America is a fortunate nation. We are a stubborn nation, able to deal with defeat after defeat if the cause is justice, as our Revolutionary and Civil Wars demonstrated. On a day where at least one newspaper reported that Iran is taking over its country’s internet, we celebrate those who served and sacrifice to preserve our freedom to think and act as our individual moral guidance suggests.
Our tolerance as a nation is rightly questionable. Every immigrant group faced discrimination. Jobs, opportunities, and careers were limited by ethnicity. As our melting pot increased, religion and race eased as barriers: Catholics married Protestants, Jews married Christians, and Pakistanis (Muslims) can live, work, and socialize in peace with those from India (Hindu, Buddhist). Even Republicans can marry Democrats as Mary Matlin and James Carville have demonstrated. And yes, Blacks can marry Whites, Hispanics, Asians or whomever they please. We have made progress.
Ignorance is not bliss. It stands in the way of our remaining the world’s lighthouse. We cannot let one group dominate what we teach and how we teach. In this case the government is as guilty as the right. They give us standardized tests to control what we teach and when we teach it. The free market folks see vouchers as a way to end government control. In reality these free market folks have a distorted view of America just as the South has a distorted view of many of its Confederate ancestors. Can business be allowed to control what we learn? The answer is an overwhelming no, just as we can’t let big business control our pensions and health care. We’ve been Enroned enough, and we’ve seen what happens when the mentality of what is good for business becomes what is good for America. It leads to financial bankruptcy. We can’t afford to have business take over schools and lead us to moral bankruptcy.
In Pennsylvania we see the voucher movement finally telling the truth. It wants vouchers for the middle class. The money comes from the public and thus those for whom the vouchers cannot help, will not be aided by our government. The state seeks to create a permanent underclass. This is the discrimination of America’s past, we got ours, and we’re going to keep you from taking it. The right approach is to insure our economic expansion so that everyone who wants to can get theirs, while those who already have don’t have to fight to keep what they have, but endeavor for greater pieces of the pie.
Unions fought so Black teachers could teach White children. It’s a belief in equality, in pluralism that our soldiers fought and died for. The new battle in America is for the soul of our county, for the right to a free and equal education. It is a fight for opportunity for all, not one that is limited by income. As we move forward in our battle let us do so with the commitment of a soldier in honor of what they fought for.