Thursday, May 14, 2015

Be a Guardian

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”, probably one of the most significant principles to shape American political thought. In 2003 a Galluppoll showed that only 34% of Americans could identify the document where those words are found. The same poll showed that a whole 17% could identify who the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was at the time. And only 58% could identify the name of our national anthem. Forty one percent did not know how many US Senators each state has. The poll asked the question “Two of the three branches of government are the legislative and the executive. Can you name the third branch of government?” only 57% were able to.  Are these questions too hard? To be fair the poll was taken in 2003 and only included 1,008 American adults who were selected at random. I would like to think that things have improved since 2003 and that this is a poor representation of the population as a whole. But every morning after I read the news I know that’s not true. It is evident that Americans do not know the history of their country, they have a poor understanding of basic foundational principles, and they don’t care. Seem a little harsh? Just a few weeks ago a state of emergency was declared in the city of Baltimore because mobs of people were destroying public and private property, in the name of civil rights. Either they studied a completely different history then I did or they have no understanding of civil rights. In a letter written on public education James Madison stated “the advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” We are failing in our role as guardians of our own liberty. I am not sure what is more alarming, our lack of understanding and knowledge of our own history, government, and founding principles. Or the public’s complete lack of concern. Who’s at fault here? The public schools? Parents? Communities? Does it matter where the problem started? In some ways yes it does matter, we need to be able to identify where the problem started so we can fix it. However it is time for us to take responsibility for the role we play in this country. You should be educating yourself. The founders where great examples of self-educators. Yes they had formal education but they continued their education throughout their lives. Thomas Jefferson had a huge library filled with books on science, math, philosophy, politics, and history. After the library of Congress was destroyed he sold his library to replace the destroyed books. In total he had over 6000 books. Is it any wonder that it was men like Jefferson who lead the country through a revolution and established a government with a Constitution that has lasted longer than any other? It is time for Americans to rediscover their heritage. Become informed on the issues. Understand the Constitution. Be a guardian of your liberty. If you think that someone else will defend it you are wrong. Ronald Reagan stated "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States when men were free." I believe that this scenario is closer than we think unless we act now. 

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