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We need to hear a lot more like this; in this case, the word came from an editorial column by Ryan Blethen in the Seattle Times:

“The poisonous political atmosphere and the terrible economy has exposed our nation’s lack of civic understanding. Nowhere is that more apparent than in endorsement meetings with candidates for the primary. There are a lot of angry people showing up who really do not understand our system. I have been shocked by how unprepared some candidates have been and the shallowness of their answers to our questions. Couple this perverting of our forefathers’ intent with the sad state of civic knowledge and the future of the United States is bleak.”

Not least, you assume from the structure of the column, among those who most routinely invoke the Founders: “I am not going to try and extrapolate how the Founders would feel about their intent being used to prop up modern-day arguments. I can’t because I have no clue what they would think. Not as a group, and not as individuals. The world is a different place than it was in the later half of the 18th century. What might have made sense then could look very different in 2010. I will only venture to guess that their opinions would be as diverse as ours are today. When I hear the Founders’ argument, I roll my eyes and wonder how much those people really know about our nation’s history.”

Blethen’s column was basically a call for better civics education, and we need that – badly. Consider this a call for others, too, to take up the cause.

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