I'm not personally religious, but I thought my friend explained this 1776 commission well with a bit of a religious twist to it: Lately I’ve been hearing things about history education that have been very concerning. Our president is talking about implementing a new curriculum of “patriotic history” with his 1776 Commission. “This curriculum will teach kids to love America with all their heart and all their soul.” I’m not sure how history can be patriotic. History is what it is. We look at primary and secondary sources, and draw conclusions from there. What the president and many others are advocating for is propaganda, not history. They want to ignore the ugly parts, and push lies about our country that are not even based in fact. This is how Fascism starts. If we are going to teach that America is an amazing place for immigrants to come and experience the “American Dream,” we also have to tell the history of the thousands of Chinese immigrants who came and died in the gold mines of California. Or the young Jewish Russian women who were locked in sweatshops and worked 12+ hours a day in barbaric conditions for very little pay. Or the current immigrants at our southern border getting forced hysterectomies. This country has been sold as a land of dreams for centuries, yet many people find themselves in worse positions than where they came from. If we are going to teach about Manifest Destiny and how America tamed the West, then we need to teach about the broken promises and genocide of Native Americans that has gone on since Europeans first arrived here. How is it that Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana territory from a European country, when the land was already occupied by native people? How was it that Native Americans were given land to live on forever by the government, but when gold was found on that land, all promises were ignored. Native Americans only attacked settlers once their land was being invaded by a foreign nation. We need to teach about how the United States fought a war to steal land and people from Mexico, and much of it was done in the name of slavery. If we are going to teach our kids about the Civil War, then we need to teach students that Southern generals and soldiers were traitors who were fighting to uphold the institution of slavery and the ownership of humans. We need to teach our students that Lincoln only “freed” the slaves once they started fleeing to the North in mass numbers and forced his hand. And the end of the Civil War didn’t really mean freedom for many Americans. Black southerners often ended up working on tenet farms that were very similar to the slavery that was abolished. If we are going to teach about Black heroes like MLK and Jackie Robinson, and countless more, then we need to teach about the atrocities that were happening for them to have to fight in the first place. We need to teach about the Jim Crow and voting laws that kept black people from obtaining full citizenship. We need to teach that many Civil Rights leaders were killed for simply believing all people should be equal. I’m sorry for the long rant, but it’s ridiculous to me that people can ignore the injustice and hatred that is imbedded in our history. These are all facts that we can’t ignore. If these facts make you feel bad then that’s on you. Maybe it will help you to understand why many people believe America has a long way to go before it becomes the great nation that many claim it to be. And for my fellow Christians, Jesus taught us to love our neighbors, and even our enemies. He didn’t teach us to love our government institutions. Let’s keep that in mind.