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North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

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Notes and Quotes-July 19, 2020


Perils of Not Knowing History & Civics 101

By Tom Morrow

A year ago in discussing the need for knowledge of civics, and history I wrote: “Within the next 20 years, our nation will be in serious trouble.” Alas, that trouble is here and now.
You may recall what Abraham Lincoln said in one of his 1860 campaign speeches: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” In the coming November vote, history will record just how divided we really are. If the results are ignored, it’ll be at our peril.Tom Morrow,Notes and Quotes
The so-called “silent majority” who grew up through the middle part of the 20th century represent the last of our society who received a rounded civic education, witnessed the effects of geopolitics, and had an understanding of basic American citizenship. If they didn’t learn it in school or college, the military did a pretty good job of filling in what might have been overlooked in class. Will this sleeping giant wake up while they’re still here?
For those in today’s society under 40 years old, most have little or no basic knowledge about American history, civics, and world geography. Ask any member from this age group if they can answer simple questions immigrants must answer when they are going through their naturalization routine. You might be shocked at the answers from those who are around us and sometimes vote.
How many of the recent protestors, especially the ones destructing private property and tearing down statues, have had a few lessons in civics? If they did, they probably wouldn’t be participating in any destruction of property. Naturalized citizens may be seen protesting, but it’s doubtful they’ll be participating in the destruction of property – especially historic monuments.
Our form of government gives us the right to protest. That comes from the world’s first successful “democratic republic.”
Young citizens of today have an important task to undertake this year. Before they vote, they need to have an understanding of our Bill of Rights, and what prompted Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence. Why did we fight two World Wars – and more importantly – who won and why? How many of those protesters out on the streets are naturalized citizens? Before being sworn in as citizens, they had to pass a test answering questions about our country, government and history – basic history and civics most of our present-day high school and college students couldn’t answer.
It is shocking, the lack of civic and history education our students of the past 40 years have received. Simple things like — what’s the definition of a “republic?” How many people in today’s society know what the “Electoral College” is and what importance it played in the elections of 2000 and 2016.
Remember this: Young people of today – grandchildren — will be in charge of tomorrow’s purse strings and social justice. They will be, or already are, voting. They need to know what they’re doing and the effects ignorance has on our society.
Sadly, today’s young people don’t know what they don’t know.
TEST YOURSELF — Try to answer the below questions some of which are from the basic citizenship test given to immigrants before being naturalized U.S. citizens. Every voter should be able to answer at least half of these basic questions, but you may be surprised on the number of who knows what.

  1. Who is in charge of the executive branch?
  2. What constitutes the legislative branches?

  3. How old do citizens have to be to vote for U.S. President?

  4. If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President until the next election?

  5. Who or what is the final arbiter whether a law is constitutionally correct and/or acceptable?

  6. Who lived in North America before the Europeans arrived?

  7. What is a Constitutional amendment?

  8. Who makes federal laws?

  9. What ocean surrounds the state of Hawaii?

  10. Name one U.S. territory.

  11. Who were the Presidents during World War II?

  12. To whom was the Declaration of Independence primarily addressed?

  13. How many U.S. Senators do each state have?

  14. How many states make up our nation?

  15. How many stars are on the U.S. flag and what do they represent?

(Any of these you don’t know, do what we older folks were taught: look ‘em up!)
There was a rear-end traffic accident at a downtown intersection. The car driver who was hit jumped out of his vehicle and went back to confront the offending driver.
The first driver, who barely reached five-foot in height, angrily declared: “I’m not happy!”
“Okay, which one are you?” the second driver asked.

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Notes and Quotes-July 19, 2020