Thursday, September 15, 2016

How America Went Wrong: We taught the answers, rather than encouraging the questions



(This opinion article is about asking the right questions in order to save America. )


My name is Frank Ellsworth Lockwood. I am a Greenie! I support Jill Stein and the #GreenParty and I plan to continue to do this, regardless of who I may vote for in they upcoming elections 

This article explains just one of the reasons why.


Republicans and Democrats like to present the world as black and white, no shades of grey. Either-or thinking is official policy of the United States. Your political party or my party. Your race or my race. Your religion or my religion. Hey, it does not have to be that way! 

Back in the sixties, the school curriculum was less crowded than nowadays, which for some of us meant there was more time for thinking.  There was room for story-telling, and show-and-tell, art and music! Somewhere along the way, however, we stopped asking the right questions and threw out all the good stuff in order to please the high schools that were breaking their backs to please the colleges and universities, which in turn were in a rat-race to please corporations. Effectively, American education became a wing of corporate America. 
Sure, in my day we didn't know half of what the kids know nowadays. We were way less "technical." The microchip was still on the drawing boards or existed mostly in prototypes. We didn't know about about modern genetics as we now understand the subject, there was not gene splicing, and we still put butter on burn wounds. So all was not perfect 
However, we did have one major advantage as college kids: Our professors were saying things like, "Sometimes the questions are more important than the answers." Back then, the Vietnam War was heating up, and the more it heated up, the more college youth began to question the wisdom of their elders. 
Soon we were questioning almost everything, and amazingly, as we questioned, unexpected answers began rolling in. 
We questioned, among other things, the government's narrative on the justification for the Vietnam War. We questioned the lessons we were taught in history classes. And we questioned the myths and legends of our glorious "Founding Fathers." We questioned, at least some of us questioned, the biblical few of creation, and the hitherto sanctimonious justification for Westward Expansion. 
But as the questions -- and often the answers -- shocked our parents, another thing was happening. Certain religious and political leaders paired up to ask themselves, "What are we going to do about all these brazen question askers." And they devised a plan
The plan was simple as it was effective: Attach schools and education as substandard, keep adding to the curriculum mercilessly, while attacking them for not "keeping up" with the times. Enlist common religious folk to vote into power politicians who would question the very foundations of modern society: That is, to question science and to berate scientistic research as "phony" science whenever it made corporate business uncomfortable. Demand that schools meet the perceived needs of business and narrow the focus while belittling the classical goals of liberal education. 
The plan worked. The best and brightest of our students were top notch. And we also produced a new generation of people who could easily and rapidly flip hamburgers, and who would accept their party's propaganda unthinkingly, and who would chant the mantra of austerity and repeat the myth of Horatio Alger, as if it applied even remotely to them as they advanced from the fry line to the front line and became checkers and cashiers. Ca-ching for the companies that voted down every attempt to raise minimum wages, without every questioning the narrative that these low wages were saving America.  We still had children thinking that Christopher Columbus was a nice man and settlers as the "good guys" ushering in civilization to the utmost reaches of America. 
Whenever groups among that generation began to ask questions they were marginalized. Questions such as, "How well has the two party system served the working class?" were repressed. Even the political candidate, Bernie Sanders, who questioned the status quo and almost became the Democratic candidate for President, was marginalized with questionable and probably illegal repression on the part of the Democratic National Committee. 
But questioning is the very thing that can save America at a time when almost everyone agrees the system is broken. Actually it is not "broken," rather it is "rigged," to restrict access and control to the two main parties.
Various attempts to change the system and empower the working class have, hitherto, failed in the face of massive resistance and opposition from very rich and very powerful individuals. Which has made some of us wonder, with yet another question: "Has the time come to replace the two-party system with something that is more open and flexible, and lest subject to fraud, corruption and corporate control? 
I for one think the answer is yes. That we must do this and we must begin now. That is why I am supporting the Green Party, and why I am asking you, regardless of what party you belong to and regardless of which candidate you plan to vote for, to start laying the groundwork now for a new, non-violent Revolution that will replace the inheretly unjust system that we now have. 
Never has there been a time when we more needed to question the wisdom of our corporate elders. Corporations are not people, no matter what the current law says. Only people are people Let's create a government of, by and for all the people, not just the few. Let the questioning begin and let it continue until we create a newer, more just system. 

Any questions?


#askingtherightquestions #questioning #Greenparty #thinkingskills #thesystemisbroken #brokensystem

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