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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Monument Mayhem, History Hysteria, Rooted in Poor PUBLIC Education
Police arrest a man during a protest at a Confederate monument at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. The gathering Tuesday night at the university focused on a statue known as “silent Sam.” Cheryl K. Chumley ANALYSIS/OPINION: It’s the education, stupid.
That, in a nutshell, is a major reason why America’s monuments and national symbols are being torn down, removed, relocated and otherwise blotted from the public square.
If students in America’s public schools were properly taught the foundation of this country — the roots that made it great, the causes that both divided and united, the struggles of the nation to achieve even infancy, never mind maturity — then the leftist and anarchist calls to destroy would fall on deaf ears.
There would have been no Durham, North Carolina, toppling of the Confederate soldier monument.
There would be no fear of black-hearted antifa crowds coming to a community near you.
ESPN’s ridiculous removal of Asian Robert Lee from broadcasting duties at the University of Virginia’s home opener football game out of concerns for the politically correct crowd would not have happened. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s equally ridiculous consideration of a proposal to remove a Christopher Columbus statue from public view would die a quick political death.
As for the still-swirling suggestions to remove statues related to our nation’s founding — those tied to Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and half of the ones in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, as well as at dotted spots around the country?
They’d be roundly and soundly mocked as radical and anti-America notions.
That they’re not — that these suggestions are actually gaining steam and collecting snowflake love — indicates a sad and pitiful reality of our nation’s youth: They’re ignorant of our country’s founding, and of the roots of America’s greatness. And for that, public schools are largely to blame.
Look at this, from even the left-leaning NEA Today, in a piece titled “Forgotten Purpose: Civics Education in Public Schools,” published in March: “One of the primary reasons our nation’s founders envisioned a vast public education system was to prepare youth to be active participants in our system of self-government. The responsibilities of each citizen were assumed to go far beyond casting a vote; protecting the common good would require developing students’ critical thinking and debate skills, along with strong civic virtues. Blind devotion to the state or its leaders would never be enough.”
But America, post-1960s, turned a sharp corner on requiring public schools to provide such thorough lesson plans. How many of today’s students are truly taught the Constitution — as founders intended it to be implemented, that is?
Teachings of founders have turned to trendy politically charged lesson plans that draw skewed parallels between today’s radicals and yesterday’s dissenters. Lookie here, lefties. The Boston tea party, no matter how many educators agree, is hardly akin to Black Lives Matter uprisings.
Yet these are the messages being sold today’s youth.
No wonder thuggish behavior and violent activism have replaced critical thinking and contextually based political dissension as proper expressions of the First Amendment nowadays. Today’s students are being taught they’re one and the same — that violence, nonviolence, it’s all good.
If they were taught to think for themselves — if they were taught to see and analyze history in context of the events of the era, rather than knee-jerk react to a linear interpretation — they would see the double standard of pressing for the tear-down of Robert E. Lee statues, while turning blind eyes to the many West Virginia facilities named after the former Democratic Ku Klux Klansman, Sen. Robert Byrd.
They would see clearly the feminist hypocrisy of condemning President Donald Trump as a misogynist while adopting more nuanced views to praise the likes of churlish but progressive Franklin Delano Roosevelt, serial adulterer but left-leaning John F. Kennedy, and hound dog Democrat Bill Clinton as solid politicians for their side.
They would realize that tearing down Thomas Jefferson and George Washington for racism common to the era is not one and the same as condemning today’s neo-Nazis or KKKers — or, for that matter, historical justification for cheering the existence and influence of the equally vile Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
No, if schools taught as they were supposed to — if teachers in public facilities provided proper context, if history and civics lessons instilled truthful commentaries on the progression of America’s politics and government, if teacher unions were actually in business to broaden students’ minds rather than purses and pockets of educators — today’s youth wouldn’t be burning in the streets.
They’d instead be placing flowers on veterans’ graves.