College Debt–An American Tragedy

More than a trillion dollars in debt hangs around the necks of our young people in this country. How sad, we proclaim and go about our business. It’s too bad, we say, and allow our colleges and universities to continue their self-serving practices of allowing students to borrow and borrow until the sum of the debt seems to be meaningless. They borrow more. These institutions continue to offer majors that offer no career paths for those who carry the yolk of the debt. They will be saddled with debt that has no end when a job after college pays a minimum wage.

These young people cannot buy a car, a house, or take the vacations they dreamed about taking when they finished college. They often cannot even afford their own place to live. We have heard much about them living with their parents. These young Americans went to our vaunted colleges and universities with great hope and expectation. This journey was a big part of their American dream. A college education was just a part of their itinerary. This piece of their life was on the main highway to reaching their dream. Instead, for many, it has become a seemingly permanent detour.

But that is not the worst. Now we are being told that young people are selling their bodies to help pay their college debts. If this is true, it is a tragedy. How can we look in mirror?

Yes, the students should take more responsibility. But for those of us who have spent a lot of time at a college or university, we know the environment is very enticing, particularly if you can borrow money so easily to stay there. Because so many have grown up in the entitlement culture, it is easy for them to feel okay with borrowing the money. They feel someone else will pay my college debt.

 

Free College–A National Nightmare

There was a time when a college degree really meant something. There were great publications about the value of our investment in education. Many years ago the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had a great publication delineating clearly the return on an investment in higher education. It was clear to me as a young person making decisions about my future, that I had to “go to college” if I wanted to “better my circumstances and change the direction of my future.” You see, there were not too many opportunities in a small town in Northern Iowa.

So, off I went with enough borrowed money for tuition, very few clothes, and one pair of shoes. My American Dream was within  the walls of Iowa State Teachers College, my energy and will, and the angels along the way. The only thing free was the opportunity.

Fast Forward! Now we have many college students saddled with enormous debt and no prospect for decent jobs because they have majored in a curriculum that is almost or totally “careerless.”  As long as students can borrow more and more to stay in the womb of our colleges and universities, they will do so. It’s a great place to spend wonderful years. But the money they “invest” in their future is not theirs. There is no thought about whether one class is more valuable than another to them personally. There are all kinds of values that we gain from our college experiences, but how it fits into the mix of how we finance our futures ought to be among them somewhere.

I can guarantee you that when you work two or three jobs to get through college, you even question those “required.” You come to understand the “fight of the disciplines” in our educational system, particularly in higher education. I have listened to it and participated in these discussions ad nauseum–how much of what creates “an educated person.” They are usually devoid of the question, “What will help me get a job?”

It makes me sad and sick when I hear the words “free college.” They are the words of the transformers, those folks who want to change our great nation from one of freedom to slavish dependency. Free college would allow unneeded and not useful courses,  disciplines, majors, etc.,  to prey on young minds as they entice, indoctrinate, preach and sell their wares. We will have more unprepared young people leaving our colleges and universities; they just won’t have to carry and be responsible for the debt they created; we will.

Why should they care. It’s not on their credit card. Free college is a horrible idea for our nation and a destructive idea for our youth.

George Washington–Lest We Forget Who He Was

From the time that his mother sent him off to war and commended him to the providence of God and reminded him to private prayer, Washington continued to give testimony to his belief in the providence of God. He became a legend, as a warrior, even to the Indians; it seemed impossible to kill him. He believed that he “was protected beyond all human probability and expectation, for I had four bullets through my coat and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on  every side of me.”                           .

There is too much in Washington’s own pen and those who were close to him, for the revisionists version of him to have any credence. He prayed regularly. Each night at nine o’clock he would go to his library to pray; people who had to seek answers in case of an emergency would find him on his knees praying in front of his open Bible. He did the same thing early in the morning. Washington also kept the Sabbath; he attended church, he did only those things that were absolutely necessary. He was a pious man

 Washington even conducted worship services for his troops when there was no chaplain assigned. During the French and Indian War when he was in charge of the troops defending the country, he led the troops in religious services. He was a man of such honor, he conducted a burial service for General Braddock who died in the French and Indian War. Washington was just a Colonel, but he carried a small Anglican book of worship and prayer. Washington would retire to his tent each night for prayers, or go into the woods if he couldn’t get away from people.

 Washington believed in Divine Providence. When Washington became commander in chief of the American forces in the Revolutionary War, an order to the troops confirmed his belief.

