A great part of what ails our country is ignorance of our history and so of who we are—how the US came to be, how we got where we are today, the nature of our culture and ethnicity. This hasn’t been taught with any seriousness since the middle of the last century, beyond a couple of semesters of civics-like courses in high school and a once-over lightly few units of American and European history in grade school and junior high. Throughout the current century, civics, American history, the form and style of American governance, and the like almost are not taught at all. Symptomatic of this is the growing emphasis on identity politics and the differences among those who live in the US, rather than our share culture. Too often, we African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Chinese- or Japanese-Americans, etc. There’s too little thought given to the concept that we’re all Americans, full stop. American, albeit some of us might have African heritage, some of us might have Hispanic heritage, some of us might have Chinese or Japanese heritage, etc.
If we don’t know whence we—our nation—came, how can we be expected to understand who we are, or where we ought to go?
Civics, though, and Government also, and American history, English and European history, Western Civilization, are too important to be taught in a couple of semesters in high school with a few short programs in grade school and junior high school. These subjects must be taught, in depth, throughout every child’s K-12 education. Furthermore, they must not be taught from a moral equivalent or moral relativist perspective—our culture is at the core of our greatness, after all, and Civics and Government must be taught from that perspective. In the end, too, these courses need to be especially intensive for our immigrant children, as they’ll have, depending on their age when they enter our school systems, quite a bit of catching up to do.
It is, after all, how we came to be, how we arrived at our social compact, that led to our American ethnicity and our American culture—the very things that made us so powerful, so prosperous, and for which others from all over the world go to lengths they do (highly risky lengths in a large per centage of the cases) to become a part of.
Our culture and ethnicity can be preserved and strengthened only through the education of our children in these components of our culture. We need to go back to taking that seriously.
This also demonstrates the…foolishness…of the moral relativism (masqueraded often as “cultural proficiency”) of folks like Oxnard Union School District Superintendent Dr Gabe Soumakian, with his insistence that the patriotic chant of “USA! USA!” is—or may be in some mythical context—racist, himself racist. One might ask of Dr Soumakian whose cultural proficiency?