“Don’t Know Much About His-tory”

All of you with sufficient years now behind you will likely remember this leading lyric to a very popular tune, released in 1960, and performed by Sam Cooke, titled “Wonderful World.”  It’s the story of a male high school student madly in love with a young lady.  To the point where he had apparently lost all interest in his classroom subjects. He admits that, as a result, he simply didn’t “know much” about history, of course, but also biology, French, geography, trigonometry, or algebra.  He did admit to knowing at least one equation: “1 + 1 = 2,” apparently about the extent of his arithmetic knowledge, but likely symbolizing his feelings for his H.S. heart-throb, whom he envisioned marrying upon graduation. And despite his lack of classroom smarts, but together with his girlfriend at last, as the lyrics conclude: “What a wonderful world it would be.”

Fascinating flashback, but where exactly are we going with this, beyond just a lyrical reminder of far more innocent times, when knowing about those above subjects in school, and others, was, in reality, darn serious business (despite the on-going distraction of pretty girls), since most of us were expected to head, post-graduation, straight to college, study hard, and become successful, since back then, failing and returning to live with Mom & Dad was seldom an option!  No question, those years were more spelled-out, road-mapped, demanding, and yet in comparatively simpler times.  Years with very few widespread dangers, and certainly not to one’s very survival, unlike today, when the sounds of gunfire, for those unlucky, tend to be heard far too often. And collectively, far worse, are the real-world nuclear weapon threats that seem to ricochet around this far more troubled, worrisome, and increasingly hostile world.

All of which is to say that ‘not knowing much about history’ may well be one of the root causes of the serious societal disconnect evidenced by a seemingly growing (?) number of today’s 18-25-year-olds+ who, for the most part, unlike Sam Cooke’s teenager-in-love, appear to be generally unhappy with America, and right now, as evidenced by public demonstrations, the pro-Palestinians among them are very unhappy about Israel’s asserted right to defend itself, now and for the future, from the brutal attack of the terrorists in Gaza.  It’s been reported, by the way, that some of the anti-Israel demonstrators here are not U.S. citizens.  And, reported as well, that a few extremely wealthy liberal Americans are actually financially supporting some of those participating in these on-going anti-Israel public demonstrations, very likely the leaders and others arranging for the protesting crowds.

Back then to the issue of dislike or even actual hatred for our United States. Other than for the totally self-centered and intellectually-stunted among today’s high school and college students who just need to be disenchanted to feel “fulfilled,”  there is simply no realistic rationale for actually hating America, which is without question the greatest, most inventive, most prosperous, most charitable, and certainly the freest nation, not only today, but throughout most of our history.  And, without question, most citizens realize that it is a genuine blessing to have been born here. This land that today, especially, offers unlimited opportunity for all to achieve, despite what we all hope are just relatively brief periods of economic stress.

So where, then, have students learned to hate America?  Perhaps for some it’s because they have to go to school when they feel it’s unnecessary, for any number of reasons. Then, for others, when heading on to college, they continue to learn to dislike, or even hate, the land of their birth from woked, ultra-liberal professors who likely preach distorted history, to include themes carried-over into virtually all other liberal arts courses (those students headed for science-based professions are generally shielded from this nonsense in classes).  Students, today, are also taught about negative homeland feelings, we’re told, from hours spent with social media, apparently in particular “Tic Tok.” All producing graduates unenthusiastic about their country and unexcited about having to actually find work, or go without.  This, then, is the human fodder from which today’s anti-Israel demonstrations are drawn.  Unbelievably, in opposition to Israel’s military effort to once and for all remove the threat of a brutal terrorist gang, Hamas, from their western doorstep, terrorist thugs apparently convinced that all of Israel should, rightfully and historically, be theirs.

It’s interesting how, on October 7th, when the bloodthirsty Hamas hoards murdered and often brutalized an estimated 1,200 individuals attending a music festival near the Gaza border, while taking at least 200 people into a cruel hostage nightmare, the initial world reaction was to feel great empathy for Israel and open hatred for the Hamas murderers.  But, surprisingly, and seemingly within days, when Israeli forces went to actual forceful, comprehensive war against Hamas, the tide of opinion of many groups throughout the world, including America, turned suddenly, as sympathies then became more pro-Palestinian, and, thus, largely anti-Israel, as the Israeli military became increasingly serious about, not only entering Gaza, but hoping to, at long last, remove the constant evil of Hamas from their minds and lives forever.  It was, then, primarily the younger people around the world’s Western European nations, and certainly within the U.S., demonstrating in large throngs for the Palestinians and against Israel.  In no time, the original oppressor (Palestine/Hamas) became the victim, and the original victim (Israel) unbelievably and unreasonably became the imagined oppressor.

In this case, primarily the youth-to-mid-twenties of the world, and certainly those of the United States, were encouraged by massive demonstrations to get it all wrong.  The Palestinians became the focus of good, while the Israelis, the original victims on October 7th, now become the object of world scorn. Scorned for defending themselves and finally going after, in a dominating way, the incessantly brutal fighters of Homas. And the Palestinian citizens of Gaza, while being granted by some, world victim status, were by no means all innocent when it came to internal support for Hamas, currently and through the years.

Back, now, to the pro-Palestinian supporters here in America. While being discontented, for some, to the point of hate, for their United States, which is taught and learned primarily in school, and mostly we know, in college.  And then further ingrained by peer pressure, often from student leaders, to complete the indoctrination cycle.

And where could this cycle of discontent and even hatred, in this case, back home here in America, actually begin?  One very real possibility is in history courses, either poorly taught or even not taught at all. If American history, especially in high school, is passed over, taught negatively, or not really taught at all, that lack of knowledge about our country, and the countless very positive things about us throughout the decades, can lead directly to either misunderstandings or complete lack of knowledge about the achievements of the United States, from our brilliant Constitution and the positive growth of our blessed land, and thereafter.  Not learning anything positive, for example, about how the United States saved and restored freedom in the world, at great American citizen sacrifice, is unfair to youthful Americans who need that kind of understanding about what those who came before them did for this country and many other nations.  If young folks have no understanding about the magnificence of America, through exposure to, and understanding of, our history, our capitalist economy our world-leading inventiveness, both technically and in medicine, it is not hard to see how attitudes toward America could end up negative, especially when such is reinforced by teachers/professors who themselves have likely never actually worked beyond the academic, and foolishly feel negative about our country, due to their own deep-seated obsessions, misunderstandings, and purposeful closed mindedness. And with no truthful American or world history background, left to see and experience all of the political negatives going on right now, it becomes quite understandable how emotions about America, the “oppressor,” can take hold of young minds.

So, then, while Sam Cooke’s innocent ode about school subjects like history taking a backseat to young love, moving on through higher grades and on into life, without some or any American and/or world history background and understanding, can become a real (and destructive) negative in the developing attitude about our own great country, and in the larger understanding of oppressor vs. victim, in internal relationships here at home, and in the inevitable international conflicts overseas.  The content of “Don’t know much about his-tory,” while make-believe from decades gone bye, if somehow taken literally today, which is honestly doubtful, could well be a disservice for our young people, without proper history study and background, while now viewing and learning about actual misunderstandings within our own political policies and actions, and while trying to understand political and military tug-of-wars elsewhere in our world.  Confusion leads to misunderstanding leads to dislike and/or distrust for and about America. And with it, the world.

ADDENDUM:  With pro-Palestine rallies here occupying the news cycles, perhaps some of the attitude-tide here at home is beginning to turn.  Just days ago, a “March for Israel” took place here in Washington, D.C.  How broad the pro-Israeli support?  An estimated 290,000 Americans, and likely others, took part in this march for the future of Israel as a proud and free nation, and lest we forget, America’s staunch and only true ally in the Middle East.  It was a relief to see, for a change, such a massive outpouring of pro-Israel support here at home, and no doubt witnessed, by video, elsewhere in the world.