 The General most earnestly requires and expects  a due observance of those articles of war established for the government of the army, which forbid profane cursing, swearing, and drunkenness. And in like manner he requires and expects of all officers and soldiers, not engaged in actual duty, a punctual attendance of Divine service, to implore the blessing of Heaven upon the means used for our safety and defense.

 This was a most remarkable man. He was a noble and pious gentleman. Assassination of character would seem impossible as you come to know this man. Perhaps it is because his life was lived in such a devout manner to religion and civility, that the efforts to destroy him are so brutal and untrue. He must become know again to our young, those in the middle who have learned the distortions, and a reminder must be given to those of us who are seniors lest we forget.

                          

 

 

Religious Freedom and Our Schools

One of the more amazing things that I have come to examine more and more is how cleverly the transformers have used “religious freedom,” one of the great tenets on which our Founders based everything. Diabolically, they have taken this great foundation of tolerance for all religions and turned it on its back. They used our deep desire for tolerance of religion to preach to us about tolerance in all areas. While they are extracting tolerance from us, they are free to practice intolerance. If we show the least bit of resistance, they know how to make most of us feel guilty. They have most certainly used all areas of our society when and how ever they could.

They have flooded our schools with multiculturalism. They have used our national instincts for tolerance to promote their agenda. While they have been removing more and more Christian ideas and ideals from our books, they have been putting more and more about other religions in our school books. While they are teaching our kids more and more about tolerating other religion, they have been distorting the historical facts about the religious content of our beginnings.

Universities, where I have spent much of my career, are the worst offenders. To find a conservative professor is quite a task. I have taught my classes during student strikes; I was told by my peers that I must not do that. Opposing the strike was not a good political move. I insisted that I was only conforming with what they were striking for—freedom of speech and assembly. If the students who were striking had the right to not attend class, then the students who wanted to attend class must have the same right. Oddly, no one seemed to be able to dispute that logic.

Universities are populated with boatloads of Marxists. Many don’t outwardly admit to the name, but they teach and indoctrinate their students with those ideals. Most young people who attend the liberal colleges, most are, come home after a short time to discuss with their parents if conservative, how wrong they are. “You don’t understand. Your way of thinking is old fashioned. There are more modern ways of thinking about our political system and our economy.”

The change in many, including my own, occurs when they get their first pay check and discover how little “they have left” after all the deductions are made. “Mom, this is not fair.” It’s a natural place to take them back to what you taught them in the first place. They find an eternal truth. Old doesn’t mean bad or outdated. So it is with our Founding Documents, our founding ideals, and our God given rights. They are no more out of style than the Bible is for a Christian. .

Churches have been used extensively to fight the battles of the transformers. The strange part of this is that one would expect most religions to want to keep Christ in Christmas, would want to keep our Christian beginnings in the textbooks and in our teaching, and our God given rights ever before our student’s eyes as God given rather than government given. I suspect that sometimes our church people are the most vulnerable to the tolerance pleas and the subsequent guilt that follows if they don’t succumb.

Our School Boards that succumb to the distortion of the holidays, who don’t follow what’s in their textbooks or what is being taught in their classrooms, are also at fault. It is difficult at that level to know. Often you are “protected” from knowing for the fear of “micromanagement.” Our young people are in school many hours a day during their formative years. The battle that Texas and other states fought and are fighting, belongs to all of us. The inclusions and exclusions in our textbooks are critical to our future. As McBrien said in America First many years ago, “There must be the right material on which the American youth may settle their thoughts for a definite end in patriotism if our country is to have a new birth of freedom and if “this government of the people, by the people, and for the people is not to perish from the earth.”  This is so true for this day.

 

 

 

 

Is the United States Exceptional?

Yes! Definitely! You Bet! Absolutely! Without Question!

Start by asking yourself a question. How could so young a nation have become what we have become, and how could such an upstart do all that we have done in such a short period of time if we were not exceptional? Our history is minute in time in comparison with some other countries, yet we have done so much. Being exceptional doesn’t make you better than others; it makes you different with different gifts and different responsibilities. And we are different, or at least we were at our inception. So what makes us so different?

Our Founders were very special people. They created a new nation that would have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Many leaders and nations claim this, but our Founders did it. They created founding documents that could correct the evils they had experienced with government interactions with its people, and documents that would assure the  “of, by, and for.” They understood the nature of human beings and the temptations and foibles that accompany power. They understood the corruption that often follows power. They created a system of checks and balances. They meant to have a citizen government; unfortunately, we have nearly come to have a government of political professionals.

