Another “Fourth of July” weekend is upon us. Independence Day. Another opportunity for Americans to relax, to take a day or two off from work and enjoy the company of family and friends amidst the roasting of weenies, drinking of beer, and (of course) the eating of copious amounts of s’mores while watching enchanting fireworks shows from your backyard.
But why? What is the history behind this momentous day in America’s past? Just what is it that we commemorate on the “Fourth of July”? Some of you might be making a face at your screen right about now, wondering why I would ask such pointless, asinine questions. Everyone knows the answers to them…right?
You’d be surprised (and, if you’re a history teacher like me, completely disgusted) to find out how many Americans don’t know the answers to those questions, how many of them are ignorant of the history behind their nation’s fight for independence and victory over a manipulative, avaricious tyrant.
For the past six years, media analyst Mark Dice has roamed the beaches of San Diego, California, for his annual “Fourth of July Man on the Street” interviews, during which he asks several passersby a variety of questions about Independence Day to gauge their knowledge of, arguably, the most important day in America’s history.
The interviews speak for themselves. Quite loudly.
As you watched, did you find yourself laughing at the absurdity of their answers? Did you find yourself appalled that those answers were also 100% genuine? Did you notice how few of them actually knew the “Fourth of July” was a celebration of America’s independence; how only one or two of them knew the country from which we separated to secure our independence; how not one of those interviewed thought to correct Dice when he intentionally fed them fake facts re: Independence Day or the Founding Fathers?
And these people are allowed to vote in our elections? Yikes.
Just to clear this up, here are the answers to Mark Dice’s questions, summed up for you:
The Second Continental Congress officially approved Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee’s motion for the colonies to formally declare independence from Great Britain on July 2, 1776. The reason we celebrate on July 4 every year, is because that is the day the Declaration of Independence was approved (but not necessarily signed) by all of the delegates. Among those who signed the Declaration were Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams, names every student should (but probably doesn’t) know.
It makes you wonder if this isn’t the implicit goal of the American public education system in the first place, to create citizens just like those in Dice’s video.
Last week, I wrote about the failures of our education system by the numbers, and the reasons why we need to revamp our system to better serve our students, to impart on them even the most basic of knowledge (including important historical facts about their nation) so they can become informed, useful, active contributors to society. But the uninformed voter, the uninformed citizen, is that much more pliable and susceptible to manipulation.
But hop on social media and what will you see? Grown adults still complaining about President Trump’s tweets and calling for his impeachment, decrying Independence Day because “America was built on slavery,” “love trumps hate”, “muh racism”, and all other such hypocritical, cognitively dissonant nonsense. Thousands of millennials continuing to join in on the pointless “butthurt”, because they don’t know any better and can’t think for themselves.
If you doubted me before about the motives of those controlling public school policy and funding, hopefully this has opened your eyes a little wider.
Do not forget what it is we celebrate on this day. We commemorate the birth of a nation among nations, the land of the free and home of the brave, a country that was born out of patriotic fervor and a thirst for autonomy. We commemorate our Founding Fathers’ decision to break away from a tyrannical master over 3,000 miles away, their choice to put personal freedom above all else. Because of this day, you are allowed to speak your mind and defend yourself. Because of this day, you are allowed to pursue happiness in a land of opportunity in which most only dream of living.
Be thankful for that. Please educate yourselves and educate your children. Do not allow them to grow up without knowing the truth about the genesis of this amazing nation. And remember what our soldiers sacrifice every day, so that the seemingly unattainable dream that was realized 241 years ago can continue to live on.