Americans need to focus on building united future, not rewriting their history What others say

Posted: Monday, March 29, 2004

In Iraq, they're fighting for freedom and security. In China, they're fighting for freedom and private property rights. All over the world, people are fighting for freedom and basic human rights.

Meanwhile, Americans are just fighting.

We're fighting over lots of things, but one of the silliest fights is over our propensity to name each of the 12 months "history month" for something or another.

There's black history month, women's history month and now efforts are under way in various Dixie locales to establish Confederate history month.

What we're seeing isn't a dedication to history. Many of our best students have little idea of even the approximate dates of the Civil War.

Rather, what we're seeing is a Balkanization of American history. Various factions of the great melting pot have decided that their story hasn't been told, and that we need to set aside an entire month every year to do so.

What we're seeing is a carving up of American history ironically at a time when we're urging Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq to unite.

Instead of teaching "Hispanic lesbian history" or some such nonsense, why don't we just teach history? Really teach it.

And why not start by teaching the basic freedoms set out in our founding documents freedoms that, even more than 200 years later, much of the world can only dream of?

Rather than concentrate on what divides us, why not focus on what unites us? And nothing unites Americans more than the freedom this country was founded to provide its citizens.

Rather than rewriting a separatist past, let's build a united future.

This is what makes America so unique in the world. We are bound together not by shared ethnicity or religion or nationality, but by principles freedom of speech, religion, assembly and press, and protection from the kind of oppressive government our Founders rebelled against.

These things that unite us will only become more vital as Americans face changes: By mid-century, Hispanics are expected to be half the population.

We need to get in touch with the genius of the Constitution, to learn what our Founders needed to learn: how to live together.

They did it by concentrating on the principles that bound them together. It's what we need to do.

That's something we could stand to focus on each month of the year.

Augusta Chronicle - March 27

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