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Mapping the Nation:John Walker as a Pedagogical Text

Posted By: Rex Hagans on September 25, 2002
I am saddened to see this sort of pseudo-intellectual pap being taken seriously by TCRecord. While I concur with the opinion that we are curretnly in a time when we need to be alert to the inherent conflicts between our safety and our civil liberties, I find this work's choice of the John Lind Walker case as the vehicle for helping our young people to think about these critical issues to be at best bad judgement.

The author says early on that "Interrogating what it means to be an American, and questioning to what extent a citizen may be permitted or encouraged to transgress the putative boundaries of that identity are inquiries that can help enrich the conversations we have with our students about what it means to be an American."

True enough. BUT then we hear this:

"Although he (Walker) had absolutely nothing to do with the eventóand everyone seems to know itólack of material evidence has not stopped official authority from relentlessly identifying him with this epic and wanton act."

Excuse me? Is there any doubt that Walker was, indeed, a member of the Taliban and actually took up arms against our troops? And is there any doubt that that act alone is sufficient grounds for his prosecution? It is NOT necessary to connect him personally to the 9/11 attacks to extablish that his actions were treasonous.

It is my deep conviction that such poor judgement by so-called scholars (and certainly by teachers in our public schools!) does more damage to the cause of true freedom of thought and speech than an overzealous response by our government can ever do.

It would behoove the author and TCRecord to re-read "Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." Americans are a very compasionate and inherently fair lot, but they are far from stupid. Attempting to foist this case off as anything but the tragic personal consequence of a misguided act by an overindulged young man simply doesn't wash, and hurts the larger cause of free and open discussion in our schools.
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 Mapping the Nation:John Walker as a Pedagogical Text by Rex Hagans on September 25, 2002
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