On the necessity of teaching the Constitution, civics in school.

The Constitution
Happy Constitution Day! Keep the Constitution alive by learning about it and teaching it to your kids.

A generation ago, civics classes used to be ubiquitous in public schools.  Now, as more and more schools teach for standardized tests, the study of the government and the Constitution has fallen by the wayside.  Many Millenials don’t even have a basic knowledge of the Constitution or of civics.  Often when asked, they can’t even name the three branches of government. This is a dangerous trend in this democratic republic we call the USA. For a republic to properly function, it is essential that we the people are aware of our rights and responsibilities as citizens.

If you have school-age children, do you know if their school has any sort of civics curriculum?  Celebrating Constitution Day is a great time to think about such things and take action with your local school board to recommend bringing back civics if it’s not being taught.  If it is, please take time to praise them for supporting civics and Constitutional studies.  You may find that along with music, art, and physical education, that civics could be on the chopping block due to budget cuts or greater emphasis on teaching for standardized tests.  Your speaking up could help innoculate wavering school board members from pressure to cut such valuable programs now and in the future.

If you don’t have kids, take some time to read our important founding documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.  You are in charge of your own civics education.  If you have never read them before, or haven’t since you took civics in school, you might be surprised and enlightened by what’s in them.  There is also something about reading the actual, unfiltered texts that you can’t get by reading a book or hearing about them on TV. (Of course, no harm in doing both!) Arming yourself with this knowledge will help you fight for and protect your most sacred rights as an American.

Advertisements

It’s OK to Love America

The Flag of the U.S.A.

A recent Gallup poll shows that only 47% of those polled were “extremely proud” of their country. This is disturbing, but not surprising, given that public schools, colleges, and political leaders constantly talk down America. Students today are fed a version of history that accentuates the negative while downplaying or completely ignoring the positive. The Left tells us that conservatives are fascists while shutting down the free speech of others they don’t agree with. They fear that if a majority of Supreme Court justices actually follow the Constitution as written, a whole host of “rights” will disappear into thin air. They are unaware apparently of the irony of what they say, as the Constitution was written precisely to codify into law our rights. We live in a country where laws are fine if enforced by one president, but not another. Most of the lack of pride in America stems from a very skewed version of history, the malleable definition of certain words like fascist, racist, sexist, etc., and a near zero knowledge of civics. There are plenty of things that Americans can be proud of, things that paint a better, and indeed, a more accurate picture of America. The fact is, that Americans have many reasons to love their country. Listed here are just a few:

We beat the most powerful empire at the time, Britain through a combination of sheer determination, imagination, and just plain luck. The courage, valor, and determination of the American patriots should not be overlooked. Our Revolution could have been lost in so many ways, yet we pulled off the upset of the century. Read just about any book on the American Revolution and you’ll see just how amazing and improbable our victory actually was. Some, such as George Washington have even attributed our nation’s birth to divine providence.

We freed the slaves. Yes, unfortunately, we had them in the first place, but the matter of slavery was a contentious one since the founding of our republic. Slavery was abolished in Pennsylvania even before the Battle of Yorktown was fought. Though slavery lost support in the North early, it was only ended in the rest of the country at tremendous cost. Imagine a war that was not only the bloodiest in the nation’s history but one where all of the casualties were citizens of the same country. Imagine a war fought not over territory or religion, but over the freedom of people.

We invented stuff, lots of cool stuff. We invented a lot of things the world would have a lot of trouble getting along without. Basic stuff, like light bulbs, the telephone, wireless communication, the internet, zippers, the airplane. Nothing too important.

Your map looks the way it does mainly due to America. Once there were two German states, we helped get that number down to one and a rather ugly wall was torn down in the process. There is a Russia, but not a U.S.S.R., again, mainly thanks to us. We had some help of course, from leaders like Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, and Pope (now Saint) John Paul II, but it was the visionary leadership of a certain American president named Reagan that finally broke the stalemate. There are two Korea’s, one we kept free, a few countries that used to comprise Yugoslavia, and a few more that were either Soviet republics or vassal states. America’s influence has literally been global.

We helped win two world wars and the Cold War. Countries once former enemies are now either allies or important trading partners, or both. Hundreds of millions of people are free due to our willingness to sacrifice for their freedom. Millions more have a chance if they can resist the temptation to revert back to authoritarianism.

We sent a man to the moon. In fact, several of them. To date, the only human beings to ever walk on the moon have been American. Every single human being to take a selfie on the moon has been an American. Every single human being to ever drive a cool dune buggy on the moon has been an American. Every single human being ever to drive a golf ball on the moon, you guessed it– has been an American.

We help people. Anytime there is a major catastrophe anywhere in the world, America offers aid. Be it after an earthquake in Haiti, tsunamis in Indonesia and Japan, or hurricanes in the Caribbean, or any number of other disasters you can name, America is always one of the first countries to offer humanitarian assistance. Were also generous, The United States consistently rates high among all nations in charitable giving, both in terms of total dollar amounts and dollars per capita. Just google: “charitable giving by country” and you’ll see.

To hear it from some people, you’d think that America was a terrible place with a terrible history with few redeeming qualities. Some of their points are valid, but they do not give a balanced perspective on our nation. Our Founding Fathers were men of wisdom and courage who sacrificed much and were prepared to give even more, even their lives if necessary for us to gain our independence. That spirit of sacrifice, of putting liberty and freedom above our own lives and fortunes carries on to this day. No country has done more to further the cause of liberty than the United States. Our influence is global, literally, we’ve helped rewrite atlases, we’ve helped oppressive countries disappear and be replaced with more liberal ones. From freeing black Americans from slavery to freeing other nations from tyranny and oppression, America has always taken a lead role. We make and do cool stuff, like build the Panama Canal and send cars into space. We help the less fortunate in our own county and across the globe. Even when it comes to countries that we don’t exactly see eye-to-eye with politically, we offer them help in their time of need. In short, there is an awful lot to be proud of if you’re an American. That doesn’t mean we ignore the bad, or not continue to correct injustices, it means that our positive contributions and achievements far outweigh the negative, and for that, we should be proud.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Happy Thanksgiving medSometimes we find ourselves in a time of abundance and we know it and give thanks. Sometimes we find ourselves in a time of scarcity and we know it, but give thanks for what we do have.  Sometimes it takes a bit of reflection to discover, despite outward appearances, we really are in a time of abundance before we realise it.  That is the spirit of  Thanksgiving.   No matter what difficulties we face in life, that fact we still have life is reason to give thanks.

To everyone out there reading this:  Have a Happy Thanksgiving!