They created a Bill of Rights, a set of guarantees that would assure liberty and freedom for all its citizens then and now. They could not possibly have created what they created if they had not been futurists as well as realists. They did everything that they could to secure for the generations to follow what they fought and died for. These founding documents were not fashioned from thin air. A look at the governments of the various colonial states tell much about the breeding ground for the thoughts, deliberations, and actions of these incredible men. And they did all of this at their own peril and the peril of their families.

Think about this. Our founding is unique. It is exceptional. No nation before or since our founding has been given governing documents like those  that created our republic. Our Founders knew this was a job bigger than all of them. That’s why they acknowledged the presence of Divine Guidance. They knew that they had to have their God in the middle of the circle. So many of the principles and values found in early governing documents came from their strong Christian heritage, from their Bible. That’s how we became “the shining city on the hill.”

The light of that “city” is what makes us exceptional. We are willing to share that light. That’s why we try to shine the light of freedom, even in the most difficult of circumstances. We fight and die for our freedom and the freedom of others. We believe our rights come from our Creator, not our government. We believe in small, citizen government. We believe in limited government. We believe in hard work, self-responsibility, honesty and integrity, in serving and helping those in need, in being frugal, and in individual rights. And so much more.

We are exceptional. Not better than, but exceptional. Others saying it is not so does not change that. Only we can make us not exceptional by forgetting what makes us exceptional or destroying what keeps us exceptional.

The Pesky Establishment Clause

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Bill of Rights was passed in 1769 following the Revolutionary War. Freedom was won from the United Kingdom where the Anglican Church was the state religion.  The First Amendment, quoted above, has been and remains a social and political football.

The arguments center around three philosophical points of view. There are those who believe that the establishment clause prevents any government support or endorsement of religious establishments. A second point of view holds that the establishment clause prevents the formation of a Church of America, a national church, and maintains that the Founders were clear in their endorsement of Christianity. There is a third point of view that maintains that the government may support  or even endorse religious establishments as long as it shows equal treatment.

Thomas Jefferson is often quoted to suggest a wall of separation between church and state. “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”

It is certainly an indication of intent of the Founders that the same First Congress that proposed the Bill of Rights opened its legislative day with prayer. It must be noted that this same Congress voted federal dollars to establish Christian missions in the Indian lands.

Supreme Court interpretations of the Establishment Clause began in 1947 with Everson v Board of Education. The Court, in a 5-4 vote, upheld a state law that reimbursed parents for the cost of busing their children to parochial schools. It was thought that if the reimbursement had taken place, that the state would clearly have violated the Establishment Clause. Subsequent cases would indicate that even small factual differences make a difference in the outcome. Justice Black stated with one case that the Constitution did not require, “callous indifference to religion.”

It wasn’t until the 1960’s that prayer in the schools was outlawed with a new interpretation of the Constitution. Prayer and Bible readings were used in many public settings including the public schools. In 1782, the United States Congress passed a resolution recommending and approving the Holy Bible for use in all schools.

The question of school sponsored prayer has been and still is a hot item. Schools have done away with baccalaureate services even when the service is conducted in a church and attendance is optional. That is a narrow interpretation as a result of the assault on Christian beliefs using the Establishment Clause.

The McGuffey Reader was used for over a 100 years in the public schools of the United States. McGuffey declared the Christian religion to be the religion of our country. Many passages in the Reader were drawn from the Scriptures. Lincoln called McGuffey the “Schoolmaster of the Nation.” McGuffey spent his lifetime trying to instill his strong beliefs on the next generation. He believed that religion and education needed to be related to have a  healthy society.

The Readers were filled with stories that reflected the importance of religious values. The stories were about allegiance to the country, the importance of work, the need for an independent spirit, strength, character, and truth. The Readers helped to shape America’s character and standards for morality for more than a century.

The Readers followed the values and moral character found in many of the early documents of our Country. Some founding State documents talk of integrity, trust,  industry and mirror the standards of the Bible from which the ideas came. The importance of the Readers was extensive; it is estimated that 120 million Readers were sold between 1836 and 1960. They remained in use in some schools until 1978.

