A Tale of Two Americas: What we Learned from the Debate

October 4, 2020

My Dear Reader,

For those that know me personally, you’ll know that for much of my early life, I lived in a small Massachusetts town. While I was there, I received a great education, worthy of that state’s pedigree. When I moved on to college, I felt that much of my first-year courses were more of a review of my high school senior classes, and I only attended a public school. My teachers were stellar and my educational foundation was one that I would hope that all of America’s students would have the opportunity to receive. However, my time in college, away from the great state of Massachusetts gave me a wider perspective on a topic that I believe is the center of all of our division. Not necessarily our anger towards one another, but the two separate visions of America.

In high school, we were taught from a number of books that were crafted by a devout Marxist Howard Zinn. His opinions on the history of the United States were to be taken at their face value, and discussion of Howard’s personal bias and belief systems were not to be questioned. Certainly at that stage of my life, and for many if not all of my classmates, we were not equipped with the knowledge or context to counter many of Zinn’s assumptions. This left us with one point of view of the actions of those who had come before us. Unfortunately for us, that point of view was extremely negative towards the actions of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For instance, we were taught, through Howard Zinn’s point of view, that the United States battled the Spanish in 1898 purely for imperial reasons, and that the US’s entry in any war was for corporate greed. This is not only untrue but has no historical grounding, and newspaper articles from the time clearly show the mistreatment of Cuban’s under Spanish rule. The horrific images of starvation are akin to the atrocities of later 20th-century events and US recruitment posters from the era often entice recruitment by stating “Remember the Maine and the Starving Cubans!” Had the conflict been for corporate or personal greed, recruitment for the time would not have been attempting to play on American empathy, because, according to Zinn’s view of history, Americans have no empathy.

The question that ties this experience in with the larger picture of today is why this viewpoint is taught at all. Why should our children learn to read into phrases from a bygone era and make erroneous judgments about a conflict that was fought for humanitarian purposes? The reason Zinn is taken at his word is that his political view of the world and its many different layers is based solely on a Marxist perspective, and in order to make sure that his view of the world is undisturbed by facts, he must ignore the context in order to further his narrative. As a result of this narrative-based history, we have an entire generation of young people who believe that the United States is a fundamentally bad or immoral nation. Even with mountains of evidence to the contrary.
This has produced a vision of two different Americas. On the right, there is the classical view of the United States, what was taught for generations and in my opinion, the correct lens with which to view our great nation. On the left, which has itself become much more Marxist in nature, views the US as a threat to their narrative of the world and her perceived class struggles. No where was that more apparent than on the debate stage. Donald Trump has resonated with so many, not because of his language or mannerisms, but because he is the best embodiment of this view of the United States. And for all his shortcomings, Joe Biden is viewed as a vessel for the left and their wish to fundamentally change the nature of America. This is why, when Joe Biden actively campaigns against tax cuts that would benefit all levels of society, his approval rating on that particular issue actually improved. People are not voting in their own interests in a personal manner, but rather in support of how they want to view the world and this is connected to their vision of their home country.

My worry is that with these two totally separate views of both history and humanity, how can we even begin to share a country. And furthermore, do we even want to?

To Your Creation and Potential,
Kevin Prendiville

P.S For those who actually care about the government taking more of your money, I’m giving away the first chapter of my book, Smoke and Mirrors, which you can read here: