Tom Davis / January 20, 2011

This Hurts but It Is Necessary

Today, we celebrated the 83rd birthday of my wife of 64 years. Children, Grandchildren and Great grandchildren arrived with flowers, cake and beautiful cards. When I get a chance like this, I make every effort to educate them about this great country of ours.

I ask pointed, pertinent questions requiring straightforward answers. Today’s first question was, “Who is the Speaker of the House of Representatives?” Following a lengthy pause and a couple of “I don’t knows,” my daughter responded somewhat hesitatingly, “I think it’s; I can’t pronounce his name. It is like Banner or something like that.” I said, “Yes, it is John Boehner.”

Then I asked, “Who is the Majority leader of the House?‘ Not a clue!

When I said, "Eric Cantor,” the response was almost thunderous. “Never heard of him.”

Only two know who represents them in Congress. None can name the Attorney General or the Chief Justice or the Lieutenant Governor of our state of New Jersey. This is a very sad state of affairs and does not bode well for our political future. One remarked, “Well we have you so why do we need to know?”

I could have screamed, “Wake up! You are in big trouble.” Instead, I wanted to cry at their ignorance for not knowing and for their stupidity of not caring.

After all of them departed for home, I just sat and cogitated. I asked myself, “Are there answers to this apathy, this lack of knowledge and apparent lack of interest?” Then it hit me like a bucket of slop in the face; they have not matured enough. They have not been steeled in the furnace of want and desperation. They are grown infants.

When we look around and see and listen, it is obvious that our inept government is a direct result of the votes of the uneducated, uncaring and unseeing.

What is the remedy? It is apparent that voters must be better qualified. Age and citizenship are not satisfactory criteria to qualify a resident to vote. We must, somehow, educate and test those desiring to vote. A high school diploma should be, at the very least, the basic criterion before taking the test. A command of the English language should be paramount.

The foregoing lead to the obvious; English must be our national language. No more catering to foreigners in this respect or to residents too lazy to learn the language. We do not need multi-culturalism; we need Americanism with some emphasis on education in languages and our government (Civics).

Some school systems require Spanish to be a mandatory subject – why not require all students to become at least basically qualified in at least two modern and therefore practical languages? With the development of Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur and Berlitz foreign languages can be mastered in a relatively short time.

Very young children are extremely adept at learning at least one other language. It seems that language education as well as governmental education should begin with our kindergarten students. My own youngsters are almost hopelessly ignorant; it torments me to have to say that, but a problem cannot be corrected until it is first identified. Apathy is corrected only by penalizing the lazy. Ipods, cell phones and American Idol are not answers.

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