Declaration of Inanity
Updated: Feb 3, 2018
I’ve written before about the absurdities of political correctness, and thought I’d seen it all. But the following really takes the cake.
A 4th grade teacher at Salk Elementary School in Mesa, Arizona, crossed out the word “men” in a copy of the Declaration of Independence, substituted the word “humans,” and then had her students recite the altered text. The mother of one of the students, upset about it, posted a picture of the altered text on Facebook with the question “can anyone guess what’s wrong with this picture?” When the mother took her concern to school officials, she reportedly was told that she had “hurt the teacher’s feelings” by posting about it on social media.
I could write about how political correctness has so egregiously infiltrated our educational system. About how the ideological indoctrination so rampant in our institutions of higher learning is now trickling down into our high schools, and even our elementary schools. About how powerless parents feel when their fears and concerns regarding their children’s education are given the bureaucratic brushoff. But instead I’d like to use this opportunity to comment on another broad and troubling development in our society today: the attempt to de-legitimize our national culture through ideologically-driven historical revisionism.
Let’s take the Declaration of Independence, one of this nation’s foundational documents and possibly one of the most influential writings ever. On or about July 4, 1776, 56 delegates to the Continental Congress (yes, Virginia, they were all white, well-educated, property-owning Christian men of European descent – the “1 percenters” of their time -- that is simply how the power structure worked back then) did the most amazing thing: they signed their own death warrant.
They very publicly, and eloquently (thank you, Thomas Jefferson), stood up to the most powerful political and military force in the world, and said: enough! They made their case to the world that the time had come to insist on a very different relationship between government and the governed. They based their argument on the concept of natural law, that human beings inherently have certain rights by virtue of their very nature, granted by an authority above all humanity.
They very literally put everything on the line, pledging to each other “our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.” It is said that the reason John Hancock’s signature was so large and prominent was so that the “fat old King could read it without his spectacles.”
The rest, as they say, is history. A remarkable history at that, even exceptional. Yet that history is not being taught in our schools as it once was. Full-year American history courses, once a high school staple, are rarely taught, and when they are, they tend to focus on the negative aspects, viewing the people and events of the past in the light of modern day mores and political agendas. We are raising new generations ignorant of the Constitution and the sacrifices made to obtain and maintain the liberties we hold so dear. I don’t fear that we will have our freedom taken from us, but that we will simply fail to protect it. We must always remember that a common feature of totalitarian societies is the revision – or even denial – of history.
A final note to that 4th grade teacher: the standard dictionary definition of “men” (and most likely the meaning Mr. Jefferson intended) includes “the human species, without reference to sex; the human race; humankind.” You should have done your homework before marking up someone else’s essay in order to impose your personal political views on a roomful of children who are there to learn what they need to know in order to be happy, contributing members of society. Move your desk to the back of the classroom, and think about what you’ve done.