|The culture wars invade the AlamoInboxPOLITICO Nightly <email@example.com> UnsubscribeJul 7, 2021, 7:03 PM (17 hours ago)to meJul 07, 2021View in browser BY RENUKA RAYASAMWith help from Quint Forgey and Patterson ClarkHOW TO REMEMBER THE ALAMO — The Alamo’s halo extends far beyond the San Antonio square it occupies. For many Americans, the historic site is a symbol of the virtuousness of fighting in a righteous, losing cause. Texas politicians have long debated how to depict the 1836 battle in which Davy Crockett and a handful of Texas legends unsuccessfully tried to defend the outpost against the Mexican army. But a new book has made the argument more urgent, especially because it’s being released at a time when the GOP has been fighting progressive attempts to incorporate racial reckoning into American history curriculums. Today Texas Gov. Greg Abbott included a ban on critical race theory in schools on the agenda for a special legislative session that starts Thursday. He’s already signed a bill that prescribes a list of founding documents that Texas students must be taught. And last week the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin canceled an event, after pressure from Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, for the authors of Forget the Alamo, a newly published book that is part of an effort to recast the Texas creation myth as a battle for white slaveholders. |
Dan Phillips, a member of the San Antonio Living History Association, patrols the Alamo during a pre-dawn memorial ceremony to remember the 1836 Battle of the Alamo and those who fell on both sides, in San Antonio. | AP Photo/Eric GayBryan Burrough, a longtime Vanity Fair correspondent and one of the book’s co-authors, talked with Nightly today about how the Alamo became embroiled in the new culture war over American history. This conversation has been edited.The Alamo has so much symbolism in Texas. Abbott signed a number of conservative gun bills at the San Antonio spot a few weeks ago. Can you describe what it means to Texans?It’s always been broadly accepted that the Alamo is the heart of the Texas creation myth, the heart of the whole idea of Texas exceptionalism — which is the idea that we were somehow a cut above the Rhode Islands and the Delawares of the world. And that is an idea that probably is a little bit more popular with Anglos and older conservatives. Where once opinion was monolithic about the Alamo 50 years ago, it has slowly divided the state over the last 15 years with the birth of Alamo revisionism, which we trace to the oral traditions of the Mexican American community. The book builds on 30 or 40 years of new academic work to bring these ideas to a broader audience. I’m aware that three middle-age white guys are not the ideal messenger for that, but look, nobody else was saying it. Well, Mexican Americans in Texas have been saying it for awhile. This was utterly news to me, like it was to a lot of Anglos, what the Alamo and the Texas creation myth have meant to Mexican Americans in Texas. The way it’s been used to beat them down. Until the last few years I was proud of these myths. How should the Alamo be taught in Texas schools?What we’re advancing is the standard academic understanding of the Texas revolt. What’s radical is the fact that a great portion of Texas Anglos still accept these and embrace these fanciful legends. At a time when America is going through such a sweeping reassessment of its racial past, it’s time for Texas and the Alamo to stop getting a pass, to actually deal with its history, to rediscover the actual history, the actual Alamo, rather than the one of legend. Why is it so hard for many Texans to accept what you are trying to say in this book?This book is incredibly hard for Texans to accept, because they grew up being taught this just like they were taught the Bible or the Constitution or anything else. It was fact, not open to question. On an emotional level, this speaks to what many Texans want to believe desperately about the state, that it arose from heroic circumstances, that there’s a reason that the state is special and therefore you and I are special. The first time I told my girlfriend the name of this book, she literally slithered out of the booth onto the floor. This is sacrilege down here.Don’t hate me Iowans, but without the Alamo, Texas is just Iowa. Welcome to POLITICO Nightly. Reach out with news, tips and ideas for us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @RenuRayasam.
SUBSCRIBE TO WEST WING PLAYBOOK: Add West Wing Playbook to keep up with the power players, latest policy developments and intriguing whispers percolating inside the West Wing and across the highest levels of the Cabinet. For buzzy nuggets and details you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe today. WHAT’D I MISS?— Trump filing class action suits against Twitter, Facebook and Google: Former President Donald Trump said today that he filed class action lawsuits against the leaders of Facebook, Twitter and Google after he was booted off their platforms in January. Trump’s political operation issued fundraising appeals almost immediately after the announcement.— Remaining metal fencing around Capitol set to come down: The remaining metal fencing surrounding the Capitol is set to come down more than six months after the worst attack on the building since the War of 1812. The removal of the remaining fencing around the Capitol is expected to begin as early as this Friday and finish within three days, weather permitting, according to a memo from House Sergeant at Arms William Walker that was sent to all members of Congress and staff.— Conservative climate caucus head: GOP has shifted on warming: Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) says he’s poised to lead his party to the negotiating table in search of durable solutions to the climate challenge after years of working to understand the issue. He announced a new Conservative Climate Caucus last month, complete with the backing of nearly a third of House Republicans, in hopes of getting the GOP more comfortable talking about climate and their proposals. Curtis, a former mayor of Provo, Utah, who came to Congress in 2017, understands the skepticism some may have toward the group, and said he’s “ready to be judged” in a year on what effect it’s had on the climate change conversation.— Judge: Air Force mostly at fault in 2017 Texas church attack: A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Air Force is mostly responsible for a former serviceman killing more than two dozen people at a Texas church in 2017 because it failed to submit his criminal history into a database, which should have prevented him from purchasing firearms. U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez in San Antonio wrote in a ruling signed today that the Air Force was “60 percent responsible” for the deaths and injuries at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. The attack remains the worst mass shooting in Texas history.— Adams waxes national in post-primary interviews as Garcia and Wiley concede: Eric Adams hit the airwaves today to discuss how his Democratic primary win, which is almost certain to propel him into Gracie Mansion, has larger implications for the national politics of policing, violence prevention and public safety. “We have demonized public protection in this city and this country because we have too many abusive officers who are allowed to stay in our agency,” he said during an interview with CBS. “But at the same time, we have ignored the problems that fed violence in our country. And I say we need to stop doing that. New York is going to show America how to run cities.”— Belgium urgently recalls envoy in Seoul after wife’s second fight: Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès is recalling the country’s ambassador to Seoul “without further delay” after his wife’s fights have become big news in South Korea for the second time in four months. Belgium had already officially recalled Ambassador Peter Lescouhier in May after CCTV footage of his wife slapping a shopkeeper triggered a national scandal in Korea in April.
