We have heard from the White House this week that we are living in a “teachable moment” – on race, as far as they are concerned. However, this presidential term – and perhaps, even, the term before it – has been one collective “teachable moment” for our nation.
(Excerpt from a speech delivered to the Lee County (NC) Republicans July 26 2010)
When we talk about academics in America today, we hear about how our schools are not emphasizing the three Rs enough like educators used to do in days long gone. As we may remember, the three Rs aren’t really Rs at all, but they were – and still are – considered the basic tenets of education that our children must leverage and master in order to hold the keys of their future – and America’s future prosperity – in their hands. Those principles – writing, arithmetic, and reading – are not just planks in a forgone platform of education that made sense in the one-room schoolhouses from decades ago. As well, these principles are not just the ingredients of a catchy slogan for education today. These principles – the three Rs – are keys to our future as Americans politically and socially. The three Rs will lead us in action for a better America or we will ignore them as we continue down a path of mediocrity, of debt, and of national despair and instability.
Without applying the three Rs of academics to our education in improving the political and social realms of contemporary America, we are left fighting the dynamic that we are currently facing. Without proper application today, the three Rs – writing, arithmetic, and reading – W, A, R – can lead us to R – A – W – raw, as in the raw sensitivity that most of us as Americans are feeling today over issues including race, illegal immigration, the mid-term elections, and the proficiency – or misgivings – of the Obama administration. Without proper application of our three Rs – writing, arithmetic, and reading – W, A, R – we will continue our national experience with the internal war that we are undergoing, a battle where ideals are weapons to fight fellow citizens, not pathways to lead us all to a better America. Without the courage to create, the numbers to act, and the wisdom to seize the moment, we will be a nation that is dictated to by an out-of-control government, inflating debt past the point of no return, and ignorance of our past greatness or our current potential to achieve even more as a beacon of good in our land and throughout the world.
So, as Tea Party patriots, as Republicans, as author-activists writing a better course, and as Americans looking to build a better way for us all – we have to ask: what is the best application of the three Rs?
It comes from our conviction to embrace the three relevant Rs that we have discovered through the teachable moment over the past few weeks – and, in fact, over the past 18 months in our nation.
One teachable R within our nation today must be about race. This is a lesson for all of us, from Tea Party patriots to the newest member of the NAACP. In today’s time…with today’s fears and with our contemporary realities of diversity, racial disparities, racial harmony, and perhaps even unintended but overlooked racial segregation, we must have the courage to honor the struggle of the past with an honest, direct, and healing 21st century discussion on race in America. This conversation – if we are to be successful – must be authored by the people of America, not dictated to by the media or the fear-mongers amongst us. We must define the racial challenges of today in today’s terms, not by the parameters, hurt, or hatred of the past.
For example, Tea Party activists are not acting out of racism when they oppose the current direction of government. In my experience, the vast majority of them are God-fearing Americans that love all people as children of God and brethren in Christ. If we are going to heal past the recent wounds from racial realities today, we must not prejudge a movement of loving Americans on the foolery of a select few in the media. Just the same, as Tea Party patriots, we must not be afraid to embrace the melting pot nature of our nation, knowing that our diversity has historically yielded our strength, our creativity, our innovation, and our moxie to be leaders throughout the world in culture, in science, in education, and in peace-making initiatives for decades. Sadly, that same diversity has also afforded us situations where inequalities do still exist. In fact, there are vastly different American experiences for those within our nation based on demographics alone. If we as conservatives are not willing to speak directly to the realities that the disadvantaged among us experience regularly, how can we eliminate the big government trap that many were reeled into years ago at the risk of losing their family dynamics, jeopardizing their personal liberties, and perpetuating a cycle of poverty? As authors of a better America, I call on us today to create a new path for the United States – one where our courage to embrace the contemporary conversations designed to separate us become the dialogue that unites us through our diversity and binds us with the common bond of being American.
