Jon E. Dougherty is a Missouri-based political science major, author, writer and columnist. Follow him on Twitter.
Since the inception of WorldNetDaily as a “fiercely independent”
newssite and since WND began making such a splash with millions of
Americans, government officials, lawmakers and bureaucrats, those of us
who are fortunate enough to work for this experiment in journalistic
freedom have echoed one theme: “Americans are in danger of losing
their freedoms.” Most of our major stories, if you read between the
lines, contain an element of this tenet woven through them.
A new poll, released Tuesday by the polling firm
America — once again — bears out this fear of ours in a way that is so very easy to understand, grasp, and evaluate. If you have the guts to do so.
So, who’s to “blame” for our critical lack of understanding of the basic premises of government outlined in the U.S. Constitution? Just why is it that barely more than half of Americans would vote to ratify the same Constitution our founders ratified — admittedly, with some dissent — in 1787?
Well, we can start with the government school system. If you have kids in school — public, private or parochial, most of which use identical student textbooks — you know how little our children are taught proper American government, history and constitutional principles during the course of a 12-year primary education. If you don’t have kids in school, take my word for it — I do — and this is exactly the case. I have found myself “teaching” my kids historical information relating to our Constitution even in the tenth and eleventh grades, if you can believe that.
We can also place some blame on the corporate and establishment media. Rarely will you find an article relating the details of congressional legislation or bureaucratic rulemaking process that discusses the constitutional amendment or provision permitting such a law or rule to be implemented. Instead, the press seems more preoccupied with the 10-second sound bites of political hacks and flacks, and forgets its duty to educate readers as well as inform them. As a product of today’s “writing styles,” I too often forget myself to include such pertinent information; I’ll have to remedy that.
We can certainly put some blame on today’s politically correct entertainment industry. When most movie stars and television personalities venture into the political arena to voice an opinion or make a statement, the ideology used to make such claims is more rooted in King George’s 18th century England than 18th century constitutional America.
We can also put a hefty amount of blame on ourselves. Somewhere along the way we have forgotten that it is our duty to support and defend the Constitution and to “jealously guard” the freedoms enshrined within it. There simply is no better system of government; empowering “the people” over the empowerment of a few “elite” is the only way to guarantee “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
In short, we have failed ourselves and now nearly half of us have no idea how good we have it — or how good we’re supposed to have it — compared to any other form of government in existence now or in the past.
Because of the power of demagoguery over substance, millions of us have come to look upon Washington, D.C., as an end unto itself, accountable to no one and expectedly so. Our view of the political process is so jaded and so cynical most of us don’t even vote anymore; worse, when questioned about the proper role of government in our lives, most of us cannot even give a coherent (and correct) answer.
Scoff at this poll if you want but do so at your own peril; it is precisely this condition that has led to the collapse of the most advanced (and free) societies the world over, throughout history. This poll definitely shows that we Americans are teetering on the same precipice.
And it reinforces the central WND theme: Americans definitely are in danger of losing their freedoms — forever, if we’re not careful.
Our children don’t deserve to be harmed by our carelessness and cavalier attitude towards doing our duty.