How to Teach Patriotism to America's Teachers and Students 6/24/2016
Free, and Not Free, in 2015 2/3/2015
Free, and Not Free, in 2015
2/3/2015 “But the one thing that I’m very confident about is that the values that we share with the French people, a belief — a universal belief in the freedom of expression, is something that can’t be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few,” Obama said in the statement. President Obama made these remarks as a reaction to the Islamic terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. However, while most Americans believe that freedom of speech should be a universal right, it is not. According to a recent article in the OC Register, 35% of the world is not free and 25% is partly free. Individuals in the world who enjoy freedom of speech are in the minority. Freedom of the press is the right to print what you think is true and is enjoyed by only 15% of the world’s population. This right is guaranteed to all U.S. citizens by the First Amendment. However, the right to a free press is one that many leaders do not their citizens to have. The right to a free press means that a journalist can report news that makes the leader look bad. In Russia, it is against the law to publish news that is not approved by the government, and journalists who opposed the government have been murdered. In China and Cuba, all news media is owned by the government. One aspect of freedom of expression is the right to organize politically. In much of the world, citizens are not allowed to start political parties or support political parties that do not get governmental approval. In the year preceding the U.S.A. 2012 Presidential election, the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) did not approve nearly 400 non-profit organizations that wanted to promote conservative ideas. Some think this helped President Obama win the election. In over 60 countries of the world, citizens are not allowed to start a political party and must vote for governmentally approved political organizations. There are countries in which citizens find it dangerous, but not illegal, to practice freedom of expression. In France during the beginning of January, Muslim terrorists attacked journalists at a satirical magazine, killing 12. The journalists had offended Muslims by breaking an Islamic law against depicting Muhammad. Even though there is no law in France against this, the journalists were murdered. The American news corporation CNN and the New York Times, as well as other American news organizations, have censored themselves, as well, by not showing images that are offensive to Muslims. They claim they are doing this out of respect for religion. Some think these news organizations are censoring themselves for their own protection, as they continue to show images that are offensive to Christians and Jews. Most of the countries that are not free are located in Asia and Africa and are either predominantly Muslim or atheist. The world’s most heavily populated country, China, and the world’s largest country by territory, Russia, are not free. All of the countries on the peninsula Arabia, except one, are both Muslim and not free. The only free country in Arabia is the Jewish country of Israel. All of the world’s communist countries are not free, and only one, Cuba, is located in North America. While it is easy for Americans to imagine that people all over the world live and think the same as we do, the facts are very different. Americans are part of a minority of people in the world who believe in and practice freedom of expression. The majority of the world’s leaders do not want their people to have freedom of expression, and, a great many citizens in countries also do not want to have this freedom. For example, after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France, there have been widespread rallies throughout Asia supporting the Muslim terrorists. Opposite what President Obama declared recently, freedom of expression is not a universal belief and its practice is the exception to the rule.
Questions 1. What does President Obama believe is a universal belief, that is, a belief shared around the world? 2. About what percentage of the world enjoys freedom of the press? 3. What does it mean to organize politically? 4. What do the countries that are not free have in common? 5. Task: Find out what the first amendment states. Why do you think the American Founding Fathers included this in the Constitution?
How to Teach Patriotism to America's Teachers and Students
6/24/2016 Teachers who love our country are deeply saddened by our fellow educators' unwillingness to recognize America’s greatness, its promise, and its hope for our generation and posterity. What used to be the common principles that unite us, such as a love of liberty and private property are being destroyed in the name of social equality. How can we teach our educators and students American exceptionalism? American history offers many solutions how to teach basic principles of liberty and patriotism. Americans have been blessed with incredible examples of heroes, men and women who have honored us with courage, strength, sacrifice, and love. Past legislators and Presidents have given these individuals great honor by proclaiming eleven federal holidays, nicely spread out over 12 months. Because these are federal holidays, no teacher need worry if he is breaking the law, or the dreaded Common Core, by teaching patriotism on these special days. And, those teachers who do not love their country can use these days to teach the facts and then have a discussion over their importance. Honest teachers can let their students decide if our country’s heroes are worth looking up to. At the beginning of the school year, we have Columbus Day, October 12th. 30 years ago, students enjoyed a free day off from school, and learned how Columbus braved the unknown to find America, a discovery that opened up the new world and spread the Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian culture to the Americas. Today, our students know little of Columbus. This is because most teachers believe him to be an example of evil colonization, and don’t teach anything about him. Instead of this, there should be a debate about Columbus. Was he a hero or a villain? The coming of Columbus ended some Indian practices that were antithetical to western values: polygamy, cannibalism, human sacrifice on a monumental scale, wife-stealing, and theft. His discovery also led to the extinction of the Tainos Indians and to the takeover of the Americas by Europeans. Many Indians were enslaved. Perhaps 90%, died of disease, though Columbus had no idea this would happen. Was Columbus a hero or was he a villain? I know what I think, but I am curious to hear what my students will say. In November, Americans celebrate Veteran’s Day and the great American holiday Thanksgiving. Four years ago, I asked my 200 students (5 classes of 40 students), “What was the reason for the first Thanksgiving?” Sadly, no one gave me the correct, historical answer. Most said it was a day the Pilgrims thanked the Indians for helping them. Others said it was a day to be thankful, but to whom they could not give an answer. The answer is found in the primary source documents of Governor Bradford, proclaiming America’s First Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1623 as a time to give thanks to “Almighty God.” The Pilgrims suffered greatly those first few years in America. In their first winter of 1620, 45 died out of 102. The fact the Pilgrims had a celebration to honor God for his blessings just a few years after this tragedy, tells us of the immense humility of our ancestors. America’s students can use this lesson of humility a driving force to rise up from any challenges they may face. Each holiday has its story of greatness, of courage, of sacrifice, and of love. Veteran’s Day allows us to think of sacrifices our soldiers have made in order for us to enjoy the liberties that so many in the world yearn for. Christmas provides us with the story of humility and love. Even a non-Christian can appreciate the great love of someone giving his only son for others. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. presents us with a man who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that Americans would one day be judged by our character, and not the color of our skin. Washington Day gives us the amazing story of a leader who was in the public eye and pressures of war and politics for 24 years. During this marathon of public service, the father of our country never faltered or gave anyone a reason to question his character. After Washington Day, there is Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. If our students (and teachers) knew of the meaning of America’s federal holidays, they would grow in patriotism. By John De Gree, Founder of The Classical Historian, www.classicalhistorian.com . John De Gree is author of the book, America’s Federal Holidays, The True Story.
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