Henry DeGroot, a senior at Newton North High School, was fortunate enough to visit a school that was close to Beijing on a semester abroad. He made a decision to write a note to Chinese student promoting democracy. Probably the most peaceful way an American has ever spread Democracy.
DeGroot recalled writing, “Democracy is for cool kids. Don’t believe the lies your school and government tell you, it’s right to rebel.” This is a very valuable message that Henry was trying to get across. Communism can turn people into a sheep and it could really change the student’s life.
Now, when the school in China found out about the note, they made Henry serve five hours of detention. Pretty reasonable since their country is an active communist country.
Newton North High School felt the need to add to that punishment (a school located in a country that is always trying to spread democracy through war) and did not allow Henry to attend prom.
But, Henry probably did the best thing somebody who can’t go to prom can do, he took his girlfriend to Five-Guys and got burgers in formal attire.
Although it may seem ridiculous, NNHS did have to take some course of action. This program they have with the Chinese school needs to continue, and the school was definitely paying attention to how it played out.
Now here’s my response to the situation:
1) Communism now is different from communism during The Cold War
Yes, I am grateful for Democracy in America, but Democracy has failed in many other countries. People may fear democracy like us Americans fear communism. The term “Communism” was the big bad scary term during the Cold War, with a similar magnitude as the word “terrorism” today. Democracy has failed before, and believe it or not, people still have happy lives in Communist countries. Democracy is great, but communism is not that scary especially in a country like China, where despite their many flaws, have still done some things to help the world during the past two centuries (http://www.digitalnpq.org/archive/2005_spring/10_mahbubani.html )
2) Henry DeGroot Is A Cool Kid
It was a very American move for Henry to go through with these actions in China. It took a lot of marbles to take such a risk to spread a simple message. He knows how valuable his freedom of speech is and what a travesty it is that people in China don’t have the same liberty. DeGroot stood strong, defending his free speech, and that is what makes Democracy more effective than other political system. If you’re reading DeGroot, thanks for spreading good culture.