Americans Returning to the Civics Classroom

After watching the results of Super Tuesday (March 3) Democratic primaries, it seems that the race for the nomination is narrowing to two candidates – Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders.

And with their emergence as the top candidates, I get the feeling that the American people are about to hear the school bell ring, to attend a class on world history and civics.

Bernie Sanders
“Bernie Sanders” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0  Photo resized for publication

Reason why I am saying this is because up until a few weeks ago, while everyone talked about Sen. Sanders as a “Democratic Progressive” or “Democratic Socialist”, the terms were never really defined. Oh sure, in the bullpens of news shows that focus on politics, they try to explain the philosophy, but never really delved into what that looked like in a practical matter.

With the run up to Super Tuesday, though, the image of Sanders started to

change. Meme’s and images came out of him as a believer in the Soviet system, that he was more comrade than Senator and that you vote for Sanders, you might as well start learning the Soviet Unions anthem because that will be the first thing he changes as President.

All of this imagery and definition of a candidate would have been relevant to the vast majority of Americans except that we are not in 1985. We are in 2020, and the Soviet Union has been gone for 29 years.

Why is that important? Because since the moment the red flag of the Soviet Union came down off the Kremlin on December 25, 1991, the history of that era and of that place, to Americans, has dwindled in its depth and effect.

And the effect on that has been a complete change in how Americans are told the history of communism, and the call to critically think about it.

For instance, in an article in the Orange County register in 2017, Lance Izumi, a guest columnist wrote about how American history books have started to whitewash the legacy of communism. This has led, according to the article, to millennial’s having a favorable view, of all people, Vladimir Lenin.

That whitewashing the article claims is also in effect in the Christian church. As mentioned to a friend of mine who is a pastor, the church has not talked about communism since December 26, 1991 – the day after the flag over the Kremlin came down.

All that, in my opinion, is about to change. With the Democratic race now being close between the establishment candidate (Biden) and the Democratic-Socialist/Communist labeled Bernie Sanders, you can be the TV stations and the talk shows on radio are going to ratchet up the discussion of what communism really was, and is, to a new generation of Americans.

Too bad this discussion couldn’t have happened in, say, a school, or even in our colleges. The fact that we have to have a candidate trigger the American media to hold a civics class on a political philosophy we have become ignorant too is no small failing on our education systems.

But alas, school is open. Take a seat, pull out your notebooks and sharpen your pencils, class is about to start, thanks to Bernie Sanders.