SUBSCRIBE TO “THE RECAST” TODAY: Power is shifting in Washington and in communities across the country. More people are demanding a seat at the table, insisting that politics is personal and not all policy is equitable. The Recast is a twice-weekly newsletter that explores the changing power dynamics in Washington and breaks down how race and identity are recasting politics and policy in America. Get fresh insights, scoops and dispatches on this crucial intersection from across the country and hear critical new voices that challenge business as usual. Don’t miss out, SUBSCRIBE . Thank you to our sponsor, Intel. AROUND THE WORLDASSASSINATION ROCKS HAITI — Breaking news reporter Quint Forgey emails Nightly:As you’ve probably heard, Haiti’s president — 53-year-old Jovenel Moïse — was killed overnight in his private residence in the hills above the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The attack also severely wounded first lady Martine Moïse.The assassination of its leader is just the latest blow to the Carribean nation, which is battling a host of crises related to crime, Covid and accusations of mounting authoritarianism.Moïse ruled by decree for more than a year after Haiti failed to hold elections, and he had recently taken steps to expand his power despite calls by opposition leaders to step down.Just a day before his death, Moïse unilaterally tapped a new prime minister — the seventh of his presidential tenure — to form a government. But in a private call with lawmakers today, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Michele Sison noted that Moïse’s appointee hasn’t even been sworn in yet. Further complicating the line of succession, the head of Haiti’s Supreme Court died two weeks ago after contracting Covid.So who runs Haiti now? For the time being, it appears as though interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph is in charge. He said in a statement today that the country’s National Police and armed forces were in “control” of its security.Things could change in September, when Haiti is scheduled to begin elections. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a briefing today that it’s “still the view of the United States that elections this year should proceed.”But Sison, the U.S. envoy, didn’t seem too optimistic about that timetable during her phone call with lawmakers.“The political parties were to have registered for those elections from Tuesday to Friday of this week,” she said. “Obviously, with this terrible development, whether free, fair and credible elections can be held in a situation where parties cannot register for those elections would be something that we would need to be looking at.”
FROM THE HEALTH DESKDELTA’S SPREAD — The CDC estimates that about 52 percent of new U.S. Covid-19 cases are from the more highly contagious and potentially more dangerous Delta variant, which was first detected in India. CDC estimates that between June 20 and July 3, the Delta strain caused more than 80 percent of new cases across Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. Patterson Clark’s graphic below shows the increase in Delta cases as part of the U.S. total.
NIGHTLY NUMBER$400,000The payment Trump National Golf Club Colts Neck will make to the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control over a fatal drunken driving crash in 2015 . As part of the agreement, the club in Monmouth County will also restrict alcohol sales to designated areas, including the main clubhouse and halfway house. The settlement was released as Trump announced his tech class action lawsuits in Bedminster.PARTING WORDSPOLITICAL FIGHTS HEAD TO THE HILLTOP — Republican-held statehouses are clamping down on classroom discussions of systemic racism. Trump is still pushing for “patriotic education.” And the GOP has turned “critical race theory” into a campaign talking point. Howard University made it clear this week it wants in, Delece Smith-Barrowwrites.The Washington, D.C., institution is beefing up its faculty by adding two central figures regularly targeted by conservatives for their writings about slavery, discrimination and white privilege: Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, and reparations advocate and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. The university is already sensitive to the political mood of the capital city. As the only federally chartered historically black college or university, Howard is poised to face more flack from a Republican Party increasingly animated by its opposition to teaching young people about the nation’s long history of discrimination.But the school’s leader wants the institution to embrace the political tension of the moment.“Howard has been on a caravan to social justice for 153-154 years,” Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick said in a phone interview Tuesday. “That caravan is in a pregnant moment right now where it’s swollen. Lots of people have joined that caravan.”Did someone forward this email to you? Sign up here. Follow us on TwitterRenuka Rayasam @renurayasamChris Suellentrop @suellentropTyler Weyant @tweyantMyah Ward @myahward FOLLOW US To change your alert settings, please log in at https://www.politico.com/_login?base=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.politico.com/settingsThis email was sent to email@example.com by: POLITICO, LLC 1000 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA, 22209, USA