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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Social Civics

On Sunday, the Trenton Times published the monthly essay written by the president of the Trenton Council of Civic Associations; this year the president is Darren, "Freedom," Green.  He had much to say about civic involvement; he mentioned that the absence of good old high school civics has done more harm than good.  (That is not an exact quote.)  He could not be more right.  In my day, it was called, "Social Studies." 

Long ago, I stopped being amazed at the ignorance of the typical citizen.  The most commonly heard is, "I don't vote because it don't make no difference."  Like hell.  On election day, we are the most important and powerful people around.  Why?  Because every leader in every country is glued to CNN.  They know that whoever is elected is the president they must deal with for the next four years.  (With very rare exceptions).  Just think.  Every vote for Ronald Reagan brought a smile to Margaret Thatcher's face. 

Another popular excuse for doing nothing  (especially when it is suggested the citizen attend council meetings) is, "I don't want no trouble."  The Constitution, which is the supreme law in this country, guarantees that a citizen has the right, "to petition elected officials for a resdress of grievances."  That means we, the voters, you and me, have a guaranteed right to bitch and moan - in public - on the record.  And if you don't speak up at public meetings how are the elected officlas to know something is bothering you? 

My favorite war story involves the census every ten years.  You have no idea how people feel the government is just snooping into their private affairs.  Yes, some of the questions are a bit over the top, BUT, and it is a big BUT, the Constitution requires a census every ten years.  And there was a reason the Founding Fathers included this requirement.  Anyone out there know the answer?

Mr. Green was right.  The ignorance about our own government is dragging us down.  And if the schools won't teach, there is always the Citizens' Campaign. 

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