Civic Education – A Tangible Commodity in the 2012 Presidential Election

By Jenni White

September of 2009, I rode a veritable river through the streets of Washington, D.C. toward our nations’ capitol. I recall unmatched feelings of both awe and amazement as I watched Americans of every shape and size, color and age, stream from every side street, pouring into the ever-growing sea of bodies pressing toward the Capitol grounds. Nearly every citizen carried a hand-printed sign – cobbled together in their hotel room with anything they could find at Walgreens on Connecticut Avenue – that mirrored the frustration and purpose on their face in some inventively snarky and hilarious way.

The three ladies with whom my husband and I traveled had met only a year ago (yet we were now fast friends) at an event scheduled in Oklahoma City in response to an appeal by radio personality Glenn Beck. Beck distilled down the 28 principles upon which our Founding Fathers constructed our nation’s government to 9 principles and 12 values. He then called upon all Americans – in a non-partisan effort – to live these archetypes in our lives while educating those around us on their importance. Before the start of the OKC912 Project, as it was to be called, not one of the five of us had any personal history to include ‘marching in the street’. All of us had voted and kept up with current events and news as part of our adult lives – actions we had considered “our civic duty”. Prior to 2008, however, NONE of us had followed the legislative process well enough to know the fundamentals of how laws were made, let alone placed a phone call to tell a legislator what we thought of one.

As we stood together among the polite, well-ordered, alert throngs of grandmas and grandpas, children and parents, sisters and brothers, we five realized the awakening of the American Zombie – that American nemesis that knows nothing about the origins or actual civic duties imparted to it by its country, but sucks off its fruits as long as they hang low. We had met our concerns and frustrations in our neighbors on that broad expanse of lawn, and found they weren’t ours alone. We spoke to those around us and found shared anecdotes of losing friends and family members to the ardor of our resurgent interest in the ideals of America’s Republic. We found solace in knowing that nearly everyone we met had found the ‘bread and circuses’ policy and procedures manual for American mainstream media and were no longer succumbing to the messaging.

That day, we became vindicated. That day, we became ‘activists’. That day, we marched in the street.

We came home resolved to continue to reach out to those around us – to teach anyone who would listen about the unrivaled, unparalleled paradigm that allows Americans to live a life that can be called “American”. We came home resolved to protect that way of life by becoming even more involved in the process, for we knew if we didn’t it could be irretrievably lost.

As the Presidential elections loom large at the end of four years predicated on unbridled, ruinous debt, we continue about our work. We no longer march in the street – it’s much too time consuming a proposition and takes us away from our efforts.

Today, we research voting records. We study the backgrounds of candidates for every office from local Mayor to President. We investigate bills filed at the local and federal levels. We call out citizens to run for offices from school board to senator that are held by Democrats or Republicans who don’t or won’t uphold the ideas of the Republic. We vet candidates and then support them with our prayers, our service, our ‘friend’ lists and our often-meager dollars.

Though having found ourselves often partyless, we attend our state Republican Party precinct meetings and conventions. We run for committee chairs and volunteer to assist in crafting the constructs of the party in attempt to move control away from what we see as the entrenched, spendthrift establishment. We continue to read books, attend conferences and workshops that educate us on the Constitution, the history of our Republic and basic legislative process. Most importantly, we provide the results of our research to anyone so they can become an informed citizen and make their voice heard through phone calls and/or visits to the offices of their legislators.

Four years ago, though very few of us voted for our current president, most of us believe we ‘allowed’ his ascension to power. Since then, we have re-learned an age-old axiom, “Knowledge is power”. We intend to use that power – not to march through the streets, not to form PACS and run political ads against our rivals, not to ‘occupy’ space – but to educate an electorate.  Informed citizens cast informed votes. Informed votes will restore our Republic. We’re counting on it.

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2 Comments

Filed under Essay Dialogues, Tea Party and the Primaries

2 responses to “Civic Education – A Tangible Commodity in the 2012 Presidential Election

  1. Pingback: tea party forum at mobilizing ideas « orgtheory.net

  2. Pingback: What is the purpose of a civic league? « norviewheights

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