Clearly, there was not an issue with the Establishment Clause. To the contrary, it was deemed necessary to co-mingle education and religion to maintain the tenor of our nation, to maintain the principles upon which we were founded. ,

The history of these issues and decisions surrounding the Establishment Clause are co-mingled with the freedom of speech issue in the same amendment. Both are protected by the First Amendment that prevents the government from establishing religion and also prevents government interference of privately initiated religious speech and activities. Finding the clear distinction between the two is not always easy. The Supreme Court has made clear, however, that private religious speech and secular speech are equally protected

The Establishment Clause has been used for different causes and reasons to eliminate the use of religion and the practice of religion in any public situation. It is being used to try to remove God from any public area. There are efforts to remove “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. Perhaps the largest effort now is to remove “In God We Trust” from our currency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Proud Moment

It was a proud and satisfying moment when a reporter asked me whether I was a conservative or a liberal. Great! He couldn’t figure out what label to attach to my candidacy. The question came during the campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction in California in 1970. It is by design a non-partisan race. Campaigns are supposed to be about education, about kids and learning. Those educators running for election should be presenting their ideas, concepts, philosophy, research, and their proposals to improve the quality of California public schools. Their assumptions should be devoid of politics.

The reporter continued after his question. ,He said, “Sometimes you sound like a flaming liberal and sometimes like a staunch conservative. Where do you position yourself?”

That was perfect. When I walked into a classroom, sat in my  counseling office with a student, planned learning experiences, wrote curriculum, or did research, it was not as a politician. It was as an educator. It was, and is, always about learners, teaching, and learning. It was, and is, always about being the professional who can help to keep politicians out of the decision-making roles in education. It is bad enough to fight the rules and regulations imposed by state politicians who have acted to gain and maintain the support of political groups. It is more difficult to witness what happens from the federal level. Programs spring up and millions of dollars are spent to promote one group or another. Administrators spend hours and hours filling out forms and keeping records. Things that are birthed from political pressure usually end from political pressure. And we try another idea, or we wipe off an old idea, give it a new name, and find out that it was no better the second or the third time. When you take your eye off the ball, you can’t get to first base, let alone hit a home run.

When you think, act, dream, and implement only those ideas that are best for learners, there are no conservative or liberal labels. When people are free to become all they were created to be, there are no political labels.

Yes, there aren’t even any politically correct conversations.

Maybe the Presidency should be non-partisan

Public Schools in Troubled, Monopolistic Waters

Public schools are in troubled waters, troubled, monopolistic waters. Many feel public schools cannot be fixed because of the structure. Schools are government owned and government operated monopolies which are populated with learners who  are  forced  to attend. Parents cannot, for the most part, even send their children to any school in their district; they have a designated school and must get an intra-district transfer if they choose another school than the one designated

For more than eighty years I have been a rider on the merry-go-round called education. Experts with many ideas have jumped off and on. The dashing horses have been painted new colors and given new names. Sometimes the horses were replaced with elegant carriages. But the music didn’t change much; the same melodic sounds reminded you that it was still a monopolistic merry-go-round. It remained the only merry-go-round in town

The monopoly continues. Before compulsory education, literacy rates were higher than before this compulsory monopoly was created. Millions of American over the age of sixteen can’t read or fill in simple applications with personal data. Many can’t write simple letters or messages or do simple arithmetic problems. This monopoly has created a system of protections for some unfit, unwilling, and non-productive personnel; unions not only protect these people, but they make it difficult for the great committed people to do their jobs. Student learning suffers. It is a puzzle that an enterprise so important to everyone would not offer choice for its participants. It is strange that a system so important continues to remain a monopoly that has the power through unions to protect people who should not be with our children.     

There is a local union supported by a state union supported by a national union supported by union philosophy in general. There are many members in all these unions who would not belong to them if they had choice. These are the wonderful professionals who are committed and passionate about their work. They spend their time and energy helping young people accomplish their dreams. But their environment is clouded by the demands of the negotiations, the multi-level government requirements, and the malaise of many who are forced into this monopolistic monolith, public education.               .

One might ask how this entity stays in business, why parents don’t make other choices. Public schools are protected through government compulsion. Children are forced to attend, parents are forced to pay school taxes, school boards must negotiate with the unions, and unions oppose any school choice options that appear. In addition, private schools are out of the reach financially of most families. Charter schools particularly are opposed by the unions, and therefore, by many teachers who enlist the aid of their students’ parents to also oppose them.

Until this monopoly is broken, or by some magic, choice becomes a viable option for all, our merry-go-round will only see surface changes, new paint, a new melody here and there. The price for our young learners may become more critical. We now must add the fact that we have a carrousel not only not suited to many riders of the last century, but one now playing music that is not even recognized by the natives of the digital learners of the 21st century.

It is for all of these incredible digital natives like my grandchildren and the thousands of other 21st century learners, that this immigrant to the digital generation writes these words. I have spent my professional life trying to make this monopoly called public education less monopolistic, less compulsive, less governmental, and less servile. I put forth my ideas with joy and enthusiasm. I know that the human spirit is alive; the desire to learn is alive. I know that I have learned to negotiate the shoals of the troubled waters. I know that there are many who teach and learn with passion and purpose. They create the tapestries of their classrooms from the vibrations of the positive energy of their learners.

But we must have this for all learners. Our great country has been successful because of creativity, ingenuity, inventive hearts and minds, and  the pursuit of dreams. But it is sad that much of the ingenious enterprise and the technology that benefits us all has been spawned in someone’s garage and often by a drop-out of our educational system. That is sad. The institutions that profess to educate are often so confining that a mind full of creative ideas and dreams must exit those walls to survive, create, and grow.

 

 

College–Necessary, Irrelevant, an Entitlement, or a Vote?

Today as I sat at the end of my driveway after the first leg of my grateful walk, I sat in the cool air and looked across the countryside. I marveled at the beauty. How could a country girl from Iowa be so fortunate? Somehow my mind went back to the first school I attended on the Sand Cove, a country school near New Albin,Iowa. I was just four, but I didn’t know I was too young for the first grade. I loved it. I found a gold mine. I had a teacher and big kids to answer my many questions about my world.

I rather quickly traversed my early school experiences; my teacher’s faces had the same smiles; the wonder of the books and maps and the globe was still vivid; I could place my finger on the globe and dream. All held memories of excitement. High school in Lansing, Iowa, where my coach, Eddie Albertson, and the other wonderful teachers worked their magic, was small. The superintendent had a sign in his small office that read: There is always room at the top. It just added confirmation to what I already knew. I wasn’t staying on the bottom rung of any ladder–my own or any ladder placed in front of me.

And then I went to college. What an opportunity. I had no money; I had no job. I certainly did not have a college wardrobe. I didn’t have any idea what that might even be. But I never allowed those facts to cloud my screen of opportunity. I had the most important ingredient. I had faith. I did not have to see the entire path before I took the fist step. And my experience and heritage taught me that hard work produced answers to dreams.

My mental journey stopped. I was back in the reality of today. I listened to the news while I was eating my breakfast. There were the college audiences gathered to hear the campaign rhetoric. These young voters are being trained better each year to believe that a college education is their right. But that’s not where the entitlement stops. They want grants. When there are no grants available, they are convinced that they are entitled to loans. They are convinced that the money they borrow is a good investment for their future. They get deeper and deeper in debt. Each loan, they think, will get them closer to the pay-off of their investment.

Colleges set a great table of choices; students can feast at the table no matter the cost since most are not spending their money. Tuition costs have risen sharply. College debt of students has become enormous. Young people finish a degree or two or even the terminal degree for a profession, and find themselves with staggering debt. They remove their cap and gown, say goodbye to their college buddies, and head out to collect on their investment. They have the piece of paper that says they’re ready. And maybe they are, but for what decade.

Educators have a thing about relevancy. We spend vast sums of money to make curriculum relevant for our students. But somehow while we fiddle with the same set of stuff, we haven’t noticed that the music is the same. We have the same disciplines in our colleges, the same teaching methods, the same kinds of classroom, and professors with tenure and their disciplines to protect to keep it that way. I hate to say this, because I love books and I have a lot of them, but our libraries are filled with books that will never be used again. Even my granddaughter in the sixth grade needlessly carries heavy books around her campus all day when really all she would need with current technology, is one small electronic tablet in her backpack.

But back to our college students who are campaign targets. So far what I have heard is what they are entitled to have, including current talk of forgiving student loans. They are being trained to become permanent members of the culture of entitlement.

