The wildfire reaction to Toemageddon 2011 (h/t The Daily Show) has made me consider even more deeply the importance of history and historians in our civic culture. You could say that the history of fashion is trivial, but if more people understood how recent our "traditions" are and how they continually change, I have to believe it would help diffuse the culture wars.
Less trivial examples of our need for historians include the widespread misbeliefs that the American Revolution was about taxation, not representation, that the Founding Father were not only Christian, but had beliefs that were in any way similar to modern conservative Christians, and that the Civil War was not about slavery.
Wouldn't it be nice if all the networks would replace a few of their "former political strategists" with bonafide historical scholars? (And please, don't call Newt Gingrich a scholar. He's not.) We have great historians in colleges and museums all over the country - social historians, political historians, cultural historians, business historians. We also plenty of independent historians -- I am currently reading and relishing Sarah Vowell's history of our annexation of Hawaii, "Unfamiliar Fish".
Oh, and it also would be nice if the History Channel would produce a news show that brought in historians to put the news in context. I'm available!