David Gelernter writes a commentary today in the Los Angeles Times that ignorance of history is undermining society’s ability to talk straight and to think straight. He states that by teaching ideology instead of facts, our schools are erasing the nation’s collective memory.
“There is an ongoing 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 their rickety 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, bleed) 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 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 U.S. history to your children. They won’t learn it in school. This nation’s memory will go blank unless you act.”
I wrote the following letter to the Los Angeles Times today:
David Gelernter in his commentary today bemoans the fact that children are not taught history today, but rather ideology, and that schools are erasing the nation’s collective memory. The reason for that is that it is Democrats, who are proponents of an ideological agenda, who write our children’s history text books today.
As a result, African-American children will not learn from their history books that it was the Republican Party, the Party of Lincoln, that brought war against the Democratic slave-owners of the South to free the slaves, or that anti-war Democrats in the North strongly opposed the Civil War and voted to demand that President Lincoln rescind the Emancipation Proclamation, or that the Ku Klux Klan was the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party.
American children will not learn from their history books that the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act were reforms that the “Radical” Republicans struggled to have enacted during Reconstruction, but were unsuccessful due to fierce Democratic opposition.
American children will not learn from their history books that along with pressing Congress to give Blacks the right to vote, Republicans supported Women’s Suffrage for thirty years against Democratic opposition until it was finally passed in 1920.
American children will not learn from their history books that the 13th and 14th Amendments were passed by a Republican majority while most Democrats opposed their passage.
There are many other important messages in our history that American children will not learn from their history books, which is why I agree with David Gelernter that parents must teach U.S. history to their children. They won’t learn it in school.
I don’t expect them to publish it.