Civics: (n) the study of the rights and duties of citizenship.

I was a freshman. At least, I think I was.

The class was called “Civics.” I’m pretty convinced that it doesn’t exist today, or it’s absorbed into some other aspect of social studies.

It was a combination of history, government and propaganda.

History in the sense that it took the time to explain why the founding individuals decided on the choices they pursued.

Government in the sense that it broke down what was referred to as “the balance of power” among the executive, legislative and the judicial.

And propaganda because it strenuously attempted to convince us that this form of representation was the best in the world, and that the balance of power was actually balanced.

But for balance of power to work, requires balanced people. Sometimes we forget that government is just an idea until folks of integrity and single-mindedness honor it.

So referring back to my civics:

  • The legislative branch is supposed to make the laws.
  • The executive branch enforces them.
  • And the judicial branch interprets them.

Well, you might immediately see that the whole system is out of whack.

Perhaps it would be a better idea to interpret the laws before we pass them and enforce them. Otherwise we put ourselves through the agonizing strain of legalizing activities which later have to be found unconstitutional.

By the time I got out of Civics class and looked at the history of the United States–too many wars, too much indecision, too little compassion for all its citizenry–I realized that every system put together by committee is rarely suitable for the individual.

And since we are a country of individuals, trying to work in union, the greatest civics that we can institute is a pair of ears with a mind to cooperation.


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