Untold tens of millions of the 74,000,000 who voted for our past president looked on in silence, covertly urging the mob forward. Many who knew better backed the throng in their selfish desire for a political future.
What percentage of that 74,000,000 are true nutjobs or selfish politicians? I hope not a large one. But I’ve come to accept the fact that many, if not most, are lost forever, although I hope some can be enticed into the world of rational thinking.
Pundits have pundited about how it will take a decade or more to set things right. I fear they may be correct.
I have been giving a lot of thought to how to change this climate. It seems to me there are two problems that must be attacked.
- A lack of understanding of the most elemental structure and processes of our government.
- An inability to recognize not only what facts are, but what they mean and how they should be interpreted.
I see no way that the people currently relishing their ignorance of these areas can be brought to the light. I think we who find their attitude alarming often do not understand why. How much is due to their difficulties of daily living? How much is due to the parenting they received? This type of questioning could go on and on. But I don’t see any merit in it. Until people accept the validity of the above two weaknesses, I fear little advance can occur.
Believer in education that I am, I wonder if that is not a place to start.
When I was in school we studied the structure of our government and the safety given us by the checks and balances system built into the Constitution. Good stuff, but more is needed. I would be in favor of a course required of every student to learn about the history of our country’s founding, a study of the purpose of each of the three branches of government, the reasons for the checks and balances and examples where they have saved us, an analysis of each of the 27 amendments with explanations of why they appeared, and particular attention to why freedom of the press is essential to saving us from tyranny.
Paralleling this should be discussions of patriotism. I don’t mean “my country right or wrong.” Rather, “I love my country for the principles on which it was designed, and how can I help achieve them?”
Ask students to say the Pledge of Allegiance, sing the Star Bangled Banner. The recent inauguration vividly illustrated the power of these actions.
Such courses would be utter failures if they were politically motivated. Rather, they should be created by professional scholars who are willing to put political persuasion aside.
On the second point, I think a different course is needed on how to tell fact from fiction. Everyday examples might make the point. A faucet dripping is an annoyance one would like to eliminate. Saying it isn’t dripping over and over won’t stop the drip.
The course ought to emphasize and help develop a questioning nature. Have students learn to demand where a piece of information comes from, ask why is it true or even if is it true, evaluate the reliability of its source, search for some motivation behind its deliverance that is aimed at benefitting the source. And the basic question, is it an outright lie? This type of questioning, so common in the scientific fields, would make future generations more difficult to snooker into believing falsehoods.
Obviously, the ideas here represent long term solutions only, if indeed they are solutions at all.
I wish I could guarantee they would work, but it seems as if it’s worth a try.