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The Environment

No, not the land, sea, air, plants, and animals, rather the socio-political-moral mess that is our world.   … just making sure that we’re on the same page.  I don’t want to make a case either way left or right, Democrat or Republican, East or West, or any other “obvious” different sides.  Throughout history, little by little, one man, one group of men/women have exerted power over another.  It’s hard to believe that all of us, regardless of race, religion, values, morals, or accrued wealth, have common ancestors.  The further we have gotten from our roots, the less connection we have with basic civic and moral principles.  Here-in is the reason that I am determined to get back to basics and have civic education begin in the home … early. 


In “the beginning” the earliest humans, be they prehistoric tribes or the family members of Adam and Eve, they had Duties, Rights, Opportunities, Privileges, and Protections as part of their group.  Prehistoric peoples had to help collect the food and maintain shelter.  They had the rights to the food and shelter they helped provide.  They had opportunities to mate and have children.  They had privileges of roaming free, learning, and exploring.  They had protections from their fellow tribe members.  Life in the Garden of Eden is an exception to the history of civics.


If you look at demographics, facts and figures, and take in only a minimum of news, you will know that the real divide in our world is best described by  Senator Charles F. Meachum (Ned Beatty) in “Shooter” (2007, Paramount Pictures.)  High on a snowy mountain, Senator Meachum informs Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg) that  “There are no sides. There's no Sunnis and Shiites. There's no Democrats and Republicans. There's only HAVES and HAVE-NOTS.”

The HAVES are very aware of this division, the HAVE NOTS not so much.  Over the centuries, the HAVES  have gained more power, wealth and influence.  Yes, it has been centuries in the making and I would suggest that in modern times the power, wealth, and influence gap has grown exponentially compared to the linear passage of time.  The wealth gap is extreme worldwide, in every country on the globe, and in most communities regardless of location, economy, and demographics.  If this makes you curious, type wealth gap in any search engine and look at articles to read and images to view.  


Visualizing the wealth gap is easily done with graphs.  The one I am showing you here is pretty meaningful.  I prepared this graph several years ago comparing the growth in number of millionaires to the poverty rate and national debt over a period of about seventy years.  One of the reasons the number of millionaires has increased is that the United States (and other countries) has a system of TRICKLE UP economics.  Our tax system is a primary reason for the growing gap and it is exacerbated by state and local systems of fines and fees.  Check out this video to see a better explanation.


Those HAVES with power, wealth, and influence have continually gained more ability to control the world of politics.  This is not just Democrats and Republicans, conservatives or liberals, one or another religious group, one race or another.  The HAVES belong to a number of different groups and the one thing they have in common is their wealth and subsequent power and influence.  Despite their comparatively small numbers, the HAVES rule politics … as defined by my friend Michael Price … politics is the process of deciding WHO gets HOW MUCH, of WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and HOW.  I’ll get into those details at another time. 


The point I want to make is that political power has been used throughout the centuries and around the world to keep the HAVE NOTS without.  We have all heard that knowledge is power.  Knowledge is dished out and limited in a number of ways such as restrictions on

what people can hear read, and see.  Peasants weren’t allowed to see the treasures and lifestyles behind the castle walls though some were employed as servants for the Royals.  North Koreans are restricted in every aspect of their lives which severely controls the knowledge that these unfortunate citizens can attain.


Throughout the centuries humans, tribes, and communities have had educational methods to pass knowledge, customs, and values on to younger generations.  Tribes and primitive cultures still use a very effective means of educating.  Theirs has been a timeless practice of oral communication and teaching and instilling knowledge, customs, and values into young minds.  This practice is exemplified in the African saying that “It takes a village to raise a child.”  Also in these cultures, the village is an extension of the family where the foundations of the culture are first learned.  More of the history, survival, providing food, and spiritual beliefs are learned at group gatherings and conversations with elders outside the family. 


As education has been formalized, it has also been controlled and segmented … I know that YOU know … and guess who is responsible!  The formula and intent are obvious, control knowledge and information and that limits abilities of those under the political thumb to learn.  If they should LEARN, they may use THEIR political power to make changes.


As I mentioned in my previous post, I think that civics education, understanding, and practice can benefit … well, everything and everybody.  I’ll start getting in to the “meat” of the subject next time. 

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