America’s Political Divide is Growing – Here Is the Key Reason Why.

America’s Political Divide Is Not an Accident.

As Washington does battle over impeachment and our nation becomes more politically divided, one would rightly conclude that our nation is facing a political crisis. America has faced such crises before. However, the root cause of today’s partisan divide is different from what we have experienced in the past. It is also a bit more difficult to see because it does not come at us like a wolf at the door. The cause of today’s divide resembles something more akin to termites in the basement, slowly eating away at our national unity. So what is this root cause you ask? Most people may be surprised to learn it’s not just partisan bickering. It’s something more basic that should be understood in its historical context.

America’s First Political Crisis Was Resolved by Ratifying the U.S. Constitution.

There have been three moments in American history when our nation has faced what one can reasonably describe as a political crisis. The first came after the Revolutionary War when Daniel Shays, a veteran of the Battle of Bunker Hill, decided to take up arms and lead a rebellion against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Shays’ Rebellion shocked the Founders into action because they realized the Articles of Confederation gave the federal government no power to put down insurrection. In fact, George Washington was so disturbed by the rebellion that he came out of retirement and joined the Federalists to push for a new national Constitution. It was the Constitution that was ratified in 1788, along with the Bill of Rights in 1791, that became the political compromise that ended the crisis and resolved the political division of that day.

America’s Second Political Crisis Was Resolved by Recommitting to Constitutional Principles.

The American Civil War is known to have had several causes, but the primary cause was the political conflict between the northern and southern states over slavery. After the southern states attacked Fort Sumter and seceded from the Union, Lincoln was determined to put down their insurrection. He prosecuted the Civil War to preserve the Union and won. In his public statements at Gettysburg and in the aftermath of the War, Lincoln recommitted the nation to constitutional principles as the basis to “bind up the nation’s wounds.” These principles that included freedom, equality and the protection of individual rights. Once again, it was the principles embodied in the Declaration and Constitution that became the basis for political compromise. These principles eventually led to passage of the Civil War Amendments that, among other things, put an end to slavery.

America’s Current Political Crisis Is the Result of Undermining the Constitution.

America’s current political crisis is not an accident but rather one of design. That is because there are prominent political activists and politicians in our nation who get up every morning and work hard all day long to undermine our national basis for compromise: The Constitution. And who are these people? Professor Ronald Pestritto of Hillsdale College is very explicit in identifying them as the progressives.

[T]he Progressives detested the bedrock principles of American government. They detested the Declaration of Independence, which enshrines the protection of individual natural rights (like property) as the unchangeable purpose of government; and they detested the Constitution, which places permanent limits on the scope of government and is structured in a way that makes the extension of national power beyond its original purpose very difficult. ‘Progressivism’ was, for them, all about progressing, or moving beyond, the principles of our founders.” —Ronald J. Pestritto, Hillsdale College

For almost 100 years, Progressives have emphasized the collective over the individual because they believe government has the moral authority to control individual choice and redistribute private property. We see this today in the form of Leftist Democrats pushing a range of social justice policies that include free healthcare, free college tuition and the undermining of our Second Amendment rights.

Progressives Are Winning the Political Battle of Ideas, Particularly with Millennials.

There is no doubt that young people, and especially Millennials, are being influenced by progressive ideology and their advocation of socialism. In fact, a recent poll found that 70% of Millennials would consider voting for a socialist, a finding that explains why Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are fairing so well in their presidential campaigns. Of course, the logical question becomes, why would young people be so heavily influenced by progressive ideology that runs counter to traditional American values protecting individual rights and economic freedom? There is one overriding factor impacting their perceptions; the lack of a competent education in civics and economics.

Our Public Schools Are Not Preparing Young People to Be Effective Citizens.

America’s public schools are doing a terrible job of educating at least one generation of graduating high school seniors in civics and economics, the two disciplines most essential to prepare them for the responsibilities of citizenship. There are multiple studies coming from both the public and private sectors confirming this. For example, a 2012 survey by Xavier University’s Center for the Study of the American Dream gave native born Americans the same U.S. citizenship test that naturalized citizens must pass to become citizens. Xavier found that one in three native born Americans failed their civic literacy test, while 97.5 percent of naturalized citizens passed. Similarly, a 2012 study published by the U.S. Department of Education showed that 57 percent of graduating high school seniors did not have a “proficient” understanding of how our economy works.

Progressives Have Been Exploiting Civic and Economic Illiteracy for Political Gain.

What these and other studies tell us is that our public educational system has created a growing number of adults who have failed to acquire the skills necessary to critically assess the civic and economic implications of public policy. Therefore, when someone comes along and proposes something like Medicare-for-All, these same individuals may be challenged to determine whether such a proposal is constitutional and therefore legal, or economically realistic. Many Millennials also feel victimized by the impacts of the 2018 financial crisis and are struggling financially under an enormous debt burden from college student loans. Therefore, when a progressive like a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren comes along and proposes social welfare benefits like free college and universal basic income, one might reasonably conclude Millennials would be inclined to support such socialist proposals.

The Best Way to Counter Progressive Influence Is to Lobby Your Local School Boards.

As civics and economics education takes a back seat in our public schools, traditional Americans should not be disheartened. There are several things we can do to check progressive influence in our nation. Perhaps the best way is for individual citizens to speak to local school boards in order to emphasize the importance of civics and economics education. Lobbying educators to make civics and economics education mandatory will help reverse current illiteracy rates in these disciplines. If you are truly concerned about the problem, you might also consider running for your local school board as well to directly influence the curriculum.

Supporting Civic Educational Institutions Can Also Counter Progressive Influence.

You might also consider providing financial support to a civic educational institution that delivers basic training in civics and economics to the general public. Two of the best educators in this field are Hillsdale College and Prager University. Hillsdale provides free lecture and training content on civics and economics, including their outstanding “Constitution 101” video course that is available for free online. Likewise, Prager University produces topics videos that are free to subscribers via social media that directly challenge the mythical nature of progressive policies.

America Must Recommit to Constitutional Principles to Overcome Its Political Divide.

We know from careful comparison that the progressive vision for the American Dream is diametrically opposed to the vision proposed by America’s Founders. That’s because progressives reject the Constitution and advocate for the collective at the expense of individual rights. We see this continually in their efforts to undermine judiciary by advocating for a living Constitution, and their disrespect for economic freedom and private property rights. Protecting the Founder’s vision of individual rights and economic freedom will require a recommitment to Constitutional principles. Remedial civic and economic education for all Americans can establish a bulwark against such progressive political influence, and in turn become the critical factor in overcoming our current political divide.

Finally, one of the best ways to obtain remedial education in civics and economics is to obtain a copy of the book Conquering the Political Divide – How the Constitution Can Heal Our Polarized Nation. This book provides the grounding we all need in basic civics and economics to help us defend our nation from progressive ideology. Order your copy today by clicking here.

Eric A. Beck
Free Nation Media LLC
Greenville, South Carolina


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