September 17 is Constitution Day, and it will largely go unnoticed. This is shameful and a clear example of our nation’s decline. American civic education no longer exists, and national pride continues to plummet as we witness an unprecedented assault on the Constitution. Every American should realize that the Constitution’s demise will inevitably lead to the fall of the United States.
Despite our nation’s youth, America possesses the world’s oldest codified Constitution. Unlike other constitutions, it curtails governmental power and champions the interests of We the People by explicitly safeguarding our God-given liberties. Our Constitution is much more than just a document, it embodies a way of life with the central theme that the government exists to serve the people.
As Americans, we should be concerned that a staggering 90% of my students are unable to distinguish between the American Constitution and the Russian Constitution after at least 13 years of schooling. But it’s not only my students. I suspect the results wouldn’t be much different if I ran this exercise with the general public, especially considering that nationwide only 22% of students demonstrate proficiency in civics and only 13% in American history.
Our failed education system has led to Constitutional ignorance throughout our society. This is why so many elected and appointed officials – entrusted to uphold the Constitution – have flagrantly undermined it. For example, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has declared that our Constitutional rights are not absolute as she unilaterally attempts to suspend the Second Amendment in the name of an emergency.
Furthermore, throughout the COVID pandemic, the government controlled when you could leave your home and where you could go. The government decided when, where, and how you could practice your faith. When you could work. What you were allowed to say. Who you could associate with. Livelihoods were threatened and destroyed. State legislative bodies, those elected to represent the people, were bypassed.
When New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy was asked whether the Bill of Rights was ever considered when he implemented his pandemic decrees, he responded that it was “above his pay grade,” despite the oath he took to uphold the Constitution. Decisions were made by chief executives and a handful of people considered “experts,” which is the very definition of authoritarianism. President Biden even declared that his administration’s “patience was wearing thin” with the American people when many refused to get the vaccine.
This Constitutional ignorance is the main reason why so many Americans supported, and some even encouraged, the government’s heavy-handed approach. We have been conditioned to turn to the government to “solve” every problem, and it took nearly two years before the majority of the American people would declare that they are done with the mandates. However, history has shown that when power is transferred to the government, the power rarely returns to the people.
The good news is, we can reverse this trend, starting with our education system. We have to revive a robust American civic education throughout the K-12 system that focuses on the Constitution, core American values such as freedom and equality, as well as teach students what it means to be an informed and engaged citizenry. Additionally, colleges need to prioritize critical thinking and provide an accurate portrayal of the Constitution, rather than indoctrinate the student body with the falsehood that many of our problems stem from the Constitution itself.
Second, all Americans should forcefully speak out to defend our founding document, which changed the course of human civilization, and served as the inspiration behind the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This proactive approach will ensure that the Constitution will survive for the future generation.
This Constitution Day, I encourage everyone to read this remarkable document. Parents should read it with their children and teachers should read it with their students. It is A Time for Choosing. We either reaffirm our commitment to the Constitution and preserve the idea of self-government, or we allow a minority of elites to take us down a path that more closely resembles that of communist China. I know my choice, what will you choose?
Nicholas Giordano is a political science professor at Suffolk Community College and a Leadership Institute Campus Reform Higher Education fellow.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.