"Today's Tea Party adherents are George Wallace legacies." "[Glenn] Beck is an ignorant, divisive, pathetic figure." If those sentences sound to you like they're straight out of the op-ed pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times, you'd be right. But they can also be found in a college textbook assigned to students at a community college in Texas.
"Read, Reason, Write: An Argument Text and Reader" is a critical reading and analysis book assigned to freshmen at Lone Star College-University Park in Houston. Its 10th edition features a collection of readings excoriating Beck and the Tea Party, while providing only the barest counter point of view. The two sentences above came from op-ed pieces in the Post and Times that were reprinted in the book's 23rd chapter: "America: Embracing the Future -- or Divided by Conflict?" The line about the Tea Party is from Post columnist Colbert I. King's March 2010 piece, "In the faces of Tea Party shouters, images of hate and history", while the line about Beck comes from the Times' Bob Herbert's "America Is Better Than This," published in August 2010. King compares the Tea Party to the protesters who stood to block the Little Rock Nine in 1957 and those who cheered ex-Klansman David Duke at a rally in 1991. He describes Tea Party members picketing on Capitol Hill during the health care debate and says they're the legacy of George Wallace, the former Alabama governor who famously declared: "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever":
They see the world through the eyes of the anti-civil rights alumni. "Washington, D.C." now, as then, is regarded as the Great Satan. This is the place that created the civil rights laws that were shoved down their throats. This is the birthplace of their much-feared "Big Government" and the playground of the "elite national news media."
In "America Is Better Than This" -- published on the eve of Beck's Restoring Honor event in Washington, D.C. -- Herbert says there is "no road too low for [Beck] to slither upon."
He is an integral part of the vicious effort by the Tea Party and other elements of the right wing to portray Mr. Obama as somehow alien, a strange figure who is separate and apart from -- outside of -- ordinary American life.
The book, first brought to The Blaze's attention by a professor at the college, does feature an article by Arthur C. Brooks, president of the conservative American Enterprise Institute. Brooks' 2010 piece, "America's new culture war: Free enterprise vs. government control," is the only reading in the chapter that can be said to offer any real counterpoint, and it's limited to one paragraph:
"And while some have tried to dismiss the 'Tea Party' demonstrations and the town hall protests of last summer as the work of extremists, ignorant backwoodsmen or agents of the health care industry, these movements reveal much about the culture war that is underway."
Vicki Cassidy, a spokeswoman for the Lone Star College System, told The Blaze two faculty members at University Park use the book, but said the chapter in question is not assigned and the readings -- part of a supplementary section -- are not part of the syllabus. Other chapters in the supplementary section deal with the environment (Chapter 17: "How Do We Cope With Climate Change") and marriage (Chapter 19: "Marriage and Gender Issues: The Debates Continue") Cassidy said the book was first adopted in 2006 before it contained the readings in question. Textbooks are selected by a faculty committee that does not typically re-examine subsequent editions of previously adopted material. She confirmed the book's current edition was not re-examined before it was assigned to students. The committee may opt to revisit its material this summer, she said. Of the two faculty members who teach out of the book, Cassidy did not immediately know how many classes it has been assigned to. She also did not immediately know whether the book is assigned at other colleges within the Lone Star College system.