Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Naomi Wolf (!!!) Makes the Case for the 2A

Ms. Wolf, a Lefty, writes for the WaPo.

Is America still America if millions of us no longer know how democracy works? a time when our system of government is under assault from an administration that ignores traditional checks and balances, engages in illegal wiretapping and writes secret laws on torture, it means that we're facing an unprecedented crisis.

As the Founders knew, if citizens are ignorant of or complacent about the proper workings of a republic "of laws not of men," then any leader of any party -- or any tyrannical Congress or even a tyrannical majority -- can abuse the power they hold. But at this moment of threat to the system the Framers set in place, a third of young Americans don't really understand what they were up to.

According to a recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics, only 47 percent of high school seniors have mastered a minimum level of U.S. history and civics, while only 14 percent performed at or above the "proficient" level.

In recent years, the trend away from teaching democracy to young Americans has been at least partly a consequence of the trend of teaching to the standardized tests introduced by the Bush administration. Mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the tests assess chiefly math and reading comprehension. Basic civics and history have suffered. As a result, teenagers and young adults often have no clue why the United States is different from, say, Egypt or Russia; they have little idea what liberty is.

Few young Americans understand that the Second Amendment keeps their homes safe from the kind of government intrusion that other citizens suffer around the world; few realize that "due process" means that they can't be locked up in a dungeon by the state and left to languish indefinitely

Earlier this year, I helped co-found the American Freedom Campaign to call for a national democracy movement to restore the rule of law. In response, some citizens called a national strike this month on behalf of the Constitution. It was a shaky beginning -- people showed up with their flags and their petitions, but the groups were sparse and shy and out of practice. In New York's Union Square, the sound system failed to carry one new young freedom activist's reading of the Bill of Rights very far. And yet it didn't matter. "For the first time in a long time," said Barbara Martinez as the wind whipped her scarf, "I feel hopeful."

She's right, of course. The 2A does, in fact, keep American homes safe from Gummint intrusion. The Fourth Amendment is helpful, as well.

Thanks, Naomi!

HT: Of Arms and the Law

No comments: