What I learned in high school
By Christian Hartsock
Having recently graduated from Piedmont High School in the Oakland area, and having just begun my second year of film school in the Southern California beach town of Ventura, I am compelled to reflect on the things I learned, the people I learned about and the wonderful books I read over those memorable four years of high school.
During sophomore year I took social psychology, a semester-long mandatory class in which students are encouraged to learn about, reflect on and discuss important matters facing teens such as sex, drugs, teen pregnancy, homophobia, suicide, et cetera. The primary focus of the class seemed to be the dangers of unprotected sex. While contraceptive use was emphatically promoted, abstinence was not recommended once throughout the entire semester. In the end, there was a contest to see who could put a condom on a banana the fastest. When other teachers heard about the contest, they described it as "cute." I got an "A" in the class, although I'm not certain as to whether it was on account of my contributions to the class discussions or my having excelled in that wonderful educational activity that could otherwise be described as a perverted drinking game.
For an economics project three years ago, students sold T-shirts on campus featuring an illustration of a male couple, a male-female couple and a female couple under the text "Marriage For All". Each year, a "Day of Silence" was held in honor of homosexuals who had been "forced" into hiding their sexual orientation on account of the fact that homosexuality is frowned upon by many. Boo-hoo-hoo. An assembly was held in which a gay man came up on stage and discussed the adversity faced by homosexuals who don't feel accepted in society.
Another assembly was held in which Julia Butterfly Hill, a radical environmentalist who is famous for living in a tree for a year to protest against lumber companies, whined about the colossal threat the Bush administration poses to democracy and the environment. (If only all whiny radical liberals would follow her example and start living in trees…)
In the months preceding Operation Iraqi Freedom, "No War in Iraq" fliers and Not in Our Name posters were put up around the school. When I put up a small message on a bulletin board espousing my support for the operation, it was immediately torn down.
One of the teachers in the science department, who kept no secrets about her political views, even allowed students to cut her class to attend the anti-war protests in San Francisco.
After the terrorist attacks in Madrid in March 2004, during a Current Events Club meeting supervised by a history teacher who claimed to carry Chairman Mao's Little Red Book wherever she went, I expressed my regret that the Spanish had decided to appease the terrorists by electing Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, a socialist who had planned to withdraw all of Spain's 1,300 troops from Iraq. The supervising teacher made the point that Zapatero's plans to withdraw the troops were made before the attacks even occurred. What she clearly did not understand was that I was not criticizing Zapatero, but the voters who put him in office. The teacher immediately snapped at me: "You know, Christian, you really diminish your credibility when you make generalizations like that. I read part of your article ("Democrats Lose Wars") in the newspaper and I have a problem with the way you make generalizations." What I wish I had said in response was: "And if I were you I would hesitate to make generalizations about an article I only bothered to read ‘part of'."
In U.S. history, junior year, we learned about the "witch hunts" perpetrated by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and HUAC against "innocent" suspected Communists. McCarthy was portrayed in a documentary we watched and the textbook we read from, American Odyssey, as a demagogue and a drunk, but there was not one mention of his outstanding military service, or the fact that many of the "victims" of the McCarthy and HUAC hearings were in fact confirmed by the release of the Venona cables in 1995 as being Soviet spies.
At one point, I overheard my resource specialist talking about Alger Hiss and how we has "never proven guilty." When I informed her that the Venona cables proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Hiss was indeed a Soviet spy, it became clear that she had never even heard about the Venona cables.
There was also a time in which that very same resource specialist caught me reading an Ann Coulter book and immediately scolded me and called Ann an "extremist." I told her she should first read Coulter's work before judging her. I suppose she felt she was taking mercy on me when she said she would allow me to read Ann Coulter in her class, and that she would read one of Ann's books herself, as long as I agreed to read Michael Moore's book, Dude, Where's My Country? When I told her I would think about it my nose grew five inches longer.
In English, sophomore year, we read Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, a sophomorically written book about a man who commits suicide after his son tragically becomes a convert to Christianity.
In history, junior year, my teacher made a point of mentioning that the Ku Klux Klan was a fundamentalist Christian organization. One wide-eyed student asked: "Are Christians still racist?" Without hesitation, the teacher replied: "Yes." In case I was wondering how these views rubbed off on the students, it was made clear to me when one student loudly declared Christianity to be "a bull---- religion."
Public schools have never not been indoctrination centers. They began with the express purpose of inculcating Christian morals into the minds of the next generation. After Irish immigration grew in the 1820s and Catholics began to protest (sometimes violently) against the Protestant beliefs that were drummed into every student attending a public school, however, education was forced to become more secularized. As a result, schools now avoid mentioning Christianity like the plague (that is unless it is being added that Christianity is responsible for racism, sexism, imperialism and homophobia). But they are not cleared of religion in general, inasmuch as public education is now submerged in the religion of liberalism and militant secularism.
In his book Bias, Bernard Goldberg makes the argument that the problem of bias in the media is not caused by a vast left-wing conspiracy within the press, but merely exists on account of the fact that most journalists happen to be liberal, and that the news is inexorably slanted by their obliviously liberal leanings. In the same way, teachers are not systematically conspiring to soak the woolly cotton brains of students with liberal doctrine; they just aren't conscious of the effect they have on students because they are merely teaching about The World As They See It. At least this is (hopefully) the case with most of them. (I'm not sure if I'd say the same about university professors.)
There are good things to say about Piedmont High too. The school newspaper ran my columns and the teachers and students always seemed to take interest in what I had to say (even if it was because they just wanted something to ridicule). However, the effect that the hegemonic liberal ambience had on the students is undeniable. But hey, at least now we all know how to put a condom on a banana.
Christian Lee Hartsock, 19, is a screenwriter, filmmaker and political columnist. He has been a guest on Sharon Hughes' talk radio show, has been mentioned in Hans Zeiger's book, Reagan's Children, and his columns have been run in various newspapers, publications and websites including AmericanDaily.com, Newsmax.com, Political Vanguard.com, RenewAmerica.us, TheConservativeVoice.com, The Berkeley Daily Planet, the World Magazine blog and others. A native of Oakland, California, Chris is currently a student at Brooks Institute of Photography in Ventura where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Film and Video Production. He is at work on a film called "Separation," a documentary on the secular left's attempts to purge Christianity from the public square as well as a feature film that he wrote called "The Ministry of Absence." You can write to Christian at P.O. Box 5633 – Berkeley, CA 94705 or e-mail him at ChrisHartsock86@aol.com. Visit his website at www.ChristianHartsock.com.