THE ELECTION & EDUCATION

Along with a majority of American voters, I respect the office of the Presidency, but I did not vote for the person who currently occupies it. It would be much the same with a less than fair and honorable judge; I would respect the legal process and the role of the court, but I might not respect the man who's currently wearing the robes. We can do that. We can do it not only as Americans, but as human beings. We can have any feelings and opinions whatsoever- it is only our behavior we are accountable for. We learn this in the process of becoming educated, especially about history. In studying history, we learn of numerous examples of governments and societies that attempted to regulate what people feel and think. Again, in the process of becoming educated, we learn that all of these governments and societies ultimately failed. Education also provides many lessons of what happens when racism is not only tolerated but institutionalized. We learn that things have historically never ended well for the racists. Education also teaches us that fundamentalism in any belief system, religious, political, or otherwise, is a form of extremism, and that once again, things have historically never ended well for extremists.

So, the common denominator with all of these dynamics, and so many more, is education.  The most educated among us have always been in the forefront of advocating for things like tolerance and respect in our treatment of people who are, in whatever ways, different from us, moderation in our political views, and generally for peace in the pursuit of our national and international goals.

It is therefore perfectly logical that the majority, although certainly not all, of the people who voted for our current president are not college-educated. It is also logical that the same can be said for people who watch and believe Fox News. The real problem is that when a political party has been placed in power via largely uneducated voters, that party would have little incentive to advocate or provide support for higher education. We then would eventually become a society of relatively uneducated voters, unaware of how things like racism, sexism, religious intolerance, and political extremism have historically failed. It is certainly not sad that these unfortunate dynamics always disappear in time- it is tragic that this usually takes place only after a series of bloody confrontations, at home and abroad.

In other words, history teaches us that while the racists and bigots and extremists always lose, they don't go out without a fight.

I have a very good friend who I will call Stacey. I once asked Stacey to try to explain why the majority of college-educated voters always vote more progressive and liberal than their less-educated peers. She thought for a moment, then said: "Because college brainwashes them." I must admit I was momentarily flustered. After some time, I grasped what she was really saying: Knowledge is bad.

I pray that someday, somehow, before it is too late for us as a society, Stacey learns that lack of knowledge is far, far worse.

Until then, please take good care of yourself.

Thanks.

Peter Sklar