Schools should encourage critical thinking, full understanding of past

Posted 10 August 2020 at 7:31 am


Let me first start by sharing my appreciation for your commitment to free speech and providing an avenue for residents (and past residents) to share their opinions.

With that being said, I am gravely disappointed by the abhorrent and putrid ideas that are festering in my community back home. Something clearly changed in society within the last four years that has permitted individuals to share such vile opinions without concern for others.

In a recent letter titled “Don’t let ‘leftist indoctrination’ rule in school classrooms,” I see an apparent objection to educating younger generations.

Over the course of several letters directed to the editor, the author seems to indicate that our children would be better served in ignorance, unable to critically question what is happening in the world around them. This belief encourages us to accept the great American experiment as an unquestionable success and for that reason, we have ascended above all others. Anything else is pure “Marxism.”

At some point we will stop setting up these straw man arguments, drawing attention away from the true issues put forth. The author would prefer that we understand the genocide of Native Americans at the hands of Europeans as acceptable because of the alleged “genocidal treatment by Indians against other Indians.”

How dare we suggest that our founding fathers were racist? That the enslavement of human beings, the auction or sale of people, is acceptable in some way because “the slave trade was initiated by African kings.” Then again, this is the same person who denies the existence of white supremacy and systemic racism. If we believe hard enough, or at least ignore enough, it does not really exist, right?

At this exact moment in time, there is nothing that makes us superior to all other countries. We are organizing a presidential election while two global superpowers are openly preparing to influence the results. Our nation is currently debating the future of Confederate monuments, statues erected to the memory of white supremacists who lost a war over 150 years ago; seems quite contrary to our founding beliefs?

There is no need to tap into the statistics from that “hoax” called COVID-19 to see where we rank globally. At this point, it seems as though we cannot even guarantee those inalienable rights Jefferson defined in the Declaration of Independence.

If educating oneself to critically question our history and society makes them a Marxist, I guess I am a Marxist? Instead, I would encourage the author to pick up a copy of Marx’s Communist Manifesto and redefine his understanding of socialism, communism, and Marxism. Otherwise, we should expect to regularly read the continued regurgitation of Trumpian rhetoric that so easily defines the right.

Matthew Ballard

Statesville, NC (formerly Clarendon, NY)