My Work

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What Civics Class?

I’m wondering if what we’re seeing in Washington right now isn’t fall out from a failure in our education system to teach civics, government, politics.  There has never been a time that “all or nothing” has worked in a political system unless that system was led by a dictator.

Many years ago, most educational systems gave up on teaching civics.  Why that happened is a mystery to most, but it has led to more than one generation not knowing how government works, and some of those uneducated in the practice are now serving in congress.  It has also led to many people only participating in elections during the presidential cycle.

There is a tremendous lack of knowledge on the three segments of our government, the legislative, that is, congress, judicial, the court system with the supreme court the last stop, and the president.  Less seems to be known of our constitution, the Bill of Rights, even the Declaration of Independence.

All of this can be seen in how many in the Tea Party movement feel about government and its workings.  As much can be seen by the Occupy people.  When our leadership consists of those uneducated in government leadership, we have our current situation:  All or Nothing.  A government that is supposed to represent the citizens of the country must be able to reach decisions by way of compromise, it cannot operate by decree or you have what is described as dictatorship.

Many in the ultra liberal wing of the democrat party believe strongly in socialism, want government to be the all knowing master of all things, but to have that, those representing the government must be educated in how government works.  Many in the ultra conservative wing of the republican party feel most government operations must be curtailed or ended, but again, without a full knowledge of how our government works, and why, simple decrees won’t work.

Leadership carries a heavy burden, which includes education, courtesy, respect for the opposition, and the ability to compromise, otherwise, anarchy and dictatorship becomes the law of the land.  We’re seeing a failure of leadership at most levels of government.  Police out of control because of a lack of leadership; states, cities and counties near bankruptcy from a lack of those in power willing to make the hard decisions; congress unable to see past their own political ambitions; and an electorate unwilling to make the smallest effort to know who they are voting for and why.

Our problems aren’t a failure of the free enterprise system or representative democracy, our problems are a failure of our educational system.  Personal responsibility, personal ethics, and respect for our fellow beings is not practiced in big business or politics.  It isn’t taught in MBA programs or law classes.  Government isn’t taught in grammar, high, or university schools.

If we don’t make changes to those systems, in the words of one Star Wars character, “We’re doomed.”

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