Wednesday, October 17

Getting The Constitution Back Into The Classroom

constitution in classrooms
Originally written during Florida Primary Season 2018.

Political ads. Am I right? I can't keep track of who's endorsed which candidate. And I don't care all that much. I'd like to vote for any candidate worth less than a million dollars, but I'm not sure there are any available. Even if I voted for Mickey Mouse, I'd be voting for a Florida millionaire.

In the primaries, “Captain” Ron Desantis made a couple of claims that were unclear to me. One was the claim, in photos, that he fought in Iraq. I know the words of the ad didn’t say he fought with a gun (rather than a pen), calling him an “Iraq War veteran.” While Desantis was with SEAL Team One in a hostile country and probably carried a weapon, his role was to be the Legal Advisor to the SEAL Commander. I guess I assume he had meetings telling the commander to avoid smacking the Butcher of Fallujah around if caught, but I don’t know for sure, and SEALs aren’t supposed to talk about it, so maybe, just maybe, Desantis was actively going on missions without proper SEAL training. However, I am sure Ron can at least divulge whether or not he went on any fighting missions in Iraq.

Actually, my own military service probably would have been similar to Ron’s. I was an NROTC candidate at Marquette until an arm surgery disqualified me (before I started at the school). My plan was to get four years of college and then maybe go into law as part of my eight years of Navy service. This plan did not include hanging out on subs, shooting at people, or generally being in harm’s way. Of course, as an officer (not yet a lawyer), I would have been assigned somewhere doing something, but I suppose I hoped my college degree and potential to become a lawyer might have landed me at JAG, like Ron, at some point. And I watched JAG the TV show enough to know two things: the cast members were mostly lawyers (not combatants) and Catherine Bell was the mostest half-Iranian actress on TV at the time.

Perhaps Ron was the other way around: he was stuck as a lawyer who really wanted to shoot at someone. But I kinda think he was a lawyer who wanted to serve his country and maybe, someday become a politician.

In another of Ron’s primary ads, he says, “By getting The Constitution back in the classroom...we can fight illegal immigration.” I know, the two clips were spliced together, but it seems to imply a cause and effect. However, these are really two separate issues that some Floridians might have confused into one. Getting The Constitution back in the classroom is one argument, the one I was thinking about for this article. Fighting illegal immigration is another argument, and one I’m not addressing at all. I just want to know what a Constitutional classroom might look like.

Have you read The Constitution? I have. It’s boring. Kids will think it’s boring, unless they’re really into stuff most kids aren’t into, like being bored. Generally, we rely on other people to read The Constitution for us (and that’s little parts at a time) in order to tell us what our rights should be. So let me do that for you now, and with some interpretation as to how it applies to the classroom.


Basically, this says we want to have the document in order to have good country. Nothing big here. School children live in a country with a constitution.

Article I

We will have two houses of Congress, both elected by adults who are generally not in public school. I turned 18 just after the national election my senior year of high school, and I was one of the oldest kids in my class.

Article II

We’ll have a President who will solemnly swear to uphold The Constitution. Students have a principal, teachers, and parents. Again, can’t vote until you’re 18 and can’t be Prez until you’re 35. I guess there’s a tie-in, but there’s a reason kids don’t trust anyone over 30.

Article III

Supreme Court. Check.

Article IV

All states are equal. Even West Virginia, so be mindful. If the students move to another state, our military will still protect them. Good to know.

Article V

Congress can make Amendments to The Constitution. Just like how schools can make students use a clear backpack if the school board says so.

Article VI

In case you didn’t get it from the Preamble, this is the law of the land, everyone. This article is like if we gave the students their student handbooks and then halfway in reminded them that this student handbook is, in fact, THE student handbook.

Article VII

Something about how the document is to be ratified. It’s like if the teachers all had to sign off on the new student handbook.

Article VIII

Just kidding. Now it’s all the Amendments, but those are in addition to The Constitution, and not really any more relevant to a classroom setting, so I’m not going to delve into all of them. People can vote, more people can vote, people can shoot at each other, people can’t drink booze and then they can, etc. And by people, I mean adults.

Basically, I’m really not sure when The Constitution left the classroom and how one would bring it back. Or if it’s all just some kind of attempt at indoctrination into someone’s version of The Constitution. What I mean is teachers being told to teach kids that the 2nd Amendment is something it is not. I can agree that kids in school should spend one day reading The Constitution online. They can debate the merits of some of the Amendments if their teachers want to lose their jobs to angry mobs. Besides that, I just don’t get the allure. I mean, North Korea has a Constitution, folks, so it’s not like this is some unique situation we have here. Actually, that’s the only angle I could see making sense: comparing the US Constitution to those of other countries. Then we can see what we’ve done well and maybe from whence our next Amendment should come. Maybe that Amendment will be one saying all schools need to teach the Constitution, but I somehow doubt it.

This article was originally written back when the primaries were going strong, and now (general election) there’s no real mention of The Constitution in the classroom, so I suppose it was a way to sound tough about something to a small group of people. Desantis has moved on to basically saying that Gillum is corrupt and wants to spend too much. Those are actually more valid than pushing some kind of Constitutional classroom agenda. While I don’t believe Mayor Gillum targeted nice suburbanites (who appear in ads against him) after Hurricane Hermine, I do believe he has some close acquaintances who are being investigated by the FBI. This doesn’t make him guilty of anything, but it does not appear that he was working with authorities to bring down these people. And we probably can’t afford all he wants to pay to do in our state, but that’s typical of anyone (especially a Democrat) running for office. My advice would be to read up on both candidates and then throw your hands in the air. Next time, you can vote in the primaries if you're disappointed.

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