I want to hear some talk about students being responsible for their choices. I want to hear some straight talk about jobs. Tell them to be careful about their choices; check the economy. Tell them to ask the professor or advisor who is recommending  college majors to them, to give them the name of 5 recent grads of the program so they can check out where they work and what their pay is. Tell them to keep track of technology. Ask the young people who graduated in the last couple of years what the future holds for them. Ask them if the field they chose has any relevancy in this decade. Ask them if they need the expensive degree they have to do the job they are doing. And what about parents who held two jobs so their kids could get not only an irrelevant education but also were probably taught values that are contrary to parental values and to our founding principles. ,

In the past couple of years, I have talked with so many of my friends who have children or grandchildren with expensive college educations who are working for minimum wages in retail or fast food places. They have no chance to pay off their debt  with minimum wage.They feel cheated, deceived, and discouraged. Their hope is for change.

Don’t misunderstand me. I still believe in the value of a college education. And I have respect for the degrees people earn; I am proud of my doctorate from UCLA.  And if someone wants to study one of the great disciplines for enjoyment and knowledge, that’s great  But if they hope that their education is directly job-related, there needs to be more “truth in lending,” and colleges and universities need to have more job=relevant majors. If colleges and universities are to exist in the future, they must serve this generation and the generations of the future rather than the tenured professors who occupy their hallowed halls. I mean no disrespect for those many great and noble professors at our universities; I was a tenured professor at major universities. But I truly believe that our colleges and universities must become relevant, and they must be totally honest about how they fit into the future of this great republic.

AMERICA TRANSFORMED OR RESTORED–YOUR CHOICE

We have had the eyes of the world upon us from the inception of our country. There were more abroad, I believe, who understood the special nature of our great land than perhaps there were among us who grew up with liberty and assumed that it would always be with us. I am keenly aware that my liberty as I’ve been privileged to live it for the 91 years I have been given, is very much in jeopardy.

It is the eye that I have upon myself that compels me to write this document. I have given my life to serving in a profession for which I still have great passion. As an educator, I wonder what I could have done earlier, what I could have contributed to the minds of our new generations to preserve the tenets of our founders. All know that to transform a country you must control the minds of the young. You must erode the values that stand in the way of the transformation. You must change education.

You You must count on the respect that students have for their teachers. You gradually replace the facts about our great nation with other  ‘facts.”  You use the establishment clause to take away, to make illegal any mention of God or the “faith of our founders.”

Those of us who refuse to allow the transformers to have their way know, too, that we have allowed others to re-write our history books. We have allowed multicultural ideas and activities to become the god of plurality and diversity. No people could possibly be more diverse than the multitudes from around the world that came to our shores. But they did not carry the flags of their nation on our holidays; they proudly carried the American flag as they sang our national songs. Yes, they added the richness of their culture to blend into the culture of this new, great land. From their easel of experiences and varied backgrounds, they painted the great portrait that became America.

They taught their children English; they kept their unique language words and accents and honored each other. Boston folks don’t sound like Brooklynites.Texas has its bigness, Montana has its big sky country; California has lost its unique golden images of the past. You recognize the language variables of the Southern states, and the unique “o” sounds of several of the Midwestern.states. But all spoke English as quickly as they could.

We have forgotten to tell those who come to our shores that citizenship of any great state requires a single language, a simple form of bonding. What have we wrought when we have students who graduate from our schools who still speak a “native language” other than English, for their first language? Why have we been so tolerant that we forgot that we needed to have a single language for our culture and for those to understand fully that they are in the United States?

We have become afraid to be proud of our country, the country that millions have sought to call their own. We have taught our young to apologize for being American rather than teaching them to understand and respect the cultures of other lands without diminishing their own. They can show this respect  while still demonstrating their love, respect, pride, and gratitude for being an inhabitant of the “Shining Cityon the Hill.”

Don’t talk to me about discrimination; I know it exists because I have experienced it   Don’t talk to me about being poor; I know poverty exists because I have experienced it. Don’t talk to me about any of the negative things that many have used to put down my country and to minimize the greatness and most of all the uniqueness of my great land. Talk to me about the opportunities that the teeming throngs have found in this great land. Talk to me about the goodness and charity of our nation. Talk to me about the things that people have done to escape tyranny and risk all including their lives to come toward the light of freedom.

It has been the shining city on the hill, the light of reason and liberty. But I see the light dimming, I see the efforts to make me believe that the light can be made brighter by taking away my freedoms, my independence, my ability to keep what I am willing to labor for, and my understanding of what made our country great.

I do not want my great nation transformed. I want it restored to  greatness, greatness achieved by its citizens who followed the founding principles. I want my grandchildren to understand and feel that pride. I never want them to apologize for being a citizen of the United States of America.