It’s times like this that I would remind my students of the St. Augustine quote, “Hope has two beautiful daughters, Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are. Courage to make things better than they are.” For 38 years I taught high school students the brilliant and inspired development of our Constitution. They were taught to become involved in civic affairs, about checks and balances, the independence of the judiciary, and the unbiased administration of law by the Justice Department. In light of what is going on in our government today, how should students be taught now?
Our Constitution has successfully guided our country through a civil war, two world wars, a great depression, two assassinations and the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. In each situation, we were led by a capable and charismatic commander in chief. But today we are led by a fearful and sycophantic GOP, including our own Congressman Greg Gianforte and Sen. Steve Daines, and a cruel and vindictive power-hungry president, who governs like a mob boss. Though they vehemently deny the role they play, the study of history reveals the current situation as the greatest challenge in our 230-year history. I try to refrain from being hyperbolic; but, regardless of the brilliance of the Constitution, if one doesn’t respect it, it means little. Never before has our leader and the Party of Lincoln had such disrespect for the rule of law.
The president was caught trying to cheat in the 2020 election and using taxpayer money to extort Ukraine to find dirty laundry on a political opponent, while an investigation revealed he accepted help from Russia to cheat in the 2016 election. He is using the attorney general and the Department of Justice to obstruct investigations by Congress, to weaponize the DOJ to attack anyone critical of him or to help anyone that has proven undying loyalty to him. He attacks law enforcement agencies, military leaders, and the press for exercising critical reporting in a democracy. He has tampered with jurors and judges from doing their sworn duties to serve the public good. He has pardoned supporters and people who have committed serious crimes. He has imprisoned and separated children from their parents while isolating them in cages. He has weakened America’s security by ignoring Russia’s continuing interference in our elections while doing Putin’s plan to destroy America and our alliances with countries that we fought and died with.
Our democracy is at a crossroads. Our beloved republic based upon the Constitution that I taught my students is in trouble. The people who we have elected to serve the country and obey the laws laid down by our Founding Fathers are destroying our democracy and the Party of Lincoln. What I would recommend to students today would be to read, pay attention, always check your sources, get involved, have hope, and vote like the future of our republic is at stake.
David R. James
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