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What College Students (and anyone else) STILL Don't Know About America

During the recent Presidential election cycle, the sad state of just about all of America's important institutions was on display for the world to see. Our media is absolutely corrupt and out of touch with ordinary Americans, Whether they actually believe their own fake news, or they are on orders from the powers that be, they seem to be determined to perpetuate - even exaggerate -  the divisions that threaten to tear our country apart, to shut down civil discourse, and to create an environment where everyone is angry and offended about everything, all the time.

I am sorry to say that rapidly changing technology, and non-stop enhancements to my industry - social media - is largely responsible for this as well, since now every malcontent of every persuasion can whip out a smartphone and instantly and anonymously spew hate, lies, bile and more, 24/7.  It's "Offense on Demand." Moreover, the definition of "offense" and "harassment" have broadened exponentially to include just about anything with which someone might disagree.

One result of this is the rise of a generation of college students who either need smelling salts, Play-Doh and therapy dogs to deal with disappointment, or take to the streets to loot and riot and protest with only the most tenuous understanding what they are protesting.  

I supported George McGovern in 1972 because he was against the Vietnam War and in favor of abortion on demand, legalization of pot, and especially, the $1000 he promised to everyone regardless of income instead of the personal income tax exemption. I couldn't understand why Nixon won, and I was angry. McGovern's positions were actually a lot like those of Bernie Sanders, so I really do understand what Bernie's followers experienced when Bernie lost the nomination, and the Democrats lost the election.

But we didn't block traffic, or deface buildings, or accuse Nixon supporters of allegedly committing completely fake crimes against us, or of being racist, misogynist crooks and KKK supporters. Perhaps without instant goading from social media we were less inclined to do so. But, I also actually VOTED for McGovern, and in every election since. A lot of the people protesting in the streets and calling for the dismantling of the Electoral College had never even heard of the Electoral College until November 8, and didn't bother to vote anyway either because they were angry about Bernie or because the media convinced them that Hillary was going to win in a landslide anyway, so why bother?

In 2009, I wrote a post on my "Mixing Home Business and Homeschooling" blog entitled "The Civic Impact of College," in which I opined that studies showed that there was practically an inverse relationship between the level of education one has attained and the likelihood of civic involvement after graduation.  At the time, I was making the point that studies showed that homeschooled students were more likely to participate in the political process later in life, while actually understanding the system in which they were participating..

A few years after that, I updated it with new information and it became "What College Graduates Don't Know About America." While it was one of the most depressing things I ever wrote, it was my most popular post ever. This emphasized American students' ignorance of American history and our form of government

Some updated information has come to my attention that does not make me feel any better about the state of modern higher education, or any education. My heart aches for all the parents and students who will be paying student loans for the rest of their lives - for this? 

It does not appear that students are learning very basic things about our country at any stage of their education. That might have something to do with the fact that even History majors at some large universities are no longer required to take American History to graduate. But I digress.

Let's take the First Amendment.

These 45 words describe five freedoms that are critical to our way of life.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Too many big words?  Let me restate:

Congress cannot make laws establishing a national religion, but it also cannot make laws prohibiting anyone from practicing their religion, or make any laws that limit the following freedoms:

  • Freedom of Religion to practice any religion (or no religion) without fear of discrimination
  • Freedom of Speech to be politically incorrect, or to speak out against the government
  • Freedom of the Press to shine a light on corruption, or to write things people disagree with
  • Freedom of Assembly as long as it does not include violence, rioting and looting
  • Freedom to Petition the Government when they do something you don't like

After you read the results of these surveys, you won't think I am just being obnoxious. At least, I hope not.

Survey Shows 1 in 5 Americans thing the First Amendment gives us too many rights. 
Only 19% of Americans know that First Amendment Guarantees Freedom of Religion
Colleges The First Amendment is Outdated
Two New Surveys Reveal Concerning Trends for Religious Freedom in the U.S.

And these articles were from 2015!  DePaul University actually banned the use of chalk on sidewalks in the summer of 2016 after some students were "traumatized" by some pro-Trump slogans Donald Trump supporters wrote on the sidewalk. Really? Let me tell you about traumatized. I was beaten and raped in a parking lot at knifepoint. Somehow, the sight of conservative chalk drawings does not rise to the same level. But that is typical of what is going on at college campuses this year.  Boo hoo.

In March, 2016, The Atlantic published an article about the threat to free speech on campuses. Don't roll your eyes. It was entitled, "The Glaring Evidence That Free Speech is Threatened on Campus."  A months, it published another one, called "The Chilling Effects of Fear At America's Colleges " This is the cause that propelled Milo Yiannopoulos and his "Dangerous Faggot Tour" to internet stardom and made him Public Enemy Number One of college administrators across the US: that campuses - where ideas ought to be debated and dissected in a safe environment, a place where people were once encouraged to own their opinions and learn to agree to disagree - have become unsafe spaces where students who have an opposing view must be marginalized, silenced, banned, and if possible, drummed out of school.

What do you think about the First Amendment? Is the Constitution really "just a g-d piece of paper," as George W. Bush once famously said?

Have you met any American college students who fit this description?

I am particularly interested in views from NON-Americans, who are frequently more
knowledgeable about all things American than we are. One of the things I love about Crowdify is the opportunity to hear from folks all around the world!

This is a free speech zone. I welcome your respectful comments, as long as there is some
evidence you actually read some of the source material here or otherwise educated yourself on the issue. And that they don't include violence, rioting and looting.

Or racism.
Or name calling and bullying.
Or microaggressions.
Or homophobia.
Or anti-Semitism.
Or islamophobia.
Or transphobia.
Or misogyny
Or Russian Hacking

Houston, we have a problem.