It was August 12 around 3:00 P.M. The lines to check out at the bookstore were endless. The aisles inside the bookstore were no better, people packed side to side as students (both returning and new) scrambled to get their books before they sold out. Fortunately, I was picking up my last book needed for my US History Class entitled, “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn. I flipped open the first few chapters and what initially met my eyes stunned me. Chapters titled, “The Socialist Challenge,” “The Grand Empire,” and “The Intimately Oppressed” met my eyes. I shut the book (MSRP $36.00) and grudgingly purchased it. Immediately I got home and “Googled” the author.
What I discovered about Howard Zinn was not all that surprising: a declared socialist. I had no choice but to take the class to complete a requirement for my double major.
Fast-forward to Tuesday morning, August 23 at 8:00 A.M. After having seen the textbook assigned for the class, I was curious to learn about my professor, a teacher who so openly professes the socialist doctrine. I wanted to know what I would be up against in the next fifteen weeks, so I Googled him too. I found his name at the top of the list for the most liberal professors at Boise State University. Being a facetious conservative, I quickly threw on my Ronald Reagan t-shirt and rushed to class.
It was now 9:15 A.M. and class was about to start. The professor, hereafter known as Professor L, walked into class with only a few seconds to spare. He had hardly opened his mouth when he turned ever so slowly to look at me, proudly sporting my Ronald Reagan shirt. If you’ve ever seen “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” the character Count Olaf played by Jim Carrey, with a full head of hair, is the only fair description that I can give to accurately portray the image of this professor. He gave me a toothy grin, as he went on to complete his greeting, “Good Morning, Class,” lowering of his voice to a near whisper.
Professor L began the lecture: “So…who knows about the Grand Army of Starvation?! Hmm? ANYone…aaaanyone at all?”
“YOU!” he cried with a sarcastically gleeful voice, “with the Reagan shirt! You must know! After all, you have Reagan on your shirt.” As he instructed me to stand up and show my shirt to the class, he read my shirt aloud:
“Lord, if you’re not coming back anytime soon, could you at least send back Ronald Reagan?”
He continued in his tirade, “so, young man, what do you think? That Ronald Reagan will come back down on a mighty steed just like that Jesus guy (or whatever his name is) all glorified and shining and save our miserable and crumbling nation and smite all the evil, nasty liberals?” As I looked at him disdainfully, I instantly wondered how a man like this found a job as an educator of American History, in a university no less. He eventually told me to sit back down as he continued on with his lecture. He proceeded to bash history teachers for supposedly not teaching us what “true U.S. History” (class warfare, gender inequality, etc.) was.
As if his previous actions weren’t enough, the professor concluded the class by asking me if I was a spy for Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry. Needless to say, I knew I was going to have a fun semester. That day sums up the first semester of my sophomore year in college.
Besides the class warfare, social injustice method of teaching history, and beyond his existence as a self-declared Marxist, Professor L is a genius.
No matter how hard it is, you have to speak up. Raise your hand and question your professors. Questioning authority is never a sin, so long as you find a way to do it with dignity and strategy.
Be proud of who you are and what you believe. Your strength in the face of deceit could cause a radical revolution in your classroom.