Northwestern Notes: Effective history programs can instill genuine patriotism

History can be boring if it isn't presented well, but man is it important.

These days patriotism has regained a certain popularity. Pride in one's country is a great feeling - a necessity in many cases.

Loving one's nation can give a person a sense of self and an identity in our global society, but what are the responsibilities involved in backing government ideals? What happens when these notions are polluted?

Without a background in history a country is doomed. An educated public is the basis for an effective society. When these lessons go untaught conflicts can arise. Unfortunately, these days, many of our school systems are lacking a comprehensive history program.

What makes the situation even worse is that many students really don't see this absence as a problem. After all how could a bunch of old dead guys really contribute to issues presented to today's generations?

Truth be told there is a lot to be learned from our forefathers' victories and blunders. Too often the history taught in American classrooms is one-sided. This leads to misrepresentations and an uneducated population. It is wonderful to feel a surge of pride in one's ancestors, but it is just plain ignorant not to address their faults. By leaving these traits obscured we give our politicians room to manipulate.

Recently there has been a big debate circling over whether the government has the authority, and even more importantly the right, to order assassinations. Many people act as though this is a new concept, but our military has been using this practice for centuries.

Why is a great deal of the population unaware of this tactic? Could it possibly be due to the fact that many times it is downplayed or even omitted in lesson plans? I am willing to bet that the average high schooler enrolled in U.S. History this year hasn't the slightest clue about the circumstances surrounding Admiral Yamamoto's death in the Pacific and that wasn't even 50 years ago.

With the present political issues at hand, can we actually continue to ignore our past?

Apathy is one of the main weaknesses in our society. When you think about it, this is a sad issue we as a nation must face. So many people are just willing to be blindly led to an uncertain fate by leaders who are very likely to have ulterior motives skewing their judgment. Are we really ready to have to rationalize for their political and financial objectives?

As conscientious citizens we should demand stronger, more comprehensive history programs in our school systems. Without observing the past from every angle, America is bound to repeat its blunders.

We should advocate better education for our future patriots. After all what will this knee jerking really lead to? I for one am not willing to sacrifice any of my loved ones for the sake of political issues that could possibly be prevented if we would just examine our social studies books a little closer.

Write to Jessie at jerenslow@bsu.edu


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