I found this article linked from nifra’s LJ, and posted a comment, which I’ve reproduced here (because I’m still just so upset).
That article (which talks about how 1 in 3 teens thinks the First Amendment goes too far) scares the hell out of me. When I was in elementary and high school (and I’m only 26, so it wasn’t that long ago), we were taught, again and again, the importance of the Constitution, of what it means to be an American.
“I may not agree with what you say, but I will die to defend your right to say it.”
What I’ve been seeing lately, though – and what this article confirms – is that this country and all it stands for (which is utterly unique in all the world) is being taken for granted by its citizens. Taken for granted to such an appalling degree that as a nation, we risk losing it all. Ignorance will strip us of our rights, and it might just happen without anyone realizing it – or caring.
And it makes me so angry. I’ve seen first hand the soul shattering poverty the rest of this world endures. I’ve seen what a lack of basic freedoms does to a person. There is a reason why so many people long to come to this country – there is a reason why, despite the media’s assertations that everyone hates us – so many dream of coming here.
We’ve gotten spoiled. Our American kids, our American adults, are spoiled rotten on freedom. But there is no greater teacher than suffering, and I say we make every kid in this country go through a rite of passage – a life course – in what it really means to be an American. Make them go to a camp for the summer as part of the public school program where they have to live like the other 90 percent. Make them see what a police-controlled state feels like. Let them worry about someone knocking on their door to take them away in the night, or being raped to death by soldiers who can do anything the hell they want.
Okay, so maybe that’s extreme. But it’s our responsibility to teach our children how to appreciate the inheiritance that so many have died to protect. It’s time they learned how to be starry-eyed about this nation, instead of cynical brats who are so ignorant, and who are inviting the end of their most awesome privilege: living in America.