When Oklahoma City Council member JoBeth Hamon was sworn in early this year, she chose to use a copy of Marxist Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States,” rather than the Bible.
While there’s no law or policy that requires the use of a Bible for swearing-in ceremonies, Hamon upset traditions going back to ninth-century England.
In an email to me, Hamon explained that she comes from a social services background, so she wanted to center her campaign “on uplifting voices that aren’t often at the table when our governments make decisions”— the homeless, the car-less, and so forth, from whose perspective, she claimed, Zinn told U.S. history.
“A People’s History,” she thought, “would be a good reminder of who I seek to serve.”
Implicit in the ritual of taking oaths on the Bible is the acknowledgment of the need for God’s guidance—something that U.S. presidents have signaled since George Washington used his own personal Bible as the sacred object for his oath.
In Washington’s first inaugural address, he offered his “fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe,” and in his Farewell Address reminded the nation, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” And “national morality” could not “prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
Washington asked, “Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?”
Hamon sought the guidance not of God, but of a supporter and almost certainly a card-carrying member of the Stalin-controlled Communist Party USA, according to FBI files. Like others at the time, Zinn seems to have dropped his official membership in the Communist Party in order to infiltrate U.S. institutions, in his case by teaching at Spelman College and Boston University, where he attained a cult-like following.
His “A People’s History of the United States,” which has sold a record 2.6 million copies, casts George Washington as a racist money-grubber and Ho Chi Minh as the true Thomas Jefferson. It presents Soviet-backed insurgencies around the world as local independence movements and American women as slaves.
The 1949 communist takeover of China is presented as “the closest thing, in the long history of that ancient country, to a people’s government”—in stark contrast to the “corrupt dictatorship of Chiang Kai-shek.” The 100 million human beings that Mao and other communist dictators murdered in the 20th century are ignored. Zinn’s “history” was cobbled together from dubious sources—and by dishonest quotation that makes authors say the opposite of what they intended.
President Donald Trump has vowed that “America will never be a socialist country.” But the increasing support for socialism in our country, the politicization of everything, and worship of Zinn show that even if the president is right, it will be a close contest.
Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States,” which follows the contours of Communist Party USA leader William Z. Foster’s “Outline Political History of the Americas,” has been gaining influence exponentially since its original publication in 1980. It’s used in classrooms, in teacher-training courses, in the dozens of Zinn-inspired curricular materials available from the nonprofit Zinn Education Project, and in library books and textbooks that cite passages from it.
Our tax dollars support this indoctrination in other ways, such as a recent “teach-in” at the Smithsonian, a credit-bearing workshop for teachers that used Zinn’s twisted and plagiarized version of the discovery of America, and trained them in conducting an “Abolish Columbus Day” campaign in the classroom. The National Endowment for the Arts supported the Kronos Festival, where Zinn’s “penetrating words” were used to “unite music with energized action.”
Two generations have been steeped in Zinn’s America-hating history, and we are seeing its influence pervade our workplaces, politics, arts, and culture, especially among millennials. One of the most famous of that generation, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), in claiming that ICE detention centers were “concentration camps,” mimicked Zinn’s false depiction of earlier U.S. detention facilities for Japanese Americans during World War II.
Other less-famous millennials elected to political office have specifically claimed the history professor, who died in 2010, as their inspiration. Newly elected District Attorney Natasha Irving of Waldoboro, Maine, cited Zinn’s autobiography, “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train,” in her inaugural speech: “As district attorney, I cannot be neutral in the face of mass incarceration. I cannot be neutral in the prosecution of the sick for being sick, the poor for being poor.”
As if any of this were the reality of life in the United States—rather than the lies and distortions of Howard Zinn.
Mary Grabar holds a doctorate in English from the University of Georgia and is a resident fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization. Grabar is the author of “Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History that Turned a Generation against America,” recently published by Regnery History.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.