American Elephants

Is America Exceptional? Big Debate in Nebraska. Kids Won. by The Elephant's Child


Students in Nebraska are getting new standards for social studies curriculum, after weeks of intense debate. The state Board of Education reached agreement on two items of controversy this week: whether to include “American exceptionalism” and how to teach about “climate change,” in the first revision of the curriculum in twenty years.

The words”American exceptionalism” do not appear in the final draft, but the concept does. In the sixth through eighth grade U.S. history standards, one of the “indicators” —indicators of what to teach— is “the unique nature of the creation and organization of the American Government, and the United States as an exceptional nation based upon personal freedom, the inherent nature of citizens’ rights and democratic ideals.”

Climate change  appears in the sixth-through eighth-grade geography standards, but is presented as a theory, not as fact, asking students to evaluate “recent global climate change theories and evidence that supports and refutes such theories.”

Well, that’s about as namby-pamby as you can get, but they are at least on the right track. I think most of us could improve on the phrasing, and clarify the thought.

Lefty rag Mother Jones is horrified. The headline is  “Nebraska Kids to Learn America is Awesome, Climate Change is Just a Theory.” Well, the climate is always changing, just as it always has. And there has been no warming for sixteen years, but “theory” is maybe a little strong. The story by Kate Sheppard is straightforward, but the comments are quite clear that only knuckle-dragging Christian fundamentalists could believe such nonsense.

Those who deny American exceptionalism demonstrate only their ignorance of American history, or their having been swayed by the prop0aganda of Howard Zinn’s dreadful A People’s History of the United States, which is actually assigned in many school districts across the country, to our shame.


2 Comments so far
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I keep hearing this word “exceptionalism”. So what is American exceptionalism? Is it similar to the Aryan race of Germany? It seems to me that conservatives want to wrap my flag in their cross and guns. Some would say that this is fascism. Of course I have heard that liberals are fascist.

And as for climate change… I will not get into the science of CO2 and the physics of those molecules at it relates to the different types of energy waves nor will I get into the science of the life cycle of carbon unless of course you are interested in that discussion.

This is a suggestion to all conservatives if they want to keep on winning. The reason that conservatives lost is that they were to busy telling everyone what was wrong the “others” and how the “others” are out to destroy all that is good in the world.

This independent fears angry white guys wrapping my flag in their god and guns more then a “socialist”.


Comment by Mark Baird

I think the term “exceptional” to most everyone refers to liberty. You claim to be an independent, Mark, but you sound like a lib, with very strange impressions of conservatives. There are many evangelicals who are Republicans. There are many Republicans who are not. The exceptional refers to the Declaration which makes “the pursuit of happiness” one of our founding truths. Many nations have constitutions that tell the people what they may do or are entitled to. We have a constitution that belongs to “we the people” that tells the government the limited things that they may do. It is what has made America the nation that is depended on when peoples are in trouble. No other nation has such a constitution. Doesn’t mean there are not constant attempts by politicians and others to grab more power.

I don’t know where you get some of these ideas, they are pure propaganda. What conservatives were busy telling people what was wrong with what others? What nonsense. “This independent fears angry white guys wrapping my flag in their god and guns more than a “socialist.”” What angry white guys? This makes no sense whatsoever. Are you frightened because Mike Huckabee said that Newtown happened because we banned God from the schools? Guns were banned from the school, and someone with a concealed carry permit could have prevented a lot of death. Huckabee was a Baptist minister before he got into politics. The world is filled with all sorts of people with different views and different beliefs, but I don’t know of any angry old white men who are wrapping your flag in anything. Nor do I know of any Republicans who are talking about “the other.”Republicans aren’t the ones obsessed by race. Republicans don’t gerrymander districts to be all minority so they will elect a minority. Republicans were the party of Abolition, and haven’t changed those views. The end point of the racial debate is neither reparations or separating everyone up into skin colors and ethnic groups. The end point is indifference to those things. The history of socialism is pretty clear—over 100 million of their own people killed by their own government for political purposes. Socialism has been a failure, whether the Pilgrims, Robert Owen, the Soviet Union and it’s satellite states, China, Vietnam, Venezuela, Cuba, and contemporary Europe. Read less bumper stickers and read better books.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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