Ken Hurley: Put civics back into the schools
Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 2:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 2:59 p.m.
Representative democracy works best with informed, engaged participation. We are the government and the government is us. That is, “We the People” means you and me.
The complexity of our lives suggests having a solid understanding of our government is essential for the government to work effectively. We should stop thinking “government” is something that is done to us; that the government is some distant entity over which we can exercise little to no influence.
Government regulates so many of our daily actions; from the air we breathe to the food we eat, to the water we drink, to safety in the work place, to management of disasters and diseases, to which wars we will engage. Therefore, we should endeavor to understand the process by which our government functions and learn to enjoy being part of the process that affects each of our lives daily.
Political life is the medium in which we live. In simple terms our government can be described as the people and groups within a society with the authority to make, carry out and enforce laws, and manage disputes about them.
Consider what life might be like without government. It’s quite probable that life without government would be extraordinarily dangerous and unbearably miserable. Vigilantism might be the order of the day. The physically strongest, the biggest and loudest mouths may always prevail. There would be no checks and balances of power. Unchecked discrimination would be rampant. We couldn’t feel comfortable about the food we eat or who may come knocking
in the night.
Government, when directed toward worthy purposes and conducted effectively in accord with basic principles of justice, can be a powerful force for the protection of the rights of individuals and the promotion of the general welfare of people. An understanding of the necessity of government and its usefulness in promoting agreed upon goals that benefit the individual and society is essential for the development of informed, competent and responsible citizens.
For the above reasons and more it is time for Florida’s schools to resume effective teaching of civic education and time for we, the people, to support HB105 known as the “Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Civics Education Act” sponsored by Rep. Charles McBurney, Rep. Janet Adkins, Rep. Ronald Renuart and others.