On this day 232 years ago, a universal set of values protecting our individual rights and freedoms as Americans was adopted. Our founding fathers creating the constitution as a living, breathing doctrine to ensure that the American people would never see tyranny and expansive government.
The lack of civic knowledge in American students however, is a sign we are losing sight of our founding principles. According to polling data collected by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, only four out of every ten Americans can pass a U.S. citizenship exam. I saw it firsthand at my university while taking History and philosophy courses, or so I thought. Rather, they were activism training.
My professors weren’t promoting a veiled communist agenda. It was blatant. For example, one had inscribed a Karl Marx quote as his email signature that read, “The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.”
I learned that I was part of the “oppressed” and was encouraged by my professors to mobilize students on our campus to fight the so-called tyranny of our current government. Truthfully, I never felt like a victim and that led me to begin questioning this, and often researching on my own. It turns out that “great” marxist leaders such as China’s Mao Zedong, weren’t all they were cracked up to be in fact, Mao himself employed a genocide against millions of landowners. It’s unsurprising how many students absorbed this information and took our professors at their word.
‘Why should most of us be banished to the margins of this document?’ — @heidibschreck used the Broadway stage to show how the Constitution protects rich, white men #ConstitutionDay pic.twitter.com/ITVsr4NVqg
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 17, 2019
We’re seeing this play out in the popular culture we absorb everyday. A recent critically acclaimed Broadway show titled “What The Constitution Means to Me” underscores this. The play’s writer and actress Heidi Schreck takes the audience on a journey from her days on the debate team, where she defended the constitution, to now, where she claims it casted “spells” on her and she’s grown disillusioned with the white men who wrote it. The play gained widespread popularity and even praise from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
— US National Archives (@USNatArchives) September 17, 2019
The truth is we aren’t teaching civics anymore because documents like the constitution are viewed as antiquated. Further, they’re seen as offensive.
But there’s no reason to give up hope. I advise anyone reading this to take some time out of your day to read the constitution and to show your children and family members.