Hello and welcome to Parent Like You Mean It, the podcast where we talk about parenting on purpose – with the intention of instilling character and values in our children that would make our grandparents proud. I’m Jefferson Drexler, and I’m the first to admit that I probably watched too much television as a child, but I wasn’t just one to stare mindlessly into the boob tube – I actually paid attention. I remember acing a high school History exam without studying a single minute simply because I could recite the Constitution’s preamble. If only I could have sung it instead of write it down. I knew how a bill became a law, and the injustice of taxation without representation. I sang about the “three ring circus” that consists of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of our government.
All thanks to Schoolhouse Rock.
Whatever happened to the great American Representative Democracy that Schoolhouse Rock sang about
In just the last couple years, we’ve seen an executive order re-write the nation’s immigration laws without the whole “I’m Just A Bill” process running through the houses of congress.
We’ve experienced a national edict mandating that all people buy health insurance, and all business owners have to offer health insurance that meets government instituted standards, regardless of whether or not they conflict with the business owner’s religious beliefs. Oh, and this new healthcare system was altered, amended, changed, updated and tweaked without Congressional approval. How is this different than what we sang against in “No More Kings”?
We’ve had new national standards replace our state’s educational guidelines, with the threat of revoked funding, without accountability, and without thorough testing procedures. Forget Schoolhouse Rock, when the federal government takes over what children are taught, we are quickly moving away from education and into indoctrination. As George Will put it, “…sooner or later, you inevitably have a national curriculum that disregards the creativity of federalism.”
And getting back to our federal three ring circus, why is it that the Judiciary – the one branch that has nothing to do with creating legislation – has changed the legal definition of marriage across nearly all 50 states without any regard of what the people of these states have voted for, what their congressmen and women have pleaded for, or how each state’s constitution reads?
I clearly remember singing:
“No one part can be
More powerful than any other is,
Each controls the other, you see,
And that’s what we call checks and balances”.
Today, it seems, the scales are as unbalanced as Michael Moore’s diet. (Okay… I’ll admit that one’s a bit below the belt… however accurate it may be)
Speaking of marriage and the courts, could someone explain to me why an individual’s religious principles regarding Social Security and Medicare can exempt him from paying FICA tax, and their spiritual stance toward war is enough to qualify him as a conscientious objector instead of being drafted, but his Biblical conviction is not sufficient to keep his bakery business open?
The most recent sweeping change to our nation’s model of freedom is the FCC’s paving of the road for the Internet to become the next federal utility. Not only did this decision not run through our representative legislature… it didn’t pass through any of the three rings in our governmental circus. It was declared by the cotton candy vendors outside the big top! And, it only took three candy peddlers to make it happen. Commissioner Ajit Pai, one of the two cotton candy vendors who stood against net neutrality said, “The Internet is not broken. There is no problem for the government to solve.” Yet, the three commissioners that were in the majority (that’s right, it only took three people to monumentally shift America’s internet access) reversed the course that has been maintained since the origin of the world wide web simply because, “President Obama told us to do so”, according to Pai.
Again, as a boy, I sang along with Schoolhouse Rock, condemning King George III when he said:
“Anything, do it my way, now,
Anything, do it my way
Don’t you get to feeling independent,
‘Cause I’m going to force you to obey”
I’m having a real hard time seeing how this FCC move is any different.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand that our nation has changed for the better throughout history and we, as a people, should constantly strive to be a greater nation. But this progress should always be guided by the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Legislative process, and the American principles of One From Many (E Pluribus Unum), In God We Trust, and Liberty. Also, throughout my lifetime, the White House, Congress and the Courts have swung from left to right several times. And, I was raised to honor the positions and institutions of our officials regardless of how I may feel about them personally. “The office of the President is greater than whomever sits in the big chair,” as my dad said. But this was all based on my faith in our governmental system and a universal set of values.
Which brings me to intentional parenting.
I don’t care which side of the aisle you sit on, nor does it matter if you agree or disagree with my assessments of the sweeping changes that have rapidly been put in place over recent years. Whether you lean to the left or to the right, these are current events that are too important for you to ignore, and too important to not discuss with your children. Now, of course, I don’t expect debates on the merits or lack thereof of Obamacare with your kindergartner, but with your fifth or sixth grader? Absolutely. If we don’t, and simply assume that they will become aware of and interested in social studies in their own time, then that time will certainly come too late. However, if we plant the seeds in their minds at an early age that, as was sung in “I’m Just A Bill”, that us folks back home can make a difference in what laws are passed in D.C., then maybe, just maybe, we might raise a generation of Americans who value our liberties, more than gallop poles.
You see, for me it boils down to this: there have been so many rapid and far-reaching changes recently, created outside the institutional and Constitutional process, that it is now increasingly difficult to maintain any hope, optimism or respect for the government officials I once rocked out to on Saturday mornings.
Sadly, I can see a day when my sons load up Schoolhouse Rock’s Greatest Hits on their heavily taxed Internet browser, hear these amazing songs and ask me with eyes filled with wonder, “What country is this that they’re singing about and can we move there?”
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