As we head into the school year...

As we head into the school year here in the mid-south (I know..my western sister's kiddos don't go back till after labor day..But we are lookin at a week and a half or so!)...I thought I would share an editorial that appeared in our paper on Sunday, June 26, 2005. This goes out to the teachers who taught my elder Oz child that the Civil War was fought over 1 issue and 1 issue only...slavery...and who taught him that dropping the bomb on Nagasaki (not Hiroshima) was the worst thing that the US could do...and who taught him that President Bush was no better than a Stalin or a Hitler. You may not agree with everything the writer says, but I challenge you to think about the history you learned, and lived..and then prove him wrong...

Credit to David Gerlenter (Special to the Los Angeles Times)

Without Learning History, Americans Lose their Identity

Not knowing history is worse than ignorance of math, literature or almost anything else. Ignorance of history is undermining Western society's ability to talk straight and think straight. Parents must attack the problem by teaching their own children the facts.

My son told me about a high school event that (at first) I didn't understand. A girl in his English class praised the Vietnam War-era draft dogers: "If I'd lived at that time and been drafted," she said, "I would've gone to Canada, too".

I thought she was merely endorsing the anti-war position. But my son set me straight. This student actually believe that if she had lived at the time, she might have been drafted. She didn't understand that conscription in the United States has always applied to males only. How could she have known? Our schools teach history ideologically. They teach the message, not the truth. They teach history as if males and females have laways played equal roles. They are propaganda machines.

Ignorance of history destroys our judgment. Consider Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, who just compared the Guantanamo Bay detention center to Stalin's gulag and to the death camps of Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot -- an astonishing, obscene piece of ignorance. Between 15 million and 30 million people died from 1918 through 1956 in the prisons of the labor camps of the Soviet gulag.

Historian Robert Conquest gives some facts. A prisoner at the Kholodnaya Gora prison had to stuff his ears with bread before sleeping on account of the shrieks of women being interrogated. At the Kolyma in Siberia, inmates labored through 12-hour days in cheap canvas shoes, on almost no food, in temperatures that could go to minus 58. At one camp, 1,300 of 3,000 inmates died in one year.

"Gulag" must not go the way of "Nazi" and become virtually meaningless. Europeans love calling Israelis "Nazis" -- a transparent attempt to slough off their guild like rattlesnakes sheeting skin ("See the Jews are as bad as we were!") I'd like to ban the word "Nazi" except when applied to...Nazis. Lawbreakers would be ordered to learn what Nazi actually means.

I was amazed to hear about teenagers who don't know Fact 1 about the Vietnam War draft. But I have met college students who have never heard of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge -- the genocidal monsters who treated Cambodia in the 1970s to a Marxist nightmare unequaled in its bestiality since World War II>

And I know college students who have heard of President John F. Kennedy, but not \of anything he ever did except get assassinated. They have never heard JFK's inaugural promise that American would "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to ensure the survival and the success of liberty." But President Bush remembers that speech, and it's lucky he does.

To forget your own history is (literally) to forget your identity. By teaching ideology instead of facts, our schools are erasing the nation's collective memory. As a result, some "expert" can go on TV and announce (20 minutes into the fighting) that Afghanistan, Iraq, or wherever "is the new Vietnam" -- and young people can't tell he is talking drivel.

There is a culture war between Americans who are ashamed of this nation's history, and those who acknowledge with sorrow its many sins and are fiercely proud of it anyway. Proud of the 17th century settlers who threw their entire lives overboard and set sail for religious freedom in theirrickety little ships. Proud of the new nation that taught democracy to the world. Proud of its ferocious fight to free the slaves, save the Union and drag (lug, shove, sweat, bled) America a few inches closer to its own sublime ideals. Proud of its victories in two world wars and the Cold War, proud of the fight that it is waging this very day for freedom in Iraq and the whole Middle East.

If you are proud of this country and don't want its identity to vanish, you must teach US History to your children. They won't learn it in school. This nation's memory will go blank unless you act.

The writer is a professor of computer science at Yale.

1 comment:

milford said...

Dear Jo,
I Believe what you say is true. The ignorance of these so called experts on the Iraq war and such are nothing more than whining terrorists. They complain because real Americans are finally realizing the culture war that is going on in this country and others and standing up for morals and what they believe is right. The true reason these ignoramusses are complaining is because with a President like Bush, you probaly aren't going to be able to freely kill babies, literally dive into sexual perversion, and the rich are finally going to start to pay what they should in taxes. This drives them insane. They want to hide from God and curse him from the shadows and use riduculous laws and courts to feebly attempt to be more powerful than the God who created them. Now on the subject of retartedly ignorant teenagers, who will blindly follow what their parents or the far left media portray as right or popular. Myself being a teenager, have to deal with these morons on a daily basis. But the worst part of it is that they have no idea how to have a reasonable converstion or argument. They will shout retarted, obviously fake facts like that the soldiers in Iraq are murdering babies and old people, then they switch to the other foot and pretend that they actually care about the valiant men and some women doing their duty over there (no pun intended), so that they can sit at home or wherever and whine and grovel like the beasts they are, about Iraqis they don't know a thing about and how we are ruining their country. This has to end. First conservatives need to get the message out on their own news channels and I'm not talking Fox News which is really a weak attempt at conservative news. This will hopefully reach the majority of Americans, and hopefully it will dawn on them that there really has been an effort by liberal media, music, art,goverment, and anything else you can think of brainwashing them into doing what they want. More importantly real evangelical Christians need to stop being so lazy. They have known this was coming and even watched Roe. Vs. Wade and such and still didn't do anything about and now look at the spiritual state of our country, I mean for God's sake, the reasons terrorists hate us is because we have soooo many retartedly wealthy and ignorant people like Brad Pitt who is trying to rally his almost brainwashed fan base to vote for Stem Cell research in California. The truth is, if i lived in another country and that is the only image type I saw coming from our propaganda machine called the media, I would probaly not like America myself. My point is that I for one have taken enough of this, to put it nicely pigswill and I won't stand for it any longer. Thank you for your time.



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