Sit down, shut up, and be an American

This is the text of a speech used at the Highland Lakes Toastmasters recently. I may put up the audio later, but in the meanwhile I hope you enjoy the text version.  I’ll look forward to the controversy which I’m sure it will provoke! This text is not original although I modified it somewhat to meet my contextual need — source noted at the end — but I concur with the sentiments and believe that the artificial divisions among us that are fostered and perpetuated by the so-called “political correctness” infecting this country are indeed affecting our individual freedoms. Our freedom is affected is because that “PC” process erodes both our individuality and our ability to be one nation.

(Imagine this is delivered by a hypothetical leader of a hypothetical community and school system)

I am your new leader and honored to be so. There is no greater calling than to lead people, especially when it includes young people.

I want to inform you of some new changes coming to our community and schools. These changes are because I am convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated our communities, and our public education in particular, throughout America have worked against us, against our citizens, students, teachers, and our country.

First, we will no longer honor race or ethnicity.  I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow or white.  I could not care less if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or on slave ships.

The only identity I care about, the only one we will recognize, is your individual identity:  your character, your industry and scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity our community and schools will care about is American.

This is an American community, with American public schools, and our American public schools were created to make better Americans through education.

If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through this community or its schools, you will have to go elsewhere. As of right now we are ending all ethnicity-, race- and non-American nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America, one of its three central values – e pluribus unum, “from many, one.”  And we will be guided by America’s values. Not European, nor Asian, nor Mexican.  American.

This includes all community organizations and after-school clubs. We will not authorize organizations that divide people  based on any identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.

Your organizations will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties.

Those divisions just cultivate narcissism — an unhealthy preoccupation with the self — while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself. If the only organizations and activities you can imagine being interesting in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.

Second, I am uninterested in whether English is your native language. My only interest in terms of language is that you speak and read English as fluently as possible. The English language has united America’s citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us here. It is one of the indispensable reasons this country of immigrants has always come to be one country. Our young people will gain excellent English language skills and be prepared to successfully compete in the American job market.  We will learn other languages here — it is deplorable that most Americans only speak English — but if you are in school and want classes taught in your native language rather than in English, this is not your school.

Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor, everything our schools do will reflect learning’s elevated status. This means, among other things, that students and teachers will dress accordingly. Many people in our society dress more formally for Hollywood events than for church or school. These people have their priorities backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code in our schools.

Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere in public, or on our school’s property — whether at the mall, in class, in the hallways or at athletic events. If you can’t speak without using the f-word, you can’t speak. By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission, plus epithets such as “Nigger,” even when used by one black student to address another black, or “bitch,” even when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend.

It is my intent that by the time our young people leave our school, they will be among the young Americans to instinctively distinguish between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.

Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs in school. In our school as in life, self-esteem will be attained in only one way — the way people attained it until decided otherwise a generation ago — by earning it. One immediate consequence is that in high school there will be one valedictorian, not eight.

Sixth, and last, I am reorienting our school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue. There will be no more attempts to convince you that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or not heterosexual or not Christian. We will have failed if any young person graduates our schools and does not consider him or herself inordinately lucky — to be alive and to be an American.

Now until students learn the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of our country, the adults will hand them out to you.

So don’t sit down. I didn’t mean that when I said it up front and I don’t mean that now.

This is America.

STAND UP, SPEAK UP, and BE …

an American!

Source: A Speech Every American High School Principal Should Give. At the outset of his column, Prager offers this (with which I totally agree):

If every school principal gave this speech at the beginning of the next school year, America would be a better place.

via The Dennis Prager Show (with modifications). (Townhall.com Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.  And COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM)

One Reply to “Sit down, shut up, and be an American”

  1. I feel that I need to “footnote” this article with the following:

    It is my belief that an essential American ingredient is the (legal) immigration and assimilation of folks from all over the world into “… one nation, under God, indivisible …” to all be one as Americans, yet proud and protective of their cultural origins but not to the exclusion of their Americanism. Don’t leave those important differences behind, but don’t use them as excuses and crutches either.

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