My sons are reading about the American Revolution. It is part of a well worn public school curriculum in California and across all the 50 states. Learning about the American Revolutionaries and Patriots starts in earnest in 3rd grade and continues through every year of school thereafter.
As most of us in America know, the American Revolution and the “Founding Fathers” are a huge part of the history we learn, year after year.
It would be possible and entertaining to write an essay on how Americans are no less “Revolution” and “Father” centric in their thinking and teaching, as the North Koreans or Chinese or, for that matter, quite a few countries that propagate the ideologies of the sacred Revolution that created their nation states or the demigod like men who led those Revolts. I will leave that more in depth look at fanaticism and propaganda for another day. I would like, however, to share a view of the effect of such teaching and thinking on our culture and our behavior…
In America (like elsewhere), we are raised and taught that there is no greater person than the Revolutionary!
There is the military Revolutionary - George Washington
There is the Intellectual Revolutionary - Thomas Jefferson
(Historians could continue this list endlessly… Franklin, Paine, Adams… each with their own corner of Revolutionary thought and actions.)
The greatest moments in history, we are taught, are the moments of Revolt.
Then when we are old enough to aspire to such greatness ourselves, there is a force that suppresses the very imagined idea. Revolt, the idea, is controlled for economic and political outcome, as desired by the few. In America…
Revolt must be taught.
Revolution must be praised.
Rebels must be transferred into idealogical demigods and “Fathers” of nations.
The violent General praised as a Patriot.
The challenger of old ways of thinking admired as a Leader.
But… it must never happen again! Like a religious doctrine, it already happened, live with it. It is done.
You are not the doers… you are the receivers… be grateful.
The Revolution is over - Never Again!
This is the great farce and contradiction of American belief in itself. Each generation, raised on the glory of Revolution, steps up to create change and discovers that Revolution, even of ideas, is forbidden, suppressed, denied, beaten, strangled and crushed.
The “Founding Fathers” left a seed that has managed to stay with us - desire to revolt against that which is oppressive and unfair. The controlling “Fathers” of our time use all their might to make sure the seed does not sprout; for they know, as do all leaders of all countries founded on Revolution, that a few people with enough determination can and will Revolt against that which is unfair and will succeed.
It is that fight they fear.
So, who are the British and who are the Patriots?
This Revolt does not invade on Christmas Eve and kill everyone in the fort (like Washington crossing the Potomac)… this Revolt knows violence will bring only violence.
This is a Revolution of ideas, which can spread faster than any army can march.