Declaration 2.0, an Independence Day civics exercise for students of all ages
The title makes for a great eighth grade civics essay. Parents who advocate education and learning over the summer may consider having their kids do a little research and write such an essay.
We home school our kid over the summer for a variety of reasons. One is to cover the gaps that the public school system leaves with their faulty curriculum. With common core and the international baccalaureate programs invading public education, thereby taking the public’s say out of education, more parents may wish to consider doing this. Schools no longer teach history. Lessons in passive-aggressive behavior as a means to counter bullying and lessons in divisive collectivism permeate that subject these days rather than lessons in culture, history, or anything remotely related to sociology. In many schools, convoluted tricks called “strategies” designed for passing standardized tests replaced actually learning the information and methods behind mathematics. English Language Arts (ELA) no longer teach comprehension (or grammar for that matter). Instead, they teach how to treasure hunt for a multiple-choice answer, then forget the passage and move onto the next standardized test question. Even so-called “critical thinking” questions are multiple choice, indicating they do not want real critical or analytical thought. They want robots who will think like the test writers. Sorry Ms. Test developer, but anybody who has read about Bloom’s Taxonomy knows you cannot adequately test reading comprehension or critical/analytical thinking with a multiple-guess test. It requires essay exams.
If you were a victim of common core, CSCOPE, or its predecessors, you may want to take a crack at writing the essay yourself. It is simple. Read the original Declaration of Independence. Leave that sacred document in tact. The idea is to amend it, not scrap it. Start the second part with a new preamble directed at the three branches of our current government and the bloated bureaucracy. Keep John Locke and Montesquieu’s philosophical basis for Jefferson’s original preamble in mind, as they are the basis for our way of life. Mirror them in your letter to the legislators, justices, and executives whom you feel have lost the way and done you, your family, and your country wrong. Then skip down to that list of grievances in the original.
In 2.0, you write the offenses our current government has repeated. Next, add your own new grievances. Another note is that we have no intention of actually overthrowing our system of government or the US Constitution. Before doing so, we have to win an ideological, non-violent insurrection with words, videos, music, and votes as our weapons. After accomplishing that, we may find there is no need for a new Constitution, just a couple of amendments (probably repealing a couple of the older ones) added for clarity.
As in those days, no two people will have the same list of grievances. In a class setting, you’d compile a list of all of them, keeping the more common ones and voting on the rest. People can complain about anything and everything. The list has to be an honest list containing offenses and problems that can actually be fixed. For example, blaming the federal government for global warming or the weather is futile. However, blaming it for taxing productivity in a “progressive” manner that serves as a deterrent to success is something we can do something about.
Some examples come straight from grievances many have over Obamacare.
- Some in the legislature did, without properly representing their constituents, violate the US Constitution and their responsibilities to our citizenry in overstepping their authority as limited by Article 1 of the US Constitution. They passed into law a bill they did not fully comprehend before publishing that bill so constituents had opportunity to fully read and comprehend it. In passing that bill, they, without a proper amendment to the US Constitution, abdicated their own duties and jurisdictions to the executive branch and its bureaucracy.
- The executive branch did create appointed positions within a bureaucracy and granted them powers reserved to the elected legislative bodies by the US Constitution thereby enacting laws, taxes, and fines without the due consent of the governed.
- The executive branch did enact policies within the bureaucracies of the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense that violate posse comitatus. These policies infringed upon the individual rights of life, liberty, and property. They also were modern violations of the third amendment, effectively placing military intelligence personnel in private property to eavesdrop on private correspondence and communications. This was done not during a time of domestic conflict, therefore meeting no legitimate national defense criteria. Furthermore, such collection, without a public warrant served in open court, violates fourth amendment protections.
- Through executive policies not fully authorized by the US Constitution or the consent of the governed, the officials, both elected and appointed, within the federal government produced a complicated, arduous, and bloated taxation system which they, in turn, used as an economic weapon against members of the governed who peacefully exercised their first amendment protected rights of speech, press, assembly, and redress of grievances. Furthermore, such taxation system innately punishes those more successful in their pursuit of happiness. Such targeted and progressive systems of taxation are immoral, unethical, and counter-productive.
- The legislative and executive branches have, over the past several decades, indebted our nation through fiscal irresponsibility and a failure to enact a balanced budget. In illusory yet failed attempts to defraud the citizens, they sacrificed national defense, a responsibility the governed mandate the federal government provide as stated in the US Constitution, but failed to adequately limit or eliminate costly and non-essential programs that are beyond the scope of the limited authorities the governed allow through the US Constitution.
- The executive branch did openly display favoritism towards some citizens and punish others in the aftermath and reconstruction periods following natural disasters that warranted declarations of national emergency or disaster. Instead, they sent bureaucrats to complicate the efforts rather than providing federal assets which could have helped the people. Examples include The Monument Fire in southern Arizona in 2011 and the resulting attempts to deny the city of Tombstone of water. Another is the aftermath of October 2013 floods in Texas.
- The executive failed to execute existing laws designed to provide for the common defense in their failure to secure the Republic’s border with Mexico. This failure leads to a failure to promote the general welfare of the citizens in that it allowed diseases and parasites entry into our populated areas. Furthermore, the failure to adequately execute the previously enacted immigration and national defense acts through complacency enabled, aided, and abetted criminals and enemy combatants to infiltrate our country.
With all our nation’s troubles, there are still many, many places far worse to live. If you look at the recent deluge of illegal immigrant children that is causing a humanitarian and national security emergency, you understand they are fleeing from something worse towards hopes of opportunity for something better. As for the many freedoms and liberties we still maintain in our great republic, please celebrate them and rejoice in our nation’s birthday. Celebrate safely, mindful of the welfare (safety and health) of your neighbor. Eat, drink and be merry, for Monday, it’s back to work!