I knew the day would come when I would have to have The Talk with Fiona. No, not about boys; that will happen soon enough.
As a resident of Virginia, even Northern Virginia, even Union-occupied Arlington (our dog park is right next to the remnants of Fort Ethan Allen) I knew that there would need to be a discussion of the way the Civil War is taught in our otherwise exceptional school system. I was tipped off to this when reviewing her teacher's summary of the Civil War study section. There they were: those innocuous, even noble words "states' rights," included in a commonwealth-provided list of several causes for the Civil War.
Let's cut to the chase: "States' rights" is bullshit. Those who yammer loudest about "states' rights" are the first to run to the federal government to impose their will on the country, then (Fugitive Slave Act etc.) as now (marriage definition amendments etc.).
The sole cause of the Civil War was slavery. Full stop. All other causes cited are subordinate thereto.
Fiona told me that she had answered "slavery" to a quiz question asking for the cause of the war, and got it back with the teacher's notation "and states' rights." Fiona's teacher is great and we are thrilled she is in her class, but I explained to Fiona that her teacher has to teach in the manner prescribed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. I also praised Fiona for giving the correct answer, but advised her to provide the looked-for answer while understanding that the truth may be somewhat at odds with that. (Hell, any adult can do that, right? Piece of cake. Hoo boy.)
Think I am over-reacting to something safely in our past? Think again.