As parents, we have many responsibilities. We need to feed and clothe our children, make sure they get to school on time and study hard. We are hopeful that they excel academically and maybe even athletically or artistically. As parents, we make sure they brush their teeth, go to bed at a reasonable hour, and chew with their mouths closed. But what are we teaching our children about work ethic, equality, and individual freedom as it pertains to fundamental Constitutional Rights as set forth by our Founding Fathers? Evidently, we are slim on the individual and heavy on socialist entitlement sentiments. We proved that this month in our elections.
Where do we, as parents in America, really stand on teaching our children that those “serving” in representative positions in federal government – a group of 545 “elected” (I use that term loosely) officials – should be reminded that they are civil servants, and not celebrities? How do we convey to our children the inherent dangers of complacency, as so aptly demonstrated by citizens of Germany during Hitler’s reign or by the people of Russia during Stalin’s autocratic rule? Fundamentally speaking, America was founded on principles of capitalism, free trade, and individuality; albeit on the backs of slavery and indentured servitude for which we are still paying the price within certain demographics and inner-cultures. So how do we as parents teach our children that though we can recognize (and at times, very slowly attempt to correct) our mistakes as both individuals and as a nation, that we will be vehemently willing to protect the rights of the individual in our country, and that democracy – not socialism – should always be evident in American laws and policy?
My answer to that, is, first we must educate ourselves as parents. Looking back on my early education, we may have memorized the Preamble, but we hardly studied the concepts and foundations on which our Declaration of Independence or the Constitution and Articles of Confederation were written. Nor did we run comparisons on current policy against socialist agendas to determine similarities or trends. Plus, with Marxist historiography as a benchmark practice in many federally funded texts and classrooms, it can be extremely difficult for us as parents to fight the indoctrination of our children into socialistic (nee communist?) idealisms. If we have a responsibility to teach our children, should we therefore not have also the responsibility of educating ourselves? And by education, I do not mean watching The Ed Show, The O’Reilly Factor, or Wolf Blitzer Reports or even the grossly Progressive Soledad O’Brien (whom I find one of the most annoying tv personalities out there). The media is not trustworthy or without agenda, and as they feed us propaganda and rhetoric, beating us over the head with the same headlines, repeating the same news, focused on the same minutia, we have a responsibility to recognize that their agenda is not Constitutional integrity, or ethical reporting, but ratings.
The more educated we become ourselves on matters of the Constitution , and the less propaganda we fall prey to, the better chance our children will have at attaining the American Dream without feeling despondent, disconnected, or worse yet…entitled. Our education will in turn give to us as citizens the confidence to insist that our representatives appropriately manage federal affairs through increased commerce, reduced spending and smaller federal government interference overall.
The more we learn as parents, the more connected to the fundamental principles upon which this Republic was founded, the less we will desire Big Brother’s hand-outs and mandates. Strength through legitimate understanding of the principles of the Constitution allows us as parents to realize that the federal government, run by just 545 people – less than .002% of the total population – should not have control over life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness of any law abiding citizen.
When entitlement turns into inspiration; when inspiration turns into self-reliance; when self-reliance turns into a truly independent individual…only then do we understand fully that our American foundation is based on the individual – not a Marxist collectivism-based-socialistic-class-war-revolution mantra as being fed to us by these manipulative pseudo-celebrities, who have clearly forgotten for whom they work.
As we educate ourselves, and thus, our children, we also have the responsibility of teaching them about responsible citizenry. One aspect of responsible citizenry is voting. The recent election had dismal voter turn-out, with only 57.5 percent of eligible voters bothering to “show up.” If there are 219M eligible potential voters, that means only 126M bothered filling out the ballot. On a personal note, my absentee ballot took approximately one hour to complete, as I researched every stinking proposal before casting my vote. That was the most meaningful hour I spent this month.
The refusal to vote (disinterest in our nation’s affairs) displays a similar type of complacency as our German, Russian, and Italian brethren. That lack of care for the state of the union, and that refusal to exercise not just the right of citizenship – but the responsibility of citizenship – is shameful, yet easily remedied. If we, as parents, set the standard for our children and impart on them the importance of that vote, will we not know that we are raising more responsible adults?