“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
These words—and the rest of the Declaration of Independence—still resonate today, 246 years after America’s Founding Fathers penned them, spelling out simple concepts that are too often hidden in the hearts of oppressed individuals around the world: that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The government may rule a land only through the consent of the governed, the declaration states, and in 1776, the people of this land no longer consented to British rule and declared independence.
It was no accident that after its inception, the United States quickly became a leader on the world stage. It’s a direct result of the values espoused in the founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4, 1776, and the U.S. Constitution, signed on Sept. 17, 1787, according to Adam Waldeck, president of nonprofit 1776 Action, which aims to stop the anti-American indoctrination of children. The group was formed in response to President Joe Biden terminating the 1776 Commission after coming into office.
“They were revolutionary ideas that changed the world for the better, and that is what we celebrate on the Fourth of July. If we want to continue that tradition of freedom, human equality, and opportunity for everybody, we need to be teaching every generation the story of the country they live in,” Waldeck told The Epoch Times.
That includes lessons on the founding documents.
“But there’s a very well-funded and organized effort all over this country that has made way too much headway in teaching young Americans that their country is bad, they shouldn’t be proud of it, that it’s unfair—and it’s a recipe for the country falling apart,” he said.
Political leaders have long known that education is a way to steer the future.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” former President Ronald Reagan once said. “We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day, we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
While in office, President Donald Trump created the 1776 Commission to ensure that students learned about the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitutional Convention, among other parts of U.S. history.
“Immediately smeared as racist by our dishonest, activist media, the 1776 Commission was abolished by President Biden just hours after he was sworn into office,” the 1776 Action website reads.
Waldeck said, “It was a sign that the left was in charge, and this war on history and the story of America was something they were going to make central to their whole existence—that we shouldn’t be proud of America and we are a systemically bad country.”
Before long, he founded 1776 Action.
“In a way, we’re like air-cover for parents who want to stop radical indoctrination in classrooms,” Waldeck said.
School Boards Drive the Conversation
The group discovered one reason education has moved toward new curriculums such as critical race theory (CRT) and transgender education is because many decisions are made at the school board level, and people hadn’t been paying attention.
“People don’t even know who their school board members are,” Waldeck said. “They tend to be nonpartisan elections. You don’t really know where they’re coming from and where they stand on these types of things.”
The group has developed a 1776 Pledge to get candidates on the record, showing their support or lack of support for CRT and other controversial curricula. The pledge requires candidates to promise to restore honest, patriotic education that cultivates in children a profound love for what our country stands for.
Candidates will promote a curriculum that teaches that all children are created equal and have equal moral value under God, the U.S. Constitution, and the law. They’ll prohibit curricula that pit students against one another on the basis of race or sex and prevent schools from politicizing education by prohibiting curricula that require students to protest and lobby during or after school.
Voters can ask any type of candidate to sign the pledge so voters can understand their position.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who served as Trump’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem have touted the pledge. Noem was the first candidate to sign it in May 2021. Since then, nearly 500 candidates have signed the pledge, including Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who kept the pledge after his election by signing an executive order on his first day in office banning the teaching of divisive concepts, including critical race theory.
Carson’s son, Benjamin Carson Jr. is on the board of 1776 Action, and now, Kathy Barnette has been named national spokesperson for the group.
Barnette ran in a high-profile U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania against Dr. Mehmet Oz.
“I signed their pledge as a candidate, and I saw that on the gubernatorial side, others were signing their pledge. They are getting in front of people and getting people to pay attention, and that is what we need,” Barnette told The Epoch Times.
Schools should teach traditional U.S. civics, such as analyzing the founding documents and understanding our role as a republic, she said.
“Our schools are under assault,” Barnette said. “I remember when [President Barack] Obama was in office and he said that he, along with others, are going to fundamentally change our country. And from then to now, it’s become very clear that one of the main avenues that they intend to use to fundamentally change our country runs through our schools.
“First, we saw it in higher education, and now we see it as young as K through 12, and they are very adamant.”
According to Barnette, as an ideology that encourages separation between students, critical race theory will make our country racist again.
“My whole lifetime, I’ve seen improvement and people working together, moving forward,” she said. “All of a sudden, I honestly feel like we’re being dragged back in time.”
It’s time to push back on CRT and restore honest and patriotic education so that future generations can reap the benefits enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, according to Waldeck.