Peter Greene writes that what makes America special is that we do things the hard way, not the easy way. The hard way is democracy. The hard way is to discuss and debate and protect the voices of dissenters. When it comes to running a country, the easiest way to do it is to put one guy in charge and let him tell everybody how to do everything. He can be picked by heredity or tradition or power or wealth; he can be installed by a committee of Important People, or by the roar of the crowd, or even a legitimate-ish election. But the important part-- the easy part-- is that once you have him installed, you just let him run everything. No debates. no discussions, no big arguments about What To Do Next-- just let your Grand High Potentatial Poohbah decide it all.There's a Less Easy but Still Pretty Easy way of doing things, which is to use an absolute democracy. Every issue that comes up, you vote on. The answer chosen by the majority is the answer the whole country uses, and discussion of the issue is over. If you're in the minority, you just shut up, and stay shut up.
'We have always been annoyed by our own system. We're irritated by the way it fosters unending debate on every little thing-- even things that we thought were already decided'. ...'On top of that, our peculiar brand of running a country ties all of our citizens together, so that people in one community'... 'And so we are always bedeviled by folks who want to get America to do things the easy way. And with the unleashing of Citizens United, many of our wealthy citizens are doing their best to move us to an easier system, a system where the people who are Better just go ahead and settle issues for the rest of us. Also, why shouldn't I be able to just close the doors on my gated community, pay for my own police and fire company, and just not have to give a cent to those Other People?'...'
Without the arguing and debating and voices that just won't shut up, you can't move forward....'
Living in a pluralistic society is hard. Saying that human beings all have value and acting like you really mean it is hard. Dealing with people who don't see things the same way you do is hard. Educating the children of an entire nation is hard. So the current struggle in education against the forces who would like to reduce education to an easy solution is not just about education, but another version of our national struggle. There will always be people who want to silence others in the name of ease and efficiency, and they will always be wrong. To look at the rich, complex business that is the education of an entire nation's varied population of young people-- to look at that and think that there is an easy answer to How To Do It-- is to be both unAmerican and simply foolish. ...
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I began teaching in 1963,; Ba and BS in Education -Brooklyn College. I have the equivalent of 2 additional Master's, mainly in Literacy Studies and Graphic Design. I was the only seventh grade teacher of English from 1990 -1999 at East Side (more...)