We don't for a single second have to all agree on any particular issue to be good Americans. What we do need is for everyone to be able to develop and express an opinion based on the most accurate information available. As I stated at the end of the first post in this series... an intelligent, rational debate requires the element of intelligence.
Please don't misinterpret that statement. I'm not saying that only highly intelligent people are capable of rational debate. Actually, I feel that each and every citizen has a civic obligation to participate in matters of government...whether that means being loquaciously verbal or just by casting a vote alone in a booth on election day. However you chose to participate in our democratic process, please do so from a position that is informed.
Knowledge. That's what motivated me to write this series because without a basic understanding of our shared history and without a working knowledge of the Constitution that is the foundation of what makes the United States so unique, we are left to rely on the untrustworthy sources of a profit driven media, self-promoting pundits/talking heads, or worst yet...politicians themselves...for information.
I'm not real comfortable with that prospect...are you?
Let me provide two recent examples. I was watching a clip of interviews with people right after Glenn Beck's American Revival in Orlando. It does my heart good to see people passionate about our federal government on either side of the argument, and everyone seemed charged as they left the rally (I personally know someone who was there and said it was very challenging and uplifting). The person conducting the interviews stopped one particular, enthusiastic lady and ask if she had come away better informed. Her response without hesitation was she better understood about our Founding Fathers, God's role in the development of our country, and how we were going down the wrong path with Obama, bailouts, and health care reform. I'm shaking my head in agreement and anxious to see what she says next...
The reporter ask the women if she opposed the recently past Health Care Reform bill, and again she immediately responded with emphasis, 'I absolutely do!' When ask why, 'Because it's socialized medicine, and I don't believe in socialism!' Then came the question if she was happy with her current health insurance and feared it might be changed, 'Well I'm on Medicare, and I'm sure my benefits will change because of Obamacare.'
So much for the infusion of entertainment and enlightenment on her part...
Next we have U.S. Congressman Phil Hare from Illinois who was busted cold stating when it came to Americans receiving health care, he doesn't care about the Constitution. After being pressed by several media in attendance on the statement, he then quotes the Declaration of Independence thinking he's quoting the U.S. Constitution (see YouTube clip here).
Did I mention this was a United States Congressman?
His YouTube rebuttal is weak and pathetic as he tries to explain he was quoted out of context. Apparently he's ignoring the fact the words are coming directly from his own mouth and not paraphrased by a jaded journalist. He also references his military service and commitment to 'this constitution' several times. You just can't make stuff like this up...that's what's scary.
My point truly isn't to degrade Glenn Beck, his fans, or even Congressman Hare. I just want people to realize how foolish it is to let someone else do your thinking for you. Politicians and media types, especially talk show types, are demagogues that thrive most in hostile environments. That's how they make money...and lots of it. You will never, and I mean never, get objectively presented facts from either source. Right, left, red, blue, up or down doesn't matter...each side needs the dichotomy in order to thrive.
Do your homework. Brush up a little on our Nation's history. Know at a minimum the framework of our Constitution. Get involved in the democratic process, but do so armed with knowledge. Our federal government is completely out of control, and we have nobody to blame but us...and our own apathy and ignorance.