We must (also) embrace the second R in these contemporary times: Redemption.
The beauty of the republican form of government is its redemptive qualities if the citizenry takes on its obligations to debate, to discuss, and to dive into the knowledge of the workings of government that are available in a free society. Tea Party patriots are taking on this task today, and I urge those that may not agree with the tea party politics to look at the tea party example and become experts on your homeland. Do not surrender the greatness of America through the complacency of contemporary expectations. The current times expect you to fight to watch Jersey Shore on MTV, but the historic times we live in oblige us to fight from shore to shore – from sea to shining sea – to sure up the flaws that we have taken on.
It is more than just about our government officials messing up. It is also about us not taking redemptive measures with our votes each November to heal the nation. It is also about us not taking redemptive measures to quell ignorance and prejudice before it hits the national spotlight. It is also about us not taking on the issues of imbalanced families in America, the secular movement against the presence of proper and redemptive religion in the public forum, and the growing disrespect for women, for our seniors, and for the common man in our society today. However, the beauty of the Great Experiment named the United States of America by our forefathers is that we control the math that equates success and prosperity in our country. We control the equation to make better solutions and to make it all add up in the 21st century for a prosperous and free nation.
We are capable in our times, because we are called by our history, to redeem the flaws of our recent past with an inspired leadership in today’s time – a leadership forged by voters and activists, by taxpayers and the unemployed, by young and the old alike. Under this leadership, our nation is redeemed by equality under the law in a nation that can prove once again to be indivisible and once again under God. If we are to remain a great nation…if we are to be a great world leader in the 21st century for our children and grandchildren…we must be determined to be a redeemed citizenry eager and willing to pen a new path using the constructs of our republican government. In a democracy, if a nation is to rebound from recessions and other challenges, its citizens must speak out and act as its redeemers.
Now, if we can (do those two Rs), we will be able to bring about the third R we need today: Revolution.
And it takes people to revolutionize a redeemable nation.
In America, these people are visionaries. These people are revolutionaries. These people are workers. These people are lovers of life and defenders of those they disagree with. They debate with vigor and discuss issues with devotion to a common Constitution. They revolt against any personal dysfunction that impedes the Will of God in one’s daily life or the free will given by God through any inappropriate action of government. The revolution we need today is more than just about increasing taxation; it is about understanding that increased taxation takes financial resources from those that have while continuing to limit the options of those that do not have through increased government and bureaucracy. The revolution we need today is more than just about government amnesty for illegal immigration or government-run healthcare; it is about understanding that if government can shift the laws of right and wrong with unethical, back-room deals or sidestepping current immigration laws, there is nothing to stop government from impeding the Constitutional rights of American citizens with its next steps. Our revolution must write a better course for America so that the disadvantaged feels included in our journey, the African-American hears the message of the Tea Party without feeling prejudice or seclusion, and the rural citizen in the Great Plains works with the young professional in New York City to bolster the American Way of Life – a lifestyle where liberty means more than personal wealth and personal rights mean more than personally being wrong or right.
If we are brave enough to conquer the three Rs standing before us today – Race, Redemption, and Revolution – while using the three Rs from our scholastic youth – writing a better path for America, arithmetic that adds to the right-minded activism swelling in America, and reading the hearts and minds of men and women focused on a better nation for us all – we will be victorious over threats both internal and external that work to weaken the United States from a world leader to a world laggard.
I believe in American exceptionalism. I believe in the American people, regardless of race. And I believe that we can redeem our nation with a just revolution – working together, starting now.
Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator and the author of the book, “Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative,)” purchased online at www.tinyurl.com/lennysdiary and www.amazon.com. Catch Lenny on “Conservative Crosstalk Commentary featuring Lenny McAllister” every Saturday at 11:50 PM CST on www.650houston.com Houston. Follow him at www.twitter.com/lennyhhr and on Facebook at www.tinyurl.com/lennyfacebook .