March 17, 2010

The Sixty Second Patriot #1

This is George Washington.  He is called the "Father of Our Country" because he led the army that fought the British for America's independence.  For six years, he had to be away from his home and family, fighting what was then the most powerful country in the world. It was difficult but Washington found a way to win.  When the war was over, he became the first President of the United States, and he created the tradition of Presidents serving two terms so no one man would ever become as powerful as a king.  Today he is a symbol of American bravery and moral values.



The Sixty-Second Patriot series of posts is intended to provide teachers who are required to engage in "patriotic exercises" with truthful, age-appropriate, meaningful, educationally-rich, non-controversial, secular alternatives to rote recital of the Pledge of Allegiance, as well as brief meditations on American history, civics, and values accessible to all people.  Suggestions and contributions to this series from Readers are welcome.

4 comments:

M1rth said...

If you reduce GW to sixty seconds, you're even more dishonest than I thought you were.

M1rth said...

Let's see, what's left out:

- Washington's addresses concerning the entanglement of foreign powers.

- The precedent set regarding the "advise and consent" portion of the constitution: never again was a President so stupid as to ask the bickering idiots of the Senate to "advise" on anything.

- His advice against forming political parties (boy was THAT a fuck-up on our part)...

- His favoring of Federalist ideas (Hamilton) over anti-Federalists (Jefferson)

- The precedent of calling up the local militias (National Guard) in quelling the Whiskey Rebellion

- Denunciation of the French attempt to form "Democratic-Republican Societies" to try to get the US entangled in British-French conflict, and demand of the removal of the French ambassador for same.

- the Jay Treaty, which set much of the eastern US/Canada border and put the US towards peaceful terms with Britain.

But hey, if you want to distill things to 60 seconds on the basis of some misguided notion towards brainwashing and bullshitting kids, be my guest.

zzi said...

A post less than 1500 words and you happened to write in on Geo. Washington.

How about this, "my mom was a nice person and made sure I ate breakfast in the morning and got me off to school."

Transplanted Lawyer said...

Lighten up, Francis.

It's not my intention here to compress Washington's complex, lengthy, and mostly admirable career into approximately sixty seconds. Nor is it my intention to ghostwrite a civics or history class.

I'm trying to provide a secular equivalent of the Pledge of Allegiance which would count as a "patriotic exercise."

The Pledge of Allegiance takes about a minute to recite. Most teachers don't have much time to take away from their regularly-assigned subjects to talk about things like late eighteenth-century global diplomacy and the nuances of the partisan tightrope Washington walked during his Presidency. That sort of thing is appropriate subject matter of a history class, not for a "patriotic exercise" intended to be the equivalent of the Pledge and to not substantially intrude on teaching things like math and English.

So if you think I'm somehow being ideological with my content here, I invite you to help me out with this project. You're welcome to be a "conservative voice" if you wish, and input from that perspective -- if offered constructively rather than sneeringly -- would be welcome. I am left with the impression that you're intentionally misunderstanding my aims so as to classify me as a leftist culture warrior, but I invite you to prove me wrong on that score. And my good-faith intention here is to sidestep the culture wars entirely.

So let's start over since you don't seem to like my phrasing of this particular subject matter. How would you phrase a very brief appreciation of George Washington?