NEXT KCDW MEETING MAR. 23RD: Yacht Club Broiler – No host lunch – 11:30 am; Meeting – 12:30 pm. Alorie Gilberst from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense will be our speaker. NO RSVP required. Please bring canned goods for the food bank.
PRESIDENTS ARE NOT KINGS – by Jo Fox Burr
As we Democrats know well, the quality of any Democracy is dependent on the quality of its educational system. In particular, the importance of a solid grounding in Civics cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, governmental support for education in general, and Civics courses in particular, has been on a serious decline for a long time. Rachel Maddow recently reported that among other problems, Detroit schools now have only enough funds to operate through April. How can this not be a serious factor in what is happening in this very disturbing presidential election cycle?
I remember the day a door was slammed in my face while canvassing in opposition to an initiative. What caused this was my comment that we, of course, were the government. In a 1997 survey conducted by the National Constitution Center, 62% of the respondents could not name all three branches of the government. In 1999, students could graduate from an Illinois High School without ever taking a course in American government.
My particular concern is that far too many in this country do not understand the limits of what a President can and should be allowed to do. Even some Democrats complain about what Obama has not been able to do. He has been an amazingly transformative President, but he is NOT a King. There are other branches of government which can and do inhibit what he can do. While definitely frustrating, particularly now, this is generally a good thing for Democracy.
Several studies* indicate there is a strong correlation between Trump supporters and people who score high in what is called ‘authoritarianism.’ These authoritarianists, when surveyed about parenting goals, favor teaching their children respect for elders over independence, obedience over self-reliance, good behavior over being considerate, and good manners over curiosity. These individuals both fear outsiders and desire order. They look for leaders they perceive are strong enough to handle their concerns. This need is particularly activated when they feel physically threatened by such things as terrorism or destabilized by social changes, of which gay marriage is only a minor component. Authoritarianists are far more frightened by changes in the ethnic makeup of society which might affect their status. Since most Trump authoritarian supporters are white, they fear that granting legitimacy to illegal immigrants will threaten their ethnic majority status. Whether or not Trump understands this, he plays to their fears, and legitimizing these fears, permits these people to vocalize them. Twenty per-cent of Trump’s supporters now admit they think Lincoln should not have freed the slaves! No wonder he played dumb about who the heck David Duke is.
But here is the main problem - most Trump authoritarian supporters have less than a college education. Trump lures them by portraying himself as a strong leader who WILL make extraordinary things happen. His promises far exceed any President’s constitutional capabilities. With so many of these supporters having little or no Civics education, he’s able to fool them into thinking he can actually succeed with these outrageous endeavors. I don’t believe Trump can ultimately win, but win or lose, this crowd could cause some serious chaos in the future. If he wins and does not deliver, which would surely happen, I cannot imagine how they would react. If he loses they will likely turn to some other potentially more bombastic leader now that they have been unleashed. The Constitution was deliberately designed to distribute power among three separate branches of government to ensure that we do not regress to a monarchy – specifically so that no President is all powerful. I fear we will have no peace from this faction of society until someone is able to educate them, at least on this point, if nothing else.
*‘The rise of American authoritarianism’ by Amanda Taub, 3/1/16 – http://www.vox.com/2016/3/1/11127424/trump-authoritarianism
SPECIAL NOTE: A memorial celebration of Lucy Johnson’s life will be held at Country Meadows Apartments, 12169 Country Meadows Lane NW, Silverdale, WA at 1:30 on Saturday, March 19, 2016. Memorial donations may be made to the American Friends Service Committee at afsc.org.
OTHER UPCOMING DEMOCRATIC MEETINGS AND EVENTS: (*GM designates a general membership meeting)
Kitsap Co. Dem. Central Com: GM* Mar 21th (Monday); 6:30 pm Desserts; 7 pm meeting; Eagles Nest
23rd Leg. District Democrats: GM* Mar 15th (Tuesday); 6:30 pm social time; 7 pm meeting; Poulsbo Library
26th Leg. District Democrats: GM* Apr 7th (Thursday); 7-9 pm; Kitsap Rm, Givens Ctr 1026 Sidney Rd, Port Orchard
35th Leg. District Democrats: GM* May 14th (Saturday); Noon – 2 pm; Olympic College Shelton, 937 Alpine Way
2016 PRESIDENTIAL PRECINCT CAUCUSES – March 26th (Saturday); doors open at 9 am, caucuses begin at 10 am; Check Kitsap County Democratic Website at http://www.kitsapdemocrats.com/ for the location of your precinct.
“An educated, enlightened and informed population is one of the surest ways of promoting the health of a democracy.” - Nelson Mandela
DON’T FORGET, THAT IT IS NEVER TOO EARLY TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE BAKELESS BAKE SALE!!!