I generally hate broad, sweeping statements, but this one happens to be true.
Especially when it comes to helping our kids to think.
Nothing points out that glaring weakness in our educational system as looking at our current political climate, beginning maybe 30 years or so ago, and moving up to today's embarrassment of political theater.
I've recently been having "discussions" regarding the eligibility of two current GOP hopefuls, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, to qualify for the office of President of the United States. Certain Trump supporters (notable for their inability to think or use facts), claim that neither are "natural born citizens" of this country, and crying "Respect the Constitution!" as their only defense. In the case of Rubio, they claim that since neither of Rubio's parents were citizens at the time of his birth in Florida. Minor problem; the 14th amendment to the very Constitution they claim to respect and know states very clearly that "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside." Marco Rubio was born in Florida. On that there is no disagreement. Doesn't matter if his parents were citizens or not. You can argue about the rightness or wrongness of the so-called "anchor baby" provision of the 14th amendment, but you cannot argue about the legality of it. Marco Rubio is every bit a natural-born U.S. citizen as I am.
Now while the Ted Cruz issue is a bit murkier, a lawsuit was recently tossed out of court by a judge in Illinois that questioned Cruz's eligibility. Here's the thing - there's is NO definition or description in the Constitution of what a natural born citizen requires - one parent a citizen, both parents citizens - nothing, so the long-held view that if at least one parent is a U.S. citizen and you're born to them you are also a U.S. citizen is the correct one. Even if you're born outside of the country as Ted Cruz was because his parents were working in Canada at the time.
But - "Respect the Constitution!" is the best most birthers can come up with. And that goes for people who think Obama isn't a natural born citizen as well.
But that's not the only area where our education system has failed us. Let's look at the "I-believe-it-because-someone-told-me" mentality pervasive in today's GOP primary.
Did you know Marco Rubio is a member of the "establishment" wing of the GOP?
Yeah. Neither did I until the campaign started. Maybe because he has one of the most conservative voting records in the U.S. Senate, that must be the reason for that designation. I mean, his record is as conservative as another GOP Senator running for President - Ted Cruz - and Cruz is an "outsider", but Rubio is "the establishment" guy.
Because nuance isn't allowed in today's political discourse. It's "us against them", and if you do ONE THING someone doesn't agree with, you're automatically "them". Rubio's mistake was actually trying to get some form of immigration reform through a divided Congress, and knowing that what passes in the Senate would certainly be changed in the more conservative House in conference committee. That's right. Rubio gets branded for actually knowing the rules, while Cruz gets lauded for doing nothing.
That's what "outsiders" get accomplished - nothing.
But because the media wants ratings, and candidates need something to attack one another with, we have to label someone "them", even though they are much more like "us", and it's our education system that has taught us to buy into what someone tells us, rather than challenging us to think, reason and investigate issues for ourselves.
Civics knowledge has taken a beating in the last 30 years or more as well. How many people heard over the weekend that Donald Trump's Constitutional right to free speech was infringed upon, because protesters had the temerity to break up his rallies over the past few days? Yes, Donald Trump has a right to speak, but the Constitution protects us from GOVERNMENT attempts to silence us. Private citizens have the right and duty to speak up against that which they deem offensive, and if you're going to be deliberately offensive, any private citizen runs the risk of being called out for it. Government is restricted in telling you what to say, and unless you're specifically inciting violence, their role is to simply step back and let you be the jerk and suffer the consequences for being so. In short, if you're going to be an ass, don't whine about others being asses in return.
Finally, to the overall subject of rights. We hear it all the time from liberals - we have a right to healthcare, we have a right to a living wage, a right to this and a right to that.
But what is a "right"? The Constitution does a pretty good job of showing us the direction, and I challenge my readers to show me where my following reasoning is wrong. The big four rights are defined pretty early on, those being the right to freedom of speech, religion, assembly and to keep and bear arms. What do all these "rights" have in common?
You can do them without the participation, assistance or permission of others.
It's that simple. Yet we don't even bother to teach something that basic throughout the entirety of an American citizen's education. And that's why all these liberal calls for rights to healthcare and wages fall flat.
A RIGHT IS THAT WHICH YOU CAN DO BY YOURSELF.
The most glaring failure of the U.S. government education system.
Hi! I'm Dave Richard, your host. I hope you enjoy your visit. We'll be talking about current events, politics, the occasional sports (I'm a HUGE New England Patriots fan, so get over it), and some "Get off my lawn!" issues.