By Pat Lamb
“The government should buy each of us an electronic dictionary.”
“They’re all a bunch of crooks!”
“The President should_______.”
“The only jobs there are are those old crappy jobs.”
“The government doesn’t give us enough money to live on.
The above are all true comments heard in GED class when I was teaching. They clearly indicate a lack of understanding of how our government is supposed to be a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”. “We, the people,” not “They, the people” are responsible for what happens in our country.
Children need to be taught at an early age to accept personal responsibility as citizens for self and others. Without this teaching, people become like leeches, living off the lives of others.
Children need to see their parents go vote. Children need to hear their parents talk civilly about the candidates and their policies. Children need to understand that our founding fathers set up a government with checks and balances making the congressmen and congresswomen as responsible as the president for decisions that are made.
I have found that very few of the students I have taught knew the three branches of the government: executive, legislative, and judicial. They did not know that the Senate and House of Representatives make up Congress. They did not know that there are two Senators from each state and that Representatives are elected according to population based on the census every ten years. Further, they did not know the meaning of checks and balances, a system set up by the founders of our country to make sure that no one branch of government has too much power. Had they known about the system of checks and balances, they would have known that the president cannot be solely blamed for mistakes nor can he solely take credit for successes. In fact, the president can do very little alone. Understanding this fact would make more people take greater consideration in the Senators and Representatives they vote for.
Children need to be taught that all money coming from Washington, D.C., must first go there, and that taxpayers are the ones who send it there. They need to be told that they have a responsibility to send money to Washington, D.C. and not just think of what they can get from Washington, D.C. In fact, right now other countries are helping fund our government, making us indebted to them. Also, by the time our tax money goes to Washington and then comes back, it has dwindled a great deal due to the many expenses associated with counting, disbursement, etc. It would be of more personal value to keep it home in the first place.
Unfortunately, many parents act as though they do not understand these facts. If parents and grandparents do not understand, how can they teach the children? Perhaps greater thought needs to be given before discussing our government in front of children. WE are the government. We govern through the people we elect. We have no right to say they are the government. We need to write letters, attend meetings held by our voted-in officials, and encourage our elected officials to govern as it was originally intended.
Let’s make sure our children understand the truth about our country. If we start teaching our children about our government while they are young, perhaps they will know more when they grow up than one student I had who wrote in a paper about “President Busch”. (He knew more about Busch than he did about Bush!)
(The comments on this page are the opinions of the writer, and not necessarily those of Branson Globe, or its staff. Want to weigh-in? Have something to say? Share it with us in your own Letter to the Editor. See submission guidelines in lower left corner of this page.)