Monday, August 30, 2010

Remember our storms of conflict

It's so dismaying to see the dismal level of American history being taught within our government-supported education system. I remember my teenage daughter telling me that her 8th grade teacher told her that Lincoln was a hypocrite because his family members were slaveholders. When I challenged her, she only relented by suggesting that maybe she misunderstood him. In my mind, the lesson was clear. How could a teacher ever impart such an impression on a child that they would repeat it 3 years later?

With such a rich history of independence and liberty, what shall become of our present when its history is written? Our country's defining moments are usually cast within the storms of conflict that we have ample examples to share: The American Revolution, The Constitutional Convention, The Civil War, etc. Notice my use of a capitalized "The". It introduces a moment in history that is significant in its relevance to mankind. There are others that are noteworthy: The Magna Carta, The Napoleonic Wars, The Age of Enlightenment.

Indeed, what shall become of our present? How will it be remembered in history? Will it be remembered at all, or will it merely become a footnote in history, not commanding a place among "The"? If we had to define today's emergence of conservatism and the tea parties, how would we do it? Would it be "a political movement", "a short-lived protest" or "The Awakening of Americanism"? Will we define its leaders as "right-wing talk-show hosts", "fringe elements of the Republican Party", or "The Sarah Palin Phenomenon"?

After all is said and done, will this period of time command a place in history as a defining moment and qualify as a "The"?

Only time will tell us how history will treat this moment. The beginning of the story could be November 2, 2010. How would you define this moment? History just might remember your characterization.

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