By Zak Klemmer
I knew both sets of grandparents and they had a big impact on my life, which helped to make me a better & more empathetic man. My parents loved us and cared for us they come home every night sober and taught us decency by example. Our family was typical as I witnessed from my school friends. Our families were what I understood as life in America.
I started school in 1957. From my viewpoint as a child and a pupil in the Los Angeles government schools at that time my teachers were similar to my parents in temperament and values. We could actually celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah on school grounds. Any political correctness was subtitle, culturally the public square and government school reflected the values of my parents and the neighborhood in which I lived- they were an extension.
I lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis and met Cubans whom had fled Cuba to be free from Castro’s Communist régime. My father was born in Czechoslovakia and many of our relatives still lived there. I wanted to find out why communism was so bad that people would leave their homes and settle in another country. My teacher Mr. Demetri lectured us about egalitarianism that communism falsely claims to represent that philosophy and due to human nature it is not possible to create a society based on material equality.
We were taught about the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution in school. I immediately saw that communism could not allow freedom to exist any more than the Nazis would. So from my point of view limiting government power was important to preserve freedom.
I began to read books outside of class that interested me, on the Pilgrims, autobiographies by Louis Armstrong, Douglas MacArthur, and Eddie Rickenbacker. Other books included 1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell; The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith; The Conscience of a Conservative by Senator Barry M. Goldwater. My reading created a curiosity about the world and my place in it. I read books by socialists and communists also before and after they recanted as well as those who never abandoned their vision.
I really didn’t understand that there was a bias outside of CBS News on television until I was in Jr. High and was given a bad grade because the teacher in social studies didn’t share my point of view. I had other teachers that were actually fair and we could argue ideas without fear of reprisal. Textbooks in Social Studies have an undertone of espousing the idea that the “Progressive Movement” is for the good of humanity to bring social justice and world peace. These textbooks preserve the legacy of progressive presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson.
Any book will present facts and use some yardstick to measure values and come to a conclusion. There is very little if any criticism or awareness of the negative affects on individual freedom or the economic consequences of state intervention in the economy. Personally I find oppressive and condescending the Politicians’ authoritarian arrogant attitude that they know more or care more than my parents, or myself regarding my private family affairs. I don’t need Eleanor Roosevelt or Hillary Clinton to lecture me about life- I had a mother and she was wonderful.
From what I’ve experienced in the government schools curricula: the “Progressive” movement has improved mankind and is part of mans’ continuous march of progress. This is what I call the “Ersatz State Religion” of American Politics. To even question it can brand you a Kook or an Extremist, which can put you in the same box as the media put Barry Goldwater in 1964.
My two children graduated from high school in 1999 and 2000. My experience in stewarding them through the educational mill is that the teachers are the product of 1970’s propaganda. If America becomes a totalitarian country it’s the dream realized of the Progressive Movement and public education made it possible.