The Power Of Choice

What I have enjoyed the most about being a citizen in our nation is:  THE POWER OF CHOICE.  There is something that is in our DNA as AMERICANS that includes THE POWER OF CHOICE.  There are other nations that take that power away.  I am afraid that is beginning to happen in our nation.  We are seeing more and more choices being taken away.  More and more laws are being developed that are “for our good.”  “They” know better.

We are seeing the power of choice being limited in what we eat.  Cities ban sugary drinks.

We are seeing the power of choice being limited by what we can eat at schools.  Due to allergies that others have, we cannot have peanuts and other food items.  I don’t want to seem insensitive to those who suffer allergies; yet, let’s learn how to be able to eat what we want and be responsible to those who do suffer serious allergies.  Now, we are being asked to not eat certain foods because, literally, one or two percent of a student population now controls the other 98%-99% of the schools’ food choices?

We are seeing the power of choice being limited in when and where we smoke.  For heaven sake, in some states, one cannot even smoke in their backyard because their neighbor can’t handle it.

The power of choice to be patriotic is being limited.  Huh?  Well, just today, I saw an article that California High School in San Ramon will not be having the National Anthem played at the start of their school rallies “citing racial controversy at a school where vandals had once trashed the bathroom with signs of “whites” and “colored.”

Where are the adults?  Where are the teachers?  Reading the article, it sounds like the teacher abdicated her role to teach the students what the “controversial” verse really represents.  A verse, by the way, that isn’t even sung.  If there was any reason to “ban” the National Anthem at a public-school rally, I thought it would have been this verse:  O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation! Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”

Instead, what caused the California High School students, not teacher, students make this decision to not allow the National Anthem at their school rallies is based on this stanza:  And where is that band who so vauntingly swore, That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion A home and a Country should leave us no more? Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.  The students at this school, a school that has had issues of overt racism, thought that the power of choice to have the National Anthem at the start of their rallies is not inclusive.   The California High School Associated Student Body behaved like an oppressive government and made the choice for their followers.  The opposite behavior / decision would be just as bad:  mandating that all students stand and sing every word and if not, discipline will follow.   

“After learning about the third verse, the other ASB officers and I thought that this was completely unacceptable and must be removed from the rally,” the letter said in part. “We had nothing but good intentions by removing the song so that we could be fully inclusive to our student body.” I hope one person at California High School, be it a student or teacher (would be interested if a teacher had the courage to speak-up) asked, “how does removing our National Anthem at our school’s rallies include all of us, especially, since we don’t sing the “offensive” third stanza.”  I would love to hear the answer.  Again, the power of choice is being limited and I don’t think the high school students see that happening.

Our students are learning what life is like in the “enlightened” United States… the government knows better.  The Associated Student Body is the school’s government.  They made the decision because they have the power to make the decision.  According to the article, they didn’t take survey or poll or vote on whether to have the National Anthem at their rallies.  Why?  What a great moment to teach high school students to express their voice.  There are specific writings on the third stanza – pro & con.  Study both the “pro & con” and then make your decision.

Here is what I would have done… the power of choice:  during the playing of the National Anthem, those who CHOOSE not to stand or CHOOSE not to be a part of the playing of the National Anthem, please feel free to take a knee or wait outside.  I want the power of choice to make a comeback.  I want the students to learn the responsibility of choice.  People may not like your choice, even not like you …make that choice anyway.  By the California High School Associated Student Body choosing for the students, the students don’t have the choice to respond.  How many other choices are you going give-up?

Parent Garrett Fogel said that he realized the move would “ruffle feathers,” but at the same time, he applauded the students for their social awareness of this “trending issue,” adding “they have every right to do it.”  I am all for social awareness if both sides of “truth” are expressed.  Right now, one side of “truth” is being expressed.  There is a movement for public schools to down play patriotism with the message that downplaying patriotism is patriotism?!  Allow the students the choice to be a part of the National Anthem.

2 thoughts on “The Power Of Choice”

  1. I was taught how to learn not what to think. It appears to me that is not the focuse of many of today’s schools. Choice allows for decent and free thought. Once again this seems like an example of indoctrination of an ideology rather than true concern for inclusion.

    1. Hello:
      Thank you very much for taking the time to read the “article” and to respond. I strongly agree with your statement. I am as proud of the students for not standing for, let’s say, “The Pledge of Allegiance” as I am for those who stand-up and recite “The Pledge!” Would I like all the students to stand-up??? 29 years ago?? When I started teaching…Absolutely… all of them SHOULD STAND-UP!! Today, I would like all the students to stand-up. However, in today’s world, to see the students stand or not seems to be the freedom of choice we should embrace.

      I am concerned that public education is pushing a social agenda. I have not felt that “push” as much as I felt it at a Friday, February 10, 2017, district-wide school meeting for teachers hosted by “Killarney” High School. The KHS students asked the teachers “If you were on a time machine, what time period and where would you like to visit?” A teacher IN FRONT OF THE STUDENTS. answered, “Any time prior to January 20, 2017!!” Huge applause by many of the teachers and…… the students. hmmmmm… From what I heard, the teacher did not receive any disciplinary action.

      It’s just a matter of time…

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