America !

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She was born much as a child is born, bloodied, loved, cut from her bonds, but dependent. Her birth came with a hope, a vision, and a promise, marked so eloquently in her Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

As the Declaration state in the very next sentences, as if to anticipate the loathsome state of government without guidance or structure, and freedom without responsibility:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, - That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

While this paragraph was written with the British Government in mind, it was nonetheless, also a prescription for the people of America should the government of their own design fail to "effect their Safety and Happiness".

We have stood dumbstruck witness to the events of September 11, 2001, which should not have been permitted to happen, given the billions of taxpayer dollars spent to that date on national defense and "intelligence".

We have looked on with horror at the desperate pleas of thousands atop roofs as bloated bodies floated past in the streets of New Orleans. A direct result of a failure in government programs to design, build, and maintain levees to protect those tearfully unfortunate American citizens of New Orleans.

We now numbingly count the casualties and deaths of Americans sent to rebuild another nation torn asunder, divided, and reeking of the death of countless 10's of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children, made wanton, in their abandonment of all civility, for a piece of revenge.

Clearly, America's government is not fulfilling its obligations and responsibilities in very fundamental ways.

America has always had enemies. From the indigenous Americans who claimed home to this land centuries before the Mayflower, to Osama bin Laden, America has always lived in a world with opponents. Chief among the duties and responsibilities of government expected and demanded by the American people, and her founding documents, are safety and freedom within her borders. Nowhere in our seminal documents can be found the words, "safety or freedom", or the notion of more of one at the expense of the other. When the words Safety and Happiness are quoted above, one need no degree from university to recognize that inherent in the definition of Happiness is freedom. For what person or animal caged, mastered, or fearful can lay claim to happiness?

America has made slow, but inexorable progress, in her march toward racial freedom for all her citizens. In a scant 200 years she matured to adolescence capable of the reason and capacity to view another's plight as if standing in their shoes, and asking: "what if that were me?" For such a young nation, given the great civilizations of the past much longer lived, whose demise never witnessed the end of slavery and subjugation of their people, America has proven to be in this regard at least, an apt student of life and history.

America has made great strides toward her ideals of acknowledging that all persons are created equal with certain unalienable rights. But acknowledgment and assurance are very different. America acknowledges, but, does not yet assure, that justice, equal opportunity, and equal treatment in the eyes of the law are observed.

America routinely imprisons innocent persons, and almost as routinely today, to her credit, liberates some of them with DNA evidence. American law enforcement still profiles ethnic citizens for unequal treatment. The American of Arab descent is rapidly taking on the traditional role of 'nigger' for profiling and unequal treatment.

Do our soldiers consciously abdicate claims to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when they join our military? They do in practice regarding life and liberty. But, is it a conscious choice? Soldiers unarguably abdicate claims to their life and liberty, for there is no occupation in America that is more dangerous today and curtails freedom of expression or freedom of choice in one's daily affairs more than in our military. Many a soldier have said with full conscious awareness that their pursuit of happiness entails protecting and defending their America and their loved ones.

What is a soldier's obligation however, when their Congress, the representatives of the American people, disapprove of the conduct of war as defined and executed by the President and Commander in Chief? What is a soldier's obligation when their mission bears no resemblance to protecting and defending the United States, but, instead becomes a mission of protecting and defending a foreign nation and its Constitution? These are questions for a mature nation, not an adolescent nation still trying to find its way in the world. Why is America acting the role of adolescent, still defining the problems and challenges before it, instead of assuming responsibility for solutions to them?

The answer to that question and a vast host of other, seemingly inexplicable actions by our nation and her people, lie in her people's education. America's education of her people is by nearly every measure, wholly inadequate to support a democratic republic of informed choice. Most Americans could not tell you with certainty whether the words "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" occur in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, or the Articles of Confederation. The majority of Americans have never read the U.S. Constitution nor the entirety of the Declaration of Independence as adults.

America's education system has never been what it should have been, and should be. There is a core of disciplines that are vital to the national interest of America which have never received the attention, focus, and expertise in delivery, our nation requires. Those disciplines are civics, history, and literature. Much attention is being paid to math and science these days and tremendous efforts are made to innovate and progress in these disciplines to attract student attention and motivation toward math and science. And this is good, for America's future and competitive role in the global market depends very much on the success of these efforts.

On the other hand, civics, history, and literature are language based disciplines absolutely essential to our nation's future. In the past, everything from rote memorization to Spelling Bees were implemented to try to improve student's development of language arts. But, language development is only the prerequisite, the qualifying capacity, the doorway to cognitive agility in the areas of civics, history, and the literature of great human ideas. Most regrettably, our educational systems have focused intently on reading and writing in language development as the end, and goal of education. It is not, nor should it ever have been.

Reading and writing are but the tools that allow students to grasp the reward that awaits them, an understanding and personally defensible view on topics of government, society, and the great ideas of our past and present. For this understanding permits students to become masters of their own, and their nation's future.

In a democratic republic, there is no more monumental decision that a citizen will make than whether or not to vote, and how that vote should be cast. The future of every American, the future of our nation, and the future of the world literally depends upon this most monumental of all decisions any student or citizen will ever make in their lifetime.

And yet, at no time in America's history have educational systems of all of its states and counties ever, at one time, prepared its students for that decision, in any way that could be considered adequate. Recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance is NOT civics education. It is mental conditioning to obey and not question. Is it any wonder then, that half or more of voters obey their Party's directive to vote as they are told, without question, without examination, without critical evaluation, and without historical reference or knowledge of the import of that vote?

Are American students aware that our Declaration of Independence stipulates that it is their Right and obligation to alter or, overthrow their own government should that government fail to provide for their Safety and Happiness? Ask your student if the Declaration of Independence says government should provide the conditions necessary for the people's Safety and Happiness? You may be shocked at the response. Then ask them if the events of 9/11, our government's response to Katrina, and the Iraq War demonstrate that our government has provided for the people's safety and happiness?

Our politicians have a vested interest in insuring the voters never ask such questions of themselves or elected officials. Is it not true, that the ultimate threat to a politician's career and reelection is an intelligent, educated, and an informed voter, times 51%? Is there a connection then, between politicians who control the budgets for schools, and the abysmally low salaries teachers are asked to live on compared to comparably educated professionals in the private industry?

And is it not a complete and utter failure of our educational system to focus on spelling and grammar while never getting to the goal of language which is knowledge and understanding of our past and present; so that we as voters may better direct our futures? America was once a young nation. But, this is the 21st century and youth no longer serves as an excuse for failing to grow up.

If we fail to mature as a nation, and meet our immediate and long term future with intelligence, knowledge, and awareness of our past, good and bad, we are unlikely to survive our reputation as a great nation with the greatest of promise at her birth.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, - That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on February 26, 2007 3:55 AM.

GOP Incumbents Between Rock and Hard Place. was the previous entry in this blog.

Freedom, Jessica Lunsford, and America is the next entry in this blog.

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