The fate of U.S. history

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NEWS AND OPINION:

Americans don’t know much about their own history anymore — a phenomenon that undermines the nation and shortchanges the public.

So says Tim Goeglein, vice president for external and government relations at Focus on the Family and author of the new book “Toward a More Perfect Union: The Moral and Cultural Case for Teaching the Great American Story.”

Absence of traditional, genuine awareness of U.S. history — so welcome and important in the classrooms of earlier generations — is a profound loss to the nation, Mr. Goeglein told City Journal, an urban policy magazine published by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.  

“So much of the cultural chaos we are experiencing today — incivility, violence in inner cities, misconceptions about the role of government — is tied to two things: first, Americans don’t know their history or how their government works; and second, the history they do know is distorted and has created a victim mentality,” he said in the interview.

“Instead of history bringing us together under a collective narrative, it is now taught in a way that puts people and groups against one another. That is why it is a moral and cultural case. I believe if we can recapture the accurate teaching of American history, it will result in an appreciation of our shared heritage and beliefs, as well as a more unified and civil America,” Mr. Goeglein advised.

He also suggested a few primary reading sources for the nation’s schools.

“Every student should read the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. But many public schools are increasingly not teaching about these documents, so students have no idea of their content. Great speeches such as Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address, Dwight Eisenhower’s First Inaugural Address, and John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address are all primary sources that students should read and discuss because they teach an appreciation of our country as well as our rights and responsibilities as citizens. Once you have that appreciation, it changes your perspective from fear to hope and from dismay to gratitude,” Mr. Goeglein told the publication.

DESCRIBE AMERICA

An NBC News survey asked respondents to pick a word or short phrase to describe “where America is headed in the next year.”

Unfortunately, 69% of the words or phrases used to describe the nation’s future were negative. Just 23% were positive and 9% were neutral, according to the survey.

So how are we feeling these days?

“Downhill” was most cited among the many negative words and phrases suggested by respondents. “Disaster” came next, followed by “hard times,” “wrong track,” “declining economy,” “concerned,” “anxious,” “chaos,” fearful,” “no compromise,” “divided” — to round out the top-10.

The positive words or phrases: “hopeful,” “right direction,” “positive,” “optimistic,” “moving forward,” “upward,” “good,” “economic growth,” “unity” and “recovery.”

And the neutral word or phrases: “Uncertain,” “neutral,” “confused,” “nothing,” “don’t know.”

See more opinions and the survey particulars in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

NEWS FROM FLORIDA

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has revealed that the “Hometown Heroes” housing assistance program has awarded over $50 million in down payment and closing cost assistance to a noteworthy demographic in need of a boost to purchase their first home in the Sunshine State. That demographic includes law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, educators, health care professionals, child care employees, corrections officers, and active military personnel and veterans.

The program was launched in June 2022.

“Hometown heroes have dedicated their lives to serving their communities, and deserve our thanks. I am proud that in just over six months we have been able to help nearly 3,500 hometown heroes purchase their first home,” Mr. DeSantis said in a written statement.

THE GRASS GROWS GREENER

MJBizDaily.com — a news organization covering legal marijuana businesses around the nation — has a report that would certainly amaze the ancient old hippies of yore who lived in an era when marijuana was illegal.

“Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board handed out 20 provisional licenses for marijuana consumption lounges, including 10 set aside for social equity applicants. Both stand-alone lounges and those affiliated with retail stores received permits through a random drawing, including 10 social equity licensees,” the online publication said in a report released Jan. 25.

“Those 10 are eligible for discounted fees if they have a nonviolent cannabis conviction on their record and live in an underprivileged neighborhood. According to Las Vegas TV station KLAS, almost all of the 20 licenses went to companies in Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County,” the report said.

“Nevada regulators approved consumption lounges in June, and an estimated 60-65 licenses will be issued,” it noted, citing  The Lexi Hotel as a typical example.

“The 64-room hotel will feature ‘an entire fourth floor that will be designated cannabis-friendly,’ according to a news release,” the publication advised.

For those who wonder, such “cannabis tourism” is a $17 billion industry, according to a Forbes report published in 2022.

“From marijuana farm tours to ‘bud and breakfast’ hotels, American destinations are discovering that ‘canna-cations’ aren’t just for stoners anymore,” the report said at the time.

POLL DU JOUR

• 80% of U.S. adults think Congress should address immigration by providing “a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements, including background checks.”

• 75% think Congress should “take a harder line against China on military and economic policies.”

• 72% think Congress “should increase funding for border security.”

• 64% think it should “address climate change.”

• 49% think it should “provide more funding and weapons to Ukraine.”

• 31% think it should “make cuts to the defense budget.”

• 26% think it should “pass legislation that provides additional restrictions on abortions.”

Source: An NBC poll of U.S. adults conducted Jan. 20-24.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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