempting to suppress critical race theory, President Trump is trying to preserve the racist system we have in place; a system predicated by a legacy of oppression. While I won’t deny that America has done great things, it has also committed many atrocities. The 1776 Commission aims to suppress those atrocities to make America seem like a great country, teaching future generations an incomplete history in order to preserve the system. 

The 1776 Commission’s propagandistic obscuration of certain parts of American history are a dangerous step towards fascism. A fascist country is generally characterized by an authoritarian government and extreme nationalism. By using propaganda in the educational system, a leader could easily indoctrinate young people with nationalistic material. The Nazis used a similar strategy to indoctrinate their youth, teaching them to be loyal to the government, and filling everything with propaganda. The commission’s purpose of creating a “patriotic education” is merely a thinly veiled attempt to fill the textbooks with fascist material. 

President Trump has already made other moves towards a fascist country. By blaming all of his problems on “left-wing mobs”, he has already successfully created a scapegoat to take the blame for any problems that arise. Hitler’s regime had this too, as he used Jews and left-wing people as scapegoats. Since the beginning of the year, President Trump has blamed peaceful protesters for what he claims to be riots, accusing them of being members of Antifa and terrorists. While there may have been some looters hidden among the protesters, most of the protesters have been peaceful unless agitated by police. By pointing out a few instances of violence and ignoring the fact that his inflammatory speech helped spur the police, he has created more scapegoats. 

President Trump has already utilized this to campaign, calling this “Biden’s America,” despite the problems being the result of a flawed police system and his actions. He has also called the free press “the enemy of the people” whenever they speak ill of him, and many news sources have been deemed “fake news”. 

Furthermore, President Trump has set measures in place to suppress any opposition, forcefully if necessary. This has been evidenced by the abductions of protesters in Portland. President Trump has already gone as far as to mobilize police and the National Guard to suppress any protesters, even if they are protesting peacefully. These measures are similar to the suppressive measures utilized by Mussolini’s fascist regime. 

President Trump’s 1776 Commission is a dangerous attempt at introducing nationalistic propaganda into our educational system. While we haven’t reached a full on fascist state yet, the commission, along with various other decisions from President Trump, are bringing us dangerously close.


Photo courtesy of NYPOST.COM