It’s been reported recently that some seventy five percent of our eighth graders nation wide have little concept of what our constitution says, what the Bill of Rights mean, or even a basic understanding of democracy. The report was issued by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a non-profit organization that issues these national report cards on a regular basis.
Many school districts throughout the land have either pulled back or quit teaching civics, and we have a population of people under forty that are not knowledgeable about why we enjoy a way of life that is not known in many other areas of the world. Many are graduating from high school without an understanding of the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, or even what the three branches of the federal government are or why there are three.
This probably answers why so many young people turn out for a presidential election but ignore all others, the opposite of what an informed and educated populace would do. Without a full understanding of how our government works, why it works that way, and who is responsible for what, electing a president sounds like it should be important. If asked, most people today actually believe the president can get something done, but little of what is done in the White House has an effect on wallets and bank accounts.
Members of Congress seem to be spending more time chasing skirts than working to once again enable an active economy, and again, the electorate rarely stands up and bites back. The Tea Party Movement is working to change that, but it will still take years for those in congress to remember who they represent: The People.
So, which elections are most important? Those that put people in office that are responsible for taking the most money from you paycheck. City Councils and County Commissions are responsible for most of the tax money that is raised in this country but elections for those offices are the ones in which the least number of people turn out. In a recent city and county election in Clark County, Nevada, less that fifteen percent of the registered voters bothered to go to the polls. Those that vote in municipal elections put people into office that are responsible for more tax money than all of the presidents alive today.
In the near east right now, people are fighting and dieing for the right to vote in a free election, for the right to voice an opinion in public, for the right to not be harassed by the police and military, and for the right property and personal dignity. In Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, and other countries, thousands have died fighting for those rights that in this country are deemed the cornerstone of our way of life, yet our educators don’t feel that our young people should understand why we are able to live the way we do. Without an informed and educated public, we are open to armed rebellion by forces that don’t want us to be free.
What can you do? Write letters to your individual school systems and demand they teach civics, make those letters public by way of letters to the editor of newspapers, and spread the word in everyway possible that without the teaching of civics, this country is in jeopardy.