The future of history

Robin Montgomery

The lives of Martin Luther King Jr and Sam Houston provide a model for bringing some sense of unity out of the divisiveness which characterizes political correctness in our time. Fundamental to that divisiveness is the concept of cultural determinism which holds that the sub culture into which one is drawn at a formative age becomes the pivotal and ultimate determiner of one’s values or standards of judgement. Sub cultures are essentially genetically based, tied to race, which augments the separateness.

Reinforcing divisiveness is the concept is cultural appropriation. This is especially apparent in terms of the black versus the white race. The tendency here is to label as politically incorrect or racist, any action by a member of the white race centered on displaying or behaving in a manner associated with black culture while divorced from a “proper context” reflecting black culture.

Stemming from these divisive premises, the greatest sin in pluralism lies in surrender to cultural assimilation, the merging of a sub culture into the cultural mainstream thereby diminishing the sub culture’s uniqueness. Tempering the presumed ill effects of cultural assimilation is acculturation. While bringing the representative of a sub culture into the mainstream, acculturation allows for retention of a basic obeisance to one’s native sub culture.

It is against the background of acculturation so defined that Martin Luther King Jr and Sam Houston become models of cultural integration in an era under captivity to pluralist political correctness. Each of these men expressed the embrace of the dominant assimilated US culture as the goal of the society generally while continuing to pay respect to a sub culture with which they identified. Witness Sam Houston’s pivotal role in the mainstream while also wearing apparel reflective of the Native American subculture, a habit finding socio political legitimacy in his having spent quality time with Native Americans.

Reflecting aspects of acculturation then, both King and Houston meet the test of political correctness. However, in two significant ways they both challenge political correctness. One of these ways lay in their ultimate allegiance to the Transcendent God of the Bible. This places them in the context of seeing each individual as significant, apart from and regardless of one’s sub cultural and biological roots.

This transformational act of political incorrectness marks the path to releasing the individual from the narrow -based group think of cultural determinism to embrace identity with the Biblically-based roots of the country’s political and social institutions common to all.

Reinforcing commonality, both Sam Houston and Martin Luther King Jr were nationalists. In his “I have a Dream” Speech, King called for a coming together of heirs of slaves and slave masters to join in singing the refrains of “America: My Country tis of thee.” Then there was Sam Houston who, as governor of Texas, refused to sign Texas into the Confederacy due to his loyalty to the nation as a whole.

Featuring a broad-based and Christian-centered nationalism while yet respecting sub cultural roots, Sam Houston and Martin Luther King Jr. are models for a unity of substance even within a pluralist framework. Sam Houston, hero of San Jacinto and Martin Luther King Jr, the Great Dreamer, are worthy of emulation in a revitalized American History.