April 10, 2004

CITIZENSHIP

Many times when I visit blogs, someone will say "read this" and I skip on by. If the name Mark Steyn or Victor Davis Hanson catches my eye, I'll linger, but often in my hurried mornings I'll miss out on an article because the blogger has not stressed how important it is.

I'm adding this old piece (from 2002) called The Civic Education America Needs to my crucial reading list. (I'm also printing it and sending it to the Best Friend and the Husband.) Bunker dug it up and wrote about the citizenship grades he also received in school. I struggled to find a paragraph that would characterize this important piece:

Restoring civic education—from the daily practice of its rituals to real mastery of the elements of Americanism—will not be easy, but such a shared sense of values is critical in such a vast nation that is otherwise not defined by a shared religion, common race, or dominant ethnic affiliation. After September 11, most Americans, in their slogans, flags, and posters, yearned for greater accord: “United We Stand” and “One from Many,” read some of the ad hoc banners. We are coming to realize that we cannot survive as a nation under today’s pernicious conventional wisdom of division and separatist cultural protocols—ideas based on misconceptions and outright untruths about the American past. Even the most jaded among us is beginning to sense that al-Qaida hates Asian, Hispanic, black, and white Americans alike—our women as much as, or more than, our men; Catholics, atheists, Protestants, agnostics, Jews, Buddhists, and Sikhs as infidels all. Our enemies see us as one united people even where we ourselves do not. And we are slowly re-learning the age-old lessons of war, that the spiritual is far more important than the material: that all the F-16s in the world will not guarantee us victory unless our pilots who fly them, mechanics who service them, and taxpayers who pay for them feel that they are shooting, repairing, and working for the preservation of their own common civilization that must not fall prey to barbarism.

In the America I live in, citizenship is important. Belonging to the greater whole that is the United States is important. Working together to set aside our differences and build a more perfect union is important. Being an American is important.

I'm taking a break from the computer today to go read my students' essays. Many of them wrote about what it meant to them to join the Army; that's just the pick-me-up I need today.

MORE TO GROK:

Apparently the America I live in doesn't include Hawaii, where Amritas points out the proposal to create a new ethnic-Hawaiian school district:

The curriculum portrays the United States as a colonial oppressor of the Hawaiian people, and is designed to train children to become skillful advocates for race-based political sovereignty.

God help us all.

Posted by: Sarah at 05:00 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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1 Sadly, everywhere you look the old states are falling apart, and I believe that the movements behind these things are one of the most idiotic movements in history. Take Britain, for instance. One could certainly argue that Wales and Scotland had a much worse relationship with England than Hawaii did with America. But look what Britain became. Now all the independence movements are threatening to tear that apart. Britain's loony immigrations policies at the moment but exacerbate the problem. What we seem to be seeing, instead of a movement toward union, is a movement to split up into smaller states, usually defined by ethnicity. This, to me, is dangerous retrogression--after all, that was exactly the situation in most parts of Europe during the Middle Ages. And we all know how lovely they were. I once foolishly thought that the civil rights movement was an attempt to overcome racial barriers and make the dream of "something larger" even more real. And that would have been something beautiful. Regrettably, I think, for the most part, that the opposite has occurred.

Posted by: Jeremiah at April 10, 2004 08:09 AM (uRPKT)

2 *some of the most Sorry, it's early on this side of the pond.

Posted by: Jeremiah at April 10, 2004 08:11 AM (uRPKT)

3 I was a strong believer in the Civil Rights movement in the '60s. Personally, I now feel betrayed. Most of the people in this country believed in equality, and were willing to go the distance to achieve it. Unfortunately, there were too many people making a buck off discrimination to ever let it die. Jesse and Al and Maxine and Louis come quickly to mind.

Posted by: Mike at April 10, 2004 03:30 PM (m7WWq)

4 As Tibet is to China, Hawaii is to the USA.

Posted by: florian at April 11, 2004 07:01 AM (vNloz)

5 Florian: you are an idiot, and not a useful one at that. Try doing a little homework before you make a complete fool of yourself. The vast majority of people who actually live in Hawaii (I'm one) are happy and proud to be Americans. In 1959 there was a referrendum in which the the people of Hawaii overwhelmingly voted for statehood. Your digusting moral equivalence of the USA and Red China is beneath contempt, as I suspect, you are too.

Posted by: Infidel at April 11, 2004 06:50 PM (BRHmA)

6 Thanks for the VDH article. I printed it and am sending it to my brother-in-law's sister. She teaches third grade and is already poisoning these young minds with the leftist agenda. ARGH! During the 2000 election, she was telling them how evil Bush was and great Gore was, made me want to puke. Shouldn't she be teaching them that one of the most wonderful things about our country is the God given right to educate yourself and form your own opinion? At yesterday's Easter dinner when talk turned to politics, I cleared the table. I was totally outnumbered and didn't even want to go there. When I asked her if it was safe to go back in, she replied, "You're not a BUSH supporter, are you?" When I nodded my head, she said, "Oh my God," as if I had leporsy or something. Love your blog Sarah. I check on you every day and pray for you and your husband. P.S. I live on the flight path of Selfridge AFB. I pray for our soldiers every time they fly over. God Bless America.

Posted by: MargeinMI at April 12, 2004 12:10 PM (0nofe)

7 Sarah - thanks for pointing me to the VDH essay on Citizenship. He is such a wonderful writer - when you see him on Fox (the only place I've ever seen Victor interviewed) his demeanor is of a kind, thoughtful and laid back intellectual. Also would like to thank you for putting up the link for Books for Soldiers (for some reason though you can't click to link to the website - just an fyi). I printed out and saved the essay cause I'd like to include it as reading material for some of my care packages to the troops.

Posted by: Toni at April 12, 2004 01:35 PM (SHqVu)

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