Last year, two major U.S. Navy ship collisions were due to a “loss of situational awareness (SA).” In a nutshell, SA is just plain common sense as to what is going on around you. For example, we should know what to expect if we turn on an oven burner, without actually touching it.
Sadly, we are now graduating students, lacking SA, from high schools and colleges who, as a result, are destined to get “burned.” We are graduating “snowflakes” who, when faced with life’s realities, prove unable to deal with them – and, in the process, lose sight of the values that made America great.
Take, for example, how, following the 2016 presidential election, universities provided “safe spaces” for students unable to cope with the reality of Donald Trump’s victory. Students were given puppies and stuffed animals to handle the stress. One could not help but reflect how, thousands of miles away in the Ukraine, students the same age were taking weapons training in the face of the threat of Russian aggression.
There are two major factors contributing to “snowflakism:” teachers failing to prepare their charges for life’s realities and the media failing to report on real world truths.
These two influences have created a learning environment in which traditional values not only fail to be taught but are not even heard as alternatives to liberal thought. Students at universities, such as Berkeley, which half a century ago exercised freedom of speech to protest the Vietnam war, today shut down freedom of speech involving conservative ideas.
Snowflakism is nurtured by schools such as the University of Michigan, which created a “Bias Response Team (BRT)” with authority to ensure classmates’ feelings are not hurt. Administrators proclaim, “The most important indication of bias is your own feelings … encourage others to report if they have been the target or witness of a bias incident.” The BRTs are left, through an extra-judicial disciplinary process, to determine what falls into the bias category. While such a process is ridiculously broad, it tends to bring liberal snowflakes out of the woodwork to shut down “hurtful” conservative voices.
Michigan’s initiative so negatively impacts upon free speech that the Department of Justice felt compelled to sue the university. Most likely, the issue will not be resolved until reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. Until then, in a turnaround that must have our Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves, learning institutions have become hostile environments for free speech.
Meanwhile, a Wisconsin college sends out a “Diversity Leadership Team” to identify and remove objects proving politically incorrect. For three-quarters of a century, a mural on campus, illustrating French traders with their Indian guides passed scrutiny. However, now identified as potentially psychologically devastating to American-Indian students, the mural was removed.
With political correctness plaguing the education system, the left has embarked upon identifying “microaggressions” that might possibly offend students. One college has now advised professors to avoid using the expression, “As you know,” for fear some students may not know. Made mindful of their lack of knowledge, it might cause such students to not perform well as a result. While this microaggression was identified in one of the UK’s top colleges, it should soon make its way across the Atlantic to liberals in its former colonies.
Incredibly, a University of Arizona professor has published a microaggression pamphlet, suggesting a solution is for an offended student to say “ouch” when hurt by another’s speech with the offender to respond “oops.”
Recently, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Putin seeks to “compromise our belief in our ideals” by undermining our values. While that may be the case, some teachers have a head start on the Russian president by denigrating the values that have made America great.
Take the teacher at El Rancho High School in California who, eyeing a student wearing a U.S. Marine Corps sweatshirt, went on an outrageous rant. The teacher was recorded claiming military personnel were “stupid” and “the lowest of the low.”
Lest we think this California teacher is an isolated case, the values to which our military service members adhere, as represented by two symbols very important to them, the national anthem and American flag, were further denigrated by an action undertaken by a teachers’ association – the National Education Association (NEA). It was disheartening enough for our warriors to witness the disrespect given these two symbols by professional athletes such as Colin Kaepernick. However, it was more devastating to see the NEA then give him their “highest honor” – the President’s Award – for his social activism. The NEA never uttered a word about NFLer Pat Tillman’s selfless act in surrendering a $3.6 million professional football contract to join the U.S. Army, only to lose his life in Afghanistan in 2004.
As Kaepernick, 30, was recognized, this author’s thoughts turned to Marine PFC Dan Bullock, of African-American descent, who died in Vietnam in 1968 at the age of 15 – the youngest American killed in that conflict. Fifty years ago, Bullock had greater reason to criticize racism than Kaepernick has today, yet Bullock – half Kaepernick’s age – sacrificed his life for the country he loved.
The extreme to which students suffer SA is also revealed in a recent poll indicating 66 percent of Millennials have no knowledge about the Holocaust and 58 percent prefer to live in a communist, fascist or socialist country than a capitalistic one. This is the product of teachers emphasizing the wrong “isms” – i.e., racism, sexism and classism rather than fascism, socialism and communism – leaving students historically illiterate.
On Flag Day this year, eleven veterans organizations adopted a “Veteran’s Creed,” revering the values making our country great. Our school systems need consider partnering with these veterans, inviting them into the classroom, to share such values, to ensure they are passed on. Doing so would help students understand what British writer G. K. Chesterton meant when he wrote: “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”