Conservatives are trying to change history.
Led by Rev. Louis Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition, conservatives have pushed the National Park Service to spend $20,000 buying video footage to restore "balance" to a historical film shown at the Lincoln Memorial.
The film in question is an eight-minute video, produced in 1994 with the help of high school students nationwide, that showcases Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, presidential visits and glimpses of dozens of protest marches at the memorial on the National Mall.
The video includes several montages of modern-day rallies and protests, including ones for workers' rights, women's rights and gay rights. Although it includes footage of priests and nuns, as well as a 1948 clip of a rally in favor of creation of the State of Israel, it lacks footage of more recent, conservative rallies, such as ones for gun owners' rights or supporting the Iraq War.
And if Sheldon and his fellow protesters were merely trying to create "balance," there wouldn't be a problem. For one, the video is dated, relying almost entirely on pre-1980 footage. Given its educational pursuit, lengthening the video to include President Bush and some conservative rally footage seems not only in the best interest of balance, but a reflection of our modern world.
But Sheldon and his fellow protesters are not seeking "balance." They're seeking propaganda, through the forced substitution of "liberal" footage with "conservative" footage.
And apparently, the conservative protesters have the blessing of the Bush Administration.
In February, 2003, Sheldon said in a broadcast transcript that was distributed among Park Service executives: "If Bush is in office, let's have it our way. Let's make it fair now."
It also orchestrated petitions and e-mail campaigns filled with hyperbole. "The video gave the impression that Lincoln would have supported abortion and homosexuality," reads the Traditional Values Coalition web site.