"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Should we send our children to a protest rally?

There is a reason why we attend schools - we need to learn. Obviously, we would like to learn not just what is true but also how to search for truth and discover knowledge. Carl Kohn, New York State United Teachers spokesperson once said, "If we want our young people to grow up to be adults who fully participate in democracy, the best time to begin that activism and that participation is when they are young." But William Gormley, a professor at Georgetown University, reminds us, "One disturbing possibility is that some students who are brought to a political rally as opposed to, let’s say, a public hearing, may be exposed to only one side of the debate, and that’s generally not good either for children’s cognitive development or the development of critical thinking skills or for the enhancement of civic readiness."

The above quotes are from an article, "The large, delicate role of children in New York activism", which discusses participation of youth in demonstrations on educational issues, issues that are not necessarily partisan in nature. These student activists after all are not asking for the resignation of the governor of New York. Yet, one must remain concerned whether children are being provided the entire story or just one side. The youth are of course highly impressionable as they are still in the process of developing their critical thinking skills. And this possibility becomes a grave concern if the mass action is partisan in nature.

There is a mass protest scheduled tomorrow in the Philippines. A new group has been formed and they call themselves "Tindig Pilipinas". The group's main objective is supposedly to promote peace, human rights, and rule of the law, focusing on alleged extrajudicial killings made in the administration's current war on drugs. The partisan nature of the group, however, cannot be denied.

Above copied from Rappler

One side of the drug crisis often not heard from this group is the link between drug lords and politicians. Here in the United States where opiod deaths are rising, there is already a rising concern. One can imagine how much outrage there will be if there are signs that the opium trade is also linked to funding campaigns of politicians. This is evil. And it is highly likely that drug abuse has actually proliferated in the Philippines because some politicians are beneficiaries.

One good sign of one-sidedness is an exclusive claim for what is true and right. Social issues are often not black and white. Yet, one school, for example, in the Philippines, appears to have sent the following to parents and guardians of their students:

Above copied from
For the Motherland - Sass Rogando Sasot
We should not send children to a protest rally that is partisan and one-sided. We should not be passing to our children our own responsibilities. We should always consider the safety of our children. Lastly, we should give our children the opportunity to think independently on social and political issues.



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