I credit Zinn more than anyone else for igniting my radicalism, if I can even still call it that. I remember I was in a class at Columbia, and the subject of politics came up. Someone referenced A People’s History of the United States, and my curiosity was piqued. I bought the book within the week and my worldview hasn’t been the same since.
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world."
Form the opening line, “Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts.”
Zinn weaves a gripping narrative, that even after reading perhaps a hundred books about history and politics, I still find the most poignant and accurate account of the vicitims of the American Dream. His book was everything I knew had been omitted from my high school history curriculum. Page after page, I felt I was witness to someone finally exposing the great lie. I could see that America the great, the same one I refused to pledge allegiance to in the 4th grade, because I knew something wasn’t right, was in fact, as I had suspected, nothing but a beacon to greed and expansion, another imploding empire, like the long litany of others before it.
He once and for all, at least for me, proved that all the propaganda, all the marketing, all the textbooks were nothing more than poorly told lies. But, what separated Zinn, from say, Chomsky, was that he used his avuncular voice to slowly walk you through the story, the history. He was not using his intellect to reason with you, but rather he used his heart to appeal to your sense of common decency and truth. By telling the story of every group of people who had been ignored, abused, and murdered throughout the history of United States, Zinn simply reveals what we all already knew was there, uncompromised hypocrisy.
“I'm worried that students will take their obedient place in society and look to become successful cogs in the wheel - let the wheel spin them around as it wants without taking a look at what they're doing. I'm concerned that students not become passive acceptors of the official doctrine that's handed down to them from the White House, the media, textbooks, teachers and preachers.”Howard Zinn was perhaps the greatest American patriot of all time. His words and his legacy will live on for generations to come. He taught us that dissent is the highest form of patriotism, and for that I am thankful.
...and the river shall open for the righteous...someday...
... I only know one party,and that is freedom...