Some conservative Republicans want to blur History as it is taught in our schools and colleges; because, as they claim, it is too liberal, and is biased toward focusing on what is wrong with America. Consider the following:
1. In Jefferson County, Colorado (a suburb of Denver), there has been an on-going effort by three Conservative School Board Members to focus the Advanced Placement History classes on “American Exceptionalism”. Two days ago, students at nine local high schools staged walk-outs, with one student suggesting that: “History shouldn’t be a mystery!”. Currently, there is a re-call effort to eliminate those three members from the School Board.
2. Some state legislatures (nationwide) are similarly attacking how History is taught at the college level, because they say it focuses too much on: ending slavery; the treatment of Native Americans; confronting “white supremacy” and other “undesirable” aspects of U. S. History.
Professor Brian D’Haeseler, who teaches History at Tallahassee Community College, Florida, offers a more enlightened viewpoint of the topic, in his Miami Herald Op-Ed, as follows: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article32487645.html. Just think: how can we learn from our country’s mistakes if we prefer to just delete them from recorded memory?
In America, we have always prided ourselves as being the keeper of all freedoms–speech; press; assembly; etc. At the same time, we regard those nations that do not share these ideals–such as China, North Korea, Russia, etc–as being authoritarian dictatorships. But then, let’s consider one of our nation’s closest friends.
Japan is truly a free democracy, with many of the freedoms and rights that we hold dear; however, there does seem to be one inexcusable blemish in how it records its own History. Just a few weeks ago, on August 7 and 10, Japan held solemn remembrance ceremonies of the devastation that was unleashed on, first, Hiroshima and, then, Nagasaki, in 1945. More than 200,000 Japanese (combined), mostly civilians, perished, many more were seriously wounded and, no doubt, others died afterward from their injuries.
Ms. Emiko Okada, a 78 year-old “hibakuusha”, an “atom bomb person”, is a survivor from those bombs that the U. S. dropped on her city, when she was just a young girl. She is now teaching someone else, from the next generation, about what happened that fateful day so that the memory will not be forgotten.
Ms. Okada is saddened, however, that Japanese school children are not taught about World War II, and the atrocities that were committed by Japanese forces. How can Japan ever reconcile the fact that it is commemorating such carnage, committed by one of its closest allies and, yet, Japanese History does not seem to even suggest that it was also guilty of War Crimes.
Many nations have something in their past that they wish to forget: the Holocaust; Slavery; harsh treatment of (various) indigenous peoples; genocide; religious persecution; etc. When countries wish to mend their ways and join the New World Order, they need a point of reference–to know what they are evolving from.
The key point is that: if a nation does not place equal emphasis on remembering all of its faults and mis-deeds, as it does for its strong characteristics, how will it ever prevent a reoccurrence of those awful crimes?. And that certainly should go for the United States, as well!