Correcting Big Lies about America

There are few countries so eager to acknowledge their faults as this one.

  • Monday, December 1, 2008 6:09pm
  • Opinion

There are few countries so eager to acknowledge their faults as this one.

Think about it. America not only acknowledges its drawbacks, it often dwells on them. Entire departments in universities across the country disseminate the downside of America’s history. Sometimes the criticism is warranted. Occasionally it’s exaggerated or worse, and is unintentionally carried into the popular culture through the news media.

An example of this appeared in the Redmond Reporter’s Thanksgiving editorial last month (visit www.redmondreporter.com). It accussed Americans of “ignoring the sins of the past”. Which sins?

“Genocide”, specifically the “death and destruction of the Native Americans.”

“You can bet”, the editorial intoned, “they were never thankful for the famine, war, death and plagues brought on by the Europeans.”

The editorial reminds us that the natives were “happily settled” before their country was seized from them, then built “on the backs of slaves, and made powerful through numerous wars.”

Coincidentally, this weeks’s column is about a new bestseller that would make a great Christmas gift: Michael Medved’s “The 10 Big Lies About America” (Crown Forum publishers). It is the perfect antidote to the gratuitous America bashing that goes on in the name of “confronting America’s past”. Medved both corrects the record and convincingly nails fraudulent scholars who misrepresent the past for political purposes.

And the first Big Lie Medved uncovers? “America was founded on Genocide against Native Americans”.

First of all, Native Americans were not “happily settled” before Europeans arrived. Early death, famine, war, slavery and disease were a reality long before Columbus, Jamestown settlers or Pilgrims landed here.

Medved does not dispute the many injustices endured by Native Americans over the centuries. But genocide? Let’s be clear about terminology. “Genocide” according to the American Heritage Dictionary, is “the systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political or ethnic group.” Hitler’s Final Solution of “the Jewish Problem” is often cited as an example.

The Native American population declined rapidly with the onset of European settlement, but Medved points out that much of it came from infectious diseases that decimated tribal populations with Old World diseases long before people knew how these illnesses were spread. In many cases, the germs were carried by explorers and coastal traders, and far outpaced the settlers. When the Pilgrims arrived, they found corn and land that had been cleared, but saw nary an Indian for months.

Was there brutality? Certainly – on both sides, as Medved documents – but unwarranted attacks on Indians, were condemned by the US government.

Medved, a Mercer Island resident and author who hosts one of America’s most popular radio programs, points out another overlooked reason for the reduction of tribal populations: the mixed marriages of natives to settlers, pioneers and freed slaves. Tens of millions of Americans today carry Indian blood in their veins from ancestors who abandoned old tribal ways and embraced the progress unfolding around them.Among the other Big Lies Medved tackles: “The US is uniquely guilty for the crime of slavery and based its wealth on stolen African labor (Big lie #2); “America is an Imperialist Nation and a Constant Threat to World peace” (Big Lie #7) and “America is in the midst of an irreversible moral Decline (Big Lie #10).

Medved’s book reassures the reader that much of the criticism you hear about America’s past is exaggerated. Buy it for yourself, a friend, a family member, or your favorite journalist.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Opinion

Guest columnist Greg Asimakoupoulos is chaplain at Covenant Living at the Shores in Mercer Island.
It’s time to talk turkey about turkeys | Guest column

So how do you feel about turkeys? When I was 12 years… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Not much changed from what we knew on election night | Roegner

This column was due before the election was certified. However, not much… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Washington’s secretary of state leaves big shoes to fill | Roegner

Secretary of State Kim Wyman recently announced she will leave her state… Continue reading

Dr. Jayendrina Singha Ray serves as Faculty of English at Highline College. Her research interests include postcolonial studies, spatial literary studies, British literature, and rhetoric and composition. Prior to teaching in the U.S., she worked as an editor with Routledge and taught English at colleges in India.
What the Afghan wants to say: A story of resettlement | Guest column

The wind is strong. It carries the colored leaves of fall to… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
The rest of the story: Sound Transit, Rolovich and Lambert | Roegner

All of the reporters I know are ethical and trustworthy. But I… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
When it comes to power, Washington may be falling behind | Brunell

For years, Washington state masked its high business and regulatory costs with… Continue reading

tsr
Domestic violence victims need more housing options

Column: As a result of stay-at-home measures from the pandemic, domestic violence rates have worsened in King County.

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Why should the threat to Taiwan concern us in WA? | Brunell

Unfortunately, what happens in Taiwan doesn’t just stay in Taiwan — it… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Election 2021: Closer look at King County races | Roegner

The race for Mayor of Seattle will dominate the regional media, but… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Our economy works when consumers pick winners | Brunell

Poland and America are like two trains passing each other in opposite… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Big-time politics: Redistricting for 2022 elections | Roegner

Based on new census data, which shows Washington state has grown by… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Questions surround vaccine exemptions for state workers | Roegner

With about 4,800 state employees in 24 agencies requesting vaccine exemptions, which… Continue reading