I've marched in many parades, honoring veterans, serving as a citizen police alumnus and playing my flute in a high school band. I've seen children clad in red, white and blue waving flags, hands ready for candy -- eager, beautiful children with their families. That audience hasn't changed.
Instead of candy, what if a survey were tossed to those kids/families, asking them if a photo of a baby in the womb alongside a photo of a grandma would "potentially offend them"? I would also hand them copies of our Constitution, with our First Amendment highlighted. I teach it and know it by heart: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
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Some of those kids may grow up to be leaders in charge of making wise, fair decisions, based on knowledge of the fundamental principles of a democratic republic. They will have to be taught the truth behind this document (our schools have failed to do this): not-so-wise decisions are being made by their community "leaders."
Fortunately, the newest pocket Constitution contains our Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Doesn't that include Catholics/atheists, blacks/whites, cowboys/Indians, heteros/gays, scary grandmas/less-scary grandmas alike?
Singer Pat Monahan poetically continues this list: "Lawyers and Army Men, The Left and the Right, Preachers and Communists, Oh what a sight. We're all coming home or will be soon."
I love America. That's why I teach.