WTVM Editorial 6-7-19: History Lesson

WTVM Editorial 6-7-19: History Lesson

(WTVM) - We are now just a few days past the celebration of D-Day, when the Allied forces stormed the beaches of France to take back Europe from Hitler and the Nazis.

But if recent surveys are correct, most Americans don’t know why we entered World War II, nor can they name any of the rights protected in any constitutional amendment.

That is a sad state of affairs, because historical knowledge helps frame our future.

To the list of those who ought to know more about America’s founding, we can now add Hannah Brown, the new Bachelorette in the popular ABC series (seen right here on WTVM).

Recently, while giving a tour of Boston on the program, she said she didn’t know much about the city’s history, except that, “Someone threw some tea into a body of water.”

That would be the Boston Tea Party in Boston Harbor. Recognizing that some tea was thrown overboard is a superficial understanding of why the colonists revolted against the British in 1773.

As we get closer to July 4th, we should all want to understand our history, because it matters.

The Boston Tea Party was a civilian revolt against a threatened tea tax, which would create more British control over the 13 colonies, who had no say in the matter.

That’s why “Taxation without Representation” became the Revolution’s rallying cry, leading to the creation of the Declaration of Independence.

Maybe it’s not fair to knock the Bachelorette for not knowing very much about American history.

After all, studies by the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation found 60 percent of Americans cannot pass the basic citizenship test, given to naturalized citizens.

The test asks questions such as “What was the War between the North and South called?”, “Who is the Vice President?” and “Why does our flag have 13 stripes and 50 stars?”

Instead of finding the Bachelorette’s naive approach to American history charming, the show could have used its popular platform to help educate the viewers.

Remember, the founders of our nation expect responsible citizens to stay informed.

That’s one of the reasons for freedom of the press, because self-governed people need accurate information to make smart decisions.

Want to test your civics knowledge? You can take the Citizenship Test by clicking here.

It’s our civic duty to understand the concept behind America’s founding, recognizing that we have God-given rights, which cannot be granted by any government: the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If we understand the why and how behind our history, we can become even better, smarter citizens.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings an editorial a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

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