Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Schoolhouse Rock! Does Civics!

Four years ago, I did a few posts about the learning tools I remember so well, 'Schoolhouse Rock!'. In the face of the recent laws from Arizona and other places, where a bunch of wealthy politicians are trying to legislate separate and not very equal as a way of life, I thought it was obvious that some elected officials had not seen 'Schoolhouse Rock!'. For those not familiar with them, 'Schoolhouse Rock!' was on television between 1973 and 1980, with 37 exceptional installments of educational television produced and aired while kids were watching. I remember loving every minute of it, despite not being a child myself at the time. In spots running only three minutes, these cartoons taught lessons in grammar, history, science, math and other subjects.

As I mentioned above, it appears there are some elected officials who hold office in many states across the United States, on every level, from municipal to state to federal positions. I will start with an episode named "Fireworks", which takes a look at the Declaration of Independence, and the reasons that groundbreaking document were written over 200 years ago. I particularly would like to draw attention to the line "If a government won't give you the most basic rights, you better get another government." Listen closely, state officials of Arizona. The reason this country began was in reaction to wealthy kings, Dukes, and Earls concocting laws that disregarded the rights of the people living in America, so they fought back, to prevent that from happening. Don't believe me? This is 'Schoolhouse Rock!' with "Fireworks".

With the opening of the next video, we learn something that I believe still holds true, "knowledge is power". Soon, we are watching the clip named "The Preamble", to teach about the Constitution of the United States of American. It opens with "In 1787, I'm told, our founding fathers did agree to write a list of principles for keepin' people free." That is a beautiful thing, and an image I remain proud of. And in case anyone forgot, it also mentions why the colonies rose against the Crown, "our people spelled it out, they wanted a land of liberty." This is 'Schoolhouse Rock!' on "The Preamble".

And, finally, I thought I would offer up another excellent learning device, "The Great American Melting Pot". This reminds us that one of the things that made America great was that all kinds of different people, from all over the world, came together to make this one great country, not a caste system. In fact, the video says "It doesn't matter where you're from or your religion, you jump right in to the great American melting pot." It seems as though it was understood 40 years ago that Freedom of Religion was understood to mean allowing people to believe for themselves, not to be legislating one's beliefs on everyone else. This is "The Great American Melting Pot" from 'Schoolhouse Rock!'.

I am grateful I had 'Schoolhouse Rock!' to teach me about things like grammar, math, and history. I wish it was still around, so some politicians might be reminded.

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