The United States has a problem. The People are stupid. Not everyone is stupid. And some are stupider than others. But when Donald Trump can get elected president, that’s a serious, if not fatal, stupid problem.
The nut of this problem is education.
Millions and millions and millions of americans receive an inadequate education. They lack even a basic understanding of our nation’s history. They have no ability to detect obvious bullshit. They lack critical thinking skills.
I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. I think I got a pretty good education. But I didn’t learn about this country’s real history until I went to college. While I think I have an instinctual bullshit detector, I didn’t learn critical thinking skills until college.
Since millions and millions of people never go to college, they never learn critical thinking skills. Some people will have innate ability to think critically, but for many of us, we need to learn how to do it. Critical thinking is a teachable skill.
One way to solve this problem is that the federal government mandate state and local school districts teach critical thinking skills and our real history in elementary school, middle school and high school.
Obviously, that’s a tