Democracy as Lesson of the Day and Finest Hour

Nov 4, 2020 by

Let’s not scapegoat the Department of Education. They are not to blame for every debacle in history.  They are not on the hook for the encirclement at Dunkirk or the Panic of 1837.  They are partially to blame for the slapstick-like conception of school attendance during the pandemic, but eventually that particular travesty will become just another footnote in the archives.
But there is one duty that the DOE had better not abrogate or else its failure will overshadow its front-line pedagogues’ legion of achievements over the generations:  teaching our students the meaning of democracy and their obligations to preserve and advance it.

Never has this been more urgent than in light of the presidential election. That would be the case no matter how it turned out, as the global stakes are higher than was imaginable until very recently.

Understanding our indissoluble bond to democracy does not require any particular level of literacy. Just like being a decent person does not demand as a precondition any given cultural affinity or acquired sophistication.
It is divinely ordained and an awareness shared by natural education.  Teachers are responsible for ensuring that a component of morality penetrates all professional development.

We should all be guided by the published message in last Sunday’s New York Times.  It is technically a  full-page paid advertisement,  but readers should experience it as a public service gospel for folks of every rational ideological faith.

Signed by many of the foremost luminaries in the field of education, it has been validated  by legions of intellectual and spiritual leaders who, as witnesses of the “Democracy Declaration”, “endorse democracy as a means of giving voice to each one of us, of expressing the dignity of each individual, of representing the values of our society and of ensuring the lawful transition of authority.”

We must not be worn down by the weight of events. No matter how earth-shaking they are, we must build up our nation undeterred, the primitive glory of  “exceptionalism” as a humanistic enterprise rather than a boastful exercise, and a devotion to the sanctity of all people.

Ron Isaac

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.