There are several common themes found in our readings for this week. One of the most apparent themes is people revolting, whether it is against established governments, ideas or societal norms. Another theme commonly found in this weeks reading is the subtle ways that government has continuously kept people marginalized and tried to keep people’s thinking in line with the right wing ideology ever present in the United Sates. One of the more subtle ways, which people’s thinking has been influenced by government entities are through books and higher education.
One startling example of government entities shaping people’s way of thinking is found in A Peoples History of The United States. Howard Zinn states, “The CIA is now using several hundred American Academic (administrators, faculty members, graduate students engaged in teaching) who, in addition to providing leads and, on occasion, making introductions for intelligence purposes, write books and other material to be used for propaganda purposes abroad,(556)” This quote is quite intriguing in that highlights one of the ways that American ideology is spread globally.
These books and materials help shape the view of America in a way that most likely favors government powers and large corporations. Even here in the states we are constantly bombarded by right wing ideology ever present in the media outlets that are owned by the wealthy. The large corporate media outlets often glaze over or completely omit news that would be detrimental to government policy or corporate interests. Though government and corporate powers have constantly oppressed the marginalized members of society and tried to breaks their spirit, revolt is always present. The sixties and seventies were a time of change and new ideas.
The government had overtly targeted several factions of societies, Native Americans, Women, African Americans and the working class had all been downtrodden in the previous decades. Zinn captures the revolutionary mentality that was present in these decades. He states that, “It was not just a women’s movement, a prisoner’s movement, and Indian movement. There was general revolt against oppressive, artificial, previously unquestioned ways of living. It touched every aspect of personal life: childbirth, childhood, love, sex, marriage, dress music arts, sports, language, food housing, religion, literature, death, schools,(536). This quote seems to highlight the eternal spirit and hope that lives within people. Even after people had been imprisoned, beaten down and had family members murdered, they still carried on and united to fight against the government and corporate powers. Reading about the way corporations and government has influenced people’s thinking and action has formulated a few different questions in my head. First off, what kind of society would we live in today if history books reflected the true nature of American History? Secondly, What other ways has the U. S. government shaped people’s thinking, whether overtly or subconsciously?