Opinion

More than Elections Shape a Nation

group crowd americanMore than Elections Shape a Nation

Elections are important and do shape the future of a nation when it is a democratic republic as our country is. However, we must remember that we are reflected in our elected government and that “We the People”  have responsibilities as citizens of this democratic republic beyond voting.

Thomas Jefferson knew that it was the people of America who would be the guardians of their freedom. He hoped that these guardians of liberty would take their responsibilities seriously. In a letter to James Madison written in 1787, Jefferson wrote this about the role he felt education would play in preserving liberty.

“Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to, convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty.”

America has succeeded in securing their freedom via their “good sense” as Thomas Jefferson had hoped they would for over two centuries. Hopefully Americans will remain vigilant and continue to secure their freedom by educating future generations who will bear the responsibility of holding on to liberty as time progresses.

When it comes to education Americans seem to have differing opinions on how and what should be taught. If education is left to The State and we do not as individuals pass on our values and knowledge to the next generation, much can be lost.

I fear much is being lost in terms of how we view our government. The balance of powers that our constitution put in place seems to be out of balance. The Executive branch and the Judicial branch is legislating. Creating law is something that congress is expressly responsible for. That is where the people’s responsibility comes in. If “We the People” no longer understand the way our government is meant to work than it will collapse or “progressively” turn into a form of government that it was never meant to be. Our individual liberties will slowly be eroded. If we wish to preserve our liberty, we must educate the next generation so as Thomas Jefferson hoped, “their good sense” will secure liberty for future Americans.

The tree of liberty must be nurtured or it will die. Please excuse what may seem to be a tired metaphor — “tree of liberty”, although I sometimes wonder if many metaphors or clichés that are at the roots of freedom are even understood by the current upcoming generation? It is up to us to pass on the values that are important to us. Sometimes the old metaphors we may consider tired from overuse are not understood by the young people. The meanings of many of these metaphors or clichés are not tired or old and can serve as a link in a long chain that is anchored to liberty established in the past that must continue to be pulled into the future.

Sure elections are important in shaping our nation, but what is more important is that we do not allow individual liberty and the ideals our constitution secures to be forgotten. It is our responsibility to educate the next generation so liberty will be preserved. We cannot leave the education of our children solely in the hands of the public education system.

Taking an active role in educating the next generation is not as daunting as it may seem. Simply reading aloud to children and grandchildren is a way to connect and pass on important values and maybe a bit of history too. I recently saw this clip online in which Meghan Cox Gurdon, who writes about children’s books for the Wall Street Weekend Journal, speaks about the importance of reading aloud with youngsters. She says to read aloud not just with pre-school children but with older children and teens too. It might seem unlikely that kids will sit for this, but I did read aloud with my daughter from her toddler days through her teens. It was not only rewarding because it was a shared activity, but because it also allowed for conversations about topics that may never have come up if not for reading aloud together.

Meghan Cox Gurdon at about minute 25 of the talk speaks about how reading aloud together with your children is an opportunity to introduce youngsters to books that may be left out if the school system alone is relied on. She even spoke briefly of how dictators in the past century, like Mao, Lenin and Stalin eliminated certain books and tried to “rip people away from the past, to purge it from the art, music, poetry, old cultural traditions, religious consolations, ways of dress and even practices of cooking and eating.” Here is the link to her talk. It may inspire you to link via books with some youngsters in your life and be a part of shaping our nation.

http://www.heritage.org/events/2015/11/cwn-meghan-cox-gurdon-on-reading-aloud-to-children

 

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Charles L.

In our modern schools, our children are facing an uphill battle in getting a good education. The students are often clueless because a large number of the younger teachers coming into the school system are also clueless. As the universities increasingly become indoctrination centers instead of laborites of thought and diverse opinions, the students who will be teachers and leaders down the road are clueless to common sense, and basic fundamental American principles. Religion and the values of a our founding fathers have been replaced with political correctness and feel good trends. We are being subjected to the professionally offended, the race merchants and the anti-religion crew. If you have watched some of the talk shows where the hosts, be it Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel or Jesse Waters conducts man on the street interviews and asks very basic questions about history, geography and civics, you discover how clueless… Read more »

Ivan Berry

Well well Diana, it appears that you still have a bunch of us still on the same page with you. Well done. Telling stories, some made up, at bed time; allowing them to read whatever we read (allowing following their interests, not just ours ( a fifth grade teacher objected to our daughter having read “The Sun Also Rises” as being inappropriate for her grade level); reading to them and their friends (animated and with character voices); etc and etc., resulted in middle school daughters reading at an earlier version of college level when grading still counted for something. They even were at 12 and 14 able to understand a third year research paper that an English prof and a psycology prof each stated that they didn’t understand what was written or the meaning of what was written as to purpose. It bears mentioning that each of them are liberty… Read more »

Marilyn

We’re not supposed to be a democracy; we’re supposed to be a republic. Yet politicians and “journalists” repeatedly use the term “democracy”, as what, a form of brainwashing? The founders rejected the idea of a democracy in favor of a republic. As has been often said, “A democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting what’s for lunch. In a republic the lamb’s rights are written in stone.” Our system is broken. You know it’s broken when the likes of moronic W. and Bill the rapist Clinton get elected to the highest office in the land. Twice no less.

Esquire2

I thank you for your efforts, Diana. It is important to teach our children the origins of our government, and the importance of maintaining the foundation. We disagree regarding the U.S. as a “democratic republic”. You are correct … that is what was given to us by the founding fathers. However, as with all children, each generation feels the need to “change” something, and in the case of our Nation, it has slid from the ranks of the BEST democratic republic the world has ever known, to become a mere “democracy”, none of which lasted 250 years before the non-productive citizens learned they could vote themselves a bigger piece of the pie. Follow the $$$$$$. U.S. Debt exceeds $18 TRILLION. The U.S. is dealing with this issue, AND, like all other democracies, will lose the battle and be washed into history as another “failed democracy”. Is there a solution? I… Read more »

PaulE

Excellent article Diana. Yes, the American people are ultimately responsible for the protecting the freedoms they wish to continue to enjoy. Far too many Americans have abdicated the guardianship of their rights and adopted an attitude of “Let somebody else stand up and look out for the rights of the people. I have other things to do or I can’t be bothered”. Jefferson and all the other Founding Fathers understood that the nation and the freedoms its people enjoyed would only stand as long as the public remained vigilant. Maintaining the Republic was NOT a spectator sport to be off-loaded to someone else. I would agree with the recommendations outlined by Meghan Cox in this article. Parents have to be actively engaged in raising and educating their own children, if for no other reason that filling in the information no longer taught in most public schools today. It is also… Read more »

Rik

It seems that the only things our young are interested in reading today is they’re text messages on their cellphones. Perhaps, children should not have access to cellphones until they are at least 12 years old.