11 January 2009
Sometimes, I just feel like the black sheep of the family for my interest in politics and government. My dad is one of those that thinks the government is out to rule the world and that every voter should just vote for the non-incumbent every time to prevent the spread of nepotism and corruption. My mom's into government, but only so far as it's applicable to a clinical educational setting in her 5th grade classroom. My siblings - well, one is so far anti-voting that he actually gets angry if you ask him if he plans to vote in the presidential election, another is the most apathetic person I've ever met, and my little sister still thinks the Boston Tea Party was a cool gig for the Pilgrims and Indians to enjoy after Columbus landed at the New World (and she's 13!). Just this evening, I walk in the door from my Bible study to be asked by my mother on behalf of my brother who is studying government right now (when he's sitting right there), "Hey, what are 7 ways a person can be a citizen?" I list off the few most obvious that come to my brain, like voting, paying taxes, participating in military service, running for public office, and protesting/speaking out, then ask why she wanted to know. My brother is doing a project where he has to come up with things to represent each of the ideals of citizenship, like those things I mentioned. He has to take those objects, put them in a paper bag, and then bring them to class and explain them to his classmates. I thought this was a great idea, and let him know that I had tons of stuff he could use if he wanted to, like one of my campaign volunteer t-shirts, political literature, my jury pass from when I was called for jury duty, etc. I even volunteered to write him a short narrative about my political participation in the College Republicans and with campaigns for him to share, since it would likely be pretty unique for his show-and-tell project. You know what his response was? He didn't want to use my stuff because he didn't care that much about the project and just wanted printouts from the computer so he could throw them all away after class! How is it that no one cares about civics anymore? I mean, you can't even mention an interest in politics or government in any kind of social setting without being labeled as "one of those people." These days, as a Republican, I'm "one of THOSE, those people." It's sad that our schools are in such demonstratively poor condition that they cannot help students become interested in how this great country even works, let alone how they can impact it. I would almost want to teach high school government just for that single reason alone: to exercise MY civic duty.
Posted by Andrew Meeusen at 21:53