Coming back from Washington, DC and getting a heavy dose of history, the American Dream is pretty awesome. With this, I don't mean the greed and materialism that has come out of it. I mean the concept that our Founding Fathers established and that we've revised. It's the still as-of-yet-unobtained ideal for our nation. The concept that eveyone has a chance. Everyone starts on an even playing field, whether they are born here or come here later in life.
As I mentioned before, it hasn't been obtained. Not everyone has an even playing field. We don't play nice with people who arrive here after they are born. And if you're born the wrong race or gender, it's an uphill battle.
But we've been working on that since our country started. One of the themes that I take through my class is that when America began, it was set up for everyone have certain unalienable rights - provided you were a white, land-owning male. And step by step, we've eliminated those three requirement. Legally, at least, and when it comes to voting. Something I was excited for in teaching this new curriculum, 11th grade US History, is that we actually got to eliminate all three barriers.
The first, land-owning, is eliminated around the time Andrew Jackson become president. The second, white, takes the Civil War. And then we have a bit of a hiccup that takes 100 years to overcome. We didn't quite finish that in the eighth grade class because the course ends soon after the Civil War. We end it with Jim Crow in place and women still without the vote.Since we're (theoretically) going up to the present in the 11th grade curriculum, I get to teach it all.
And yet it isn't finished. Somehow, there are STILL people today trying to limit voting rights. This is yet another reason to teach history. We're going through another civil rights movement in regards to gay rights. Education and job opportunities aren't equal for all communities, and those are usually distinguished by race.
But I know history. And that gives me optimism for the future. These ideals are growing. We can get there. I just hope the American Empire doesn't fall before it happens. But if we can hold on to this country, we stand a chance. In the immortal words of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, "America - Fuck Yeah!"
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