The Supreme Court Ruling on the Muslim Travel Ban Highlights a Complicated Past

Posted by Daniel Osborn on June 27, 2018

On Tuesday, June 26, the US Supreme Court announced its decision to uphold President Trump's travel ban. His 2017 executive order banned travel from eight countries, six with majority-Muslim populations and is often referred to as the “Muslim Travel Ban.” This contemporary moment illustrates the importance of court systems in fostering climates of inclusion or exclusion within a country.

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Topics: Democracy

10 Calls to Action to Cultivate Education for Democracy

Posted by Karen Murphy on February 13, 2018

Democracy today is undergoing some major challenges. In fact, in 2017 it faced its most serious crisis in decades with the 12th consecutive year of decline in global freedom, according to Freedom House.

And it’s reflected in our young people.

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Topics: Democracy

Poland's Holocaust Law is a Threat to Democracy. Here's Why.

Posted by Karen Murphy on February 8, 2018

For 73 years, the Polish Government has bristled at the use of the term, “Polish death camps.” This reticence has prompted a new law, signed yesterday by President Andrzej Duda, that outlaws the phrase and penalizes anyone who suggests the country was complicit in Nazi crimes committed under occupation during World War II. While Duda defends the move as a way to safeguard the country against slander, using law and punishment to manipulate historical narratives raises troubling questions about how we remember the past.

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Topics: Democracy, Holocaust

John B. King, Jr: In 2018, Let’s Recommit to Our Vital Role as Citizens

Posted by Roger Brooks on January 17, 2018

The past year has warranted a lot of reflection for all of us. It’s left us all asking ourselves, “Where do we go from here?” and “How do we get there?” While we’re still grappling with these questions, there’s one answer I know is clear: The most important element to helping our young people uphold the values of democracy is a strong civic education.

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Topics: Democracy

How To Assess the Strength of a Democracy

Posted by Dan Sigward on December 11, 2017

On December 15, 1791, the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution—known as the Bill of Rights—were ratified. Designed to spell out limits to the federal government’s power and to protect the individual liberties of Americans, these amendments include many of the hallmarks of the country’s democratic ideals: freedom of speech, the press, and religion; and the protection against being punished by the government without due process of law. 

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Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Democracy, Reconstruction, Weimar Republic

Democracy In Today's World: It's Your Responsibility

Posted by Karen Murphy on November 13, 2017

I was flying home from London last week and was sitting in an exit row. It’s funny how you can see those seats as access to more room to stretch out when really they are an emergency exit. In any case, the flight attendant came by and I was ready for her spiel: read the card, say that you agree to help, etc. Instead, she looked me in the eye and said, “You are going to need to do this. We are not going to get to you in time. We will be in the back opening those doors and helping people. People will be on you quickly and need your help.” Then she paused and said, “Most people think that we really are going to run up here and help, but we really can’t. We won’t get here in time. It’s your responsibility.”

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Topics: Democracy

How George Washington Can Remind Us To Stay Vigilant Against Bigotry

Posted by Martha Minow on October 19, 2017

In August white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia erupted in violence during a rally, including an instance of terrorism that killed one and injured 19 others when a vehicle was purposely driven into a crowd. Even as other world events continue to demand our attention, it is important not to lose sight of the rifts and tension that Charlottesville shined a blinding spotlight on. If we look to history, President George Washington’s letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island reminds us of the need to reclaim the nation’s vigilance against bigotry.

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Topics: Democracy

What the 1965 Voting Rights Act Can Teach Us About Voter Fraud Today

Posted by Daniel Osborn on August 17, 2017

The violence and bigotry displayed in Charlottesville last weekend reminds us of the challenges that racial hatred poses to democracy. In August 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed one aspect of this by signing the Voting Rights Act to safeguard the voting rights of African Americans. Yet, decades of efforts to deny the vote highlight the tensions between just and unjust laws. Looking to this history is a reminder that challenges to voting rights are a perennial feature of political life in the United States, past and present. This is becoming evident today as controversial accusations of voter fraud are brought to the forefront under the Trump Administration.

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Topics: Democracy

3 Angles to the US Voter Fraud Controversy

Posted by Stacey Perlman on August 10, 2017

Earlier this month, New York announced it would share its voter data with the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. California is still resisting the request from the Commission in June that all 50 states hand over voter-roll data. The Commission was launched in May by President Donald Trump to investigate his claims that between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused him to lose the popular vote in the 2016 US presidential election. Initially, 44 states and the District of Columbia refused to hand over certain data due to privacy concerns. Voting rights groups are also concerned about efforts to suppress voters. This tension between the states and the voter fraud investigation reveals multiple perspectives about the controversy. Here are three to consider in your classroom.

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Topics: Democracy

How You Can Guide Decision Making in the Presence of Unjust Laws

Posted by Steven Becton on June 15, 2017

Most would agree that one of the hallmarks of a successful civil society is an expectation that people will follow the law. But what about the presence of unjust laws—those that are morally reprehensible, discriminatory, dehumanizing, and privileges one group over others? They present an interesting dilemma, especially since one aim of civic education is to teach students to be good law-abiding citizens.

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Topics: Democracy

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Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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