RUSH: Here’s Jennifer in Floyd, Iowa. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush! Hey, we homeschool, and we belong to the homeschool co-op, and this fall I’m gonna be teaching a civics class at the co-op. I was just wondering, what would you tell kids who are interested in politics, who are interested in running for office one day? What can they do to prepare? Because I really believe in this group there’s gonna be some of them that are gonna run for office.
RUSH: Well, there are actually so many things. What age-group are we talking about here?
CALLER: It will be all the way from kindergarten to twelfth grade. We’re gonna break it up into two groups. So, yeah, it will be two classes.
RUSH: Okay. Now, I may want to revise some of my answer here as I think about things later today after the program. I will be thinking about this all through the weekend because I take a question like this very seriously. In no particular order, the thing I would focus on first, I would do everything — and this is something that I have just, in recent days, thought of if I were in your position. If I were in the position of taking somebody from square one who doesn’t know much of anything and getting them prepared to be an American, what would I do?
‘Cause I think it’s crucial, just like you say, and I think starting with the founding documents, you have got to start with the Declaration of Independence. You have got to explain who the people were that signed it and what happened to them. You have to explain the uniqueness. Never had it been done before in human history, this kind of a revolution to set up this kind of government. In other words, I would teach how blessedly special, blessedly unique the United States of America is, how there has never been a better system for managing the day-to-day affairs of life to maximize human potential than the United States of America.
And then I would start in ways that I think would relate to whatever age-group you’re talking about, how to get that related to them, how to get them to appreciate it. I would start with the Declaration and maybe even a little pre-Declaration history. I would start with the history of the world, and I would also make sure that although some stage of this, Jennifer, that these kids understand exactly what left-wing politics is. I would make sure they have no mistakes about what communism is, what socialism is, what liberalism is.
I would teach them how recognize it. I would want them to be able to automatically reject it rather than be seduced by it. I would want them to be able to understand immediately when they see it or see a liberal and be prepared to reject it on both an emotional and intellectual basis. Now, kindergarten, we’re way above that grade here. But when you start getting into the sixth grade, fifth grade and so forth, I’d get serious about this. It’s not too young to teach the uniqueness and how special this country is.
I would teach things like the way most people in the history of the world have been forced to live, and contrast it with life in the United States. I would honestly tackle American history. You cannot do this without focusing on American history. Not the standpoint of teaching our flaws. Not from the standpoint of teaching what was wrong. But showing how this country was established knowing these flaws and how overcoming them and triumphing over them was built in, and that’s where you get to the Constitution. But I’d do the Declaration first, and I would really explain the Preamble.
I’d spend a lot of time on, “We’re all endowed by our Creator” (i.e., God) “with certain inalienable” — and I would spend a lot of time they understood the word inalienable, “rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That is what our founders believed the natural state of every human being, the natural existence, that we were created yearning to be free and enjoy the God-given opportunity to live and that United States of America is the best place on the planet where a person can pursue that with the least obstacles and shackles in his way — and that’s what makes it unique.
The American exceptionalism. The exceptionalism is not that we’re better people; it’s that there’s no other place ever in the world where the way we do things has been tried. It’s such a great story. The history of America is a unique story, and it is so special, and it could be one of the most wonderful stories to tell if you yourself know it and if you yourself believe in it and if you yourself love it — and it doesn’t need to be an indoctrination.
You need to teach these kids with the full acceptance that they’re smart enough to get it, ’cause it isn’t that complicated. You need to prepare them for whatever objections they’re going to get. But more than anything, in addition to doing all this (or at the same time) you are teaching them to think about it themselves, to realize some things themselves. Critical thinking, rather than having everything indoctrinated or propagandized is gonna be so crucial and important for them. It sounds like a lot, and it is if you try to do all in six months or one school year.
But it’s gotta be an ongoing project from the earliest days that the kids, you think, are old enough to actually comprehend what you’re telling them. As they get older, they’re able to comprehend even more — and there are any number of ways you can relate it to events in their lives to make it real to them. But I think it’s great what you’re doing. I think it’s a golden opportunity that you have. I wish there were more people like you doing this. I know the homeschooling community, if you will, is huge, and it’s growing. They’re doing the Lord’s work, in my estimation. They really are. So does that help or is that overly complicate things?
CALLER: Oh, Rush, that is so great. You just about brought me to tears. That’s awesome. Yeah. That has helped so much. Thank you!
RUSH: Well, it’s such a special place and that there’s every reason in the world to love it, at the same time understanding that nobody and nothing is perfect. But it’s so great, so unique, so special, and there’s no other place like it where human beings can maximize and realize their dreams. There are other places where there’s freedom. There’s Great Britain. There’s parts of Europe, Australia and so forth. But there’s no place that does it all in one package.
Make sure you teach that all of this is constantly under attack, that this way of life for human beings — that this way of government — is constantly being attacked by people who oppose people being free. If I were one of your kids, that’d be the biggest question, “Why would somebody not want us to be free?” That was mine when I first heard about enemies of the United States and why they hated us. I didn’t comprehend it. “Why would anybody hate freedom? What in the world?”
That’s where you’ve gotta know liberalism, and that’s where you gotta know communism, and that’s where you have to be able to explain who these kids need to be away of, who want to take all that they are blessed to have as Americans away from them and everybody else. That’s a toughie, because it doesn’t make any sense that people would oppose freedom. It doesn’t make any sense that people would oppose prosperity. It doesn’t make any sense that people would oppose it, but they do.