Thomas Jefferson warned that “An educated citizenry is vital to our survival as a free people” in the 18th century. President Washington called for an “alert and knowledgeable citizenry” in his Farewell Address. Necessary for Democracy to succeed in the 21st Century is an educated and participating citizenry. These ideas are most important in the 21st century. The “Information Age” presents us with the challenge of discerning the truth among many sources of information.
Although the educational level of the United States citizenry has increased, its knowledge of liberal arts has not. Liberal Arts is the study of humanities which includes political science, history and ethics. American education experienced an important shift in its curriculum in the 20th century. The Soviet Union launched Sputnik, an unmanned space craft, and soon after launched a manned capsule. The Soviet Union was winning the space race. Shocked, in response the United States improved its science curriculum all the way from kindergarten to institutions of higher learning. This increased class-time spent on studying sciences and decreased time spent on civics, history and ethics. Students in higher education needed to declare their major early in their program. Concentrating in sciences gave them fewer options for humanities.
I am a retired history teacher who has lived through two-thirds of the 20th century and 17 years of the 21st. Toward the end of my teaching career critical thinking and analysis was stressed in teaching history. With this in mind, I could not help but be inspired by the recent activism of the Parkland students and the millions of young people who marched all over the world for issues in which they believe. Whether a person shares their beliefs or not we have to appreciate their understanding of their Democratic right to assemble and protest in a peaceful manner. Kudos to their teachers who have taught them well. These young people have used the communication tools of their generation in an attempt to bring about change.
In the 18th century Jefferson and Hamilton, the political leaders of our original two party system, used pamphlets and newspaper articles to get their ideas in front of other people. Communication equals transportation and today we have cell phones and the internet to carry information instead of horses. The Parkland students’ protest went global. Along with marching they are registering new voters.
My desire to participate and educate is still strong. I also a hunger to be relevant in the 21st century. Knowledge is power. Education is a lifelong process. Concerns about the present political climate motivated us to participate by writing a series of blogs that analyze our political system as it is operated under THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
The “Center Will Hold” is our name. The idiom “the truth is in the middle” is based on Aristotle’s philosophy “the golden middle way is the desirable middle between two”. Facts are the basis of truth. Opinion is personal interpretation of facts. Alternative reality is a misnomer. There is just reality. Future articles will present political and historical facts followed by analysis and opinion.
Authors: An octogenarian born at the height of The Great Depression.
Education: BA in History and lifelong experience.
A Generation X niece who votes.
Education: BA in Political Science and a bit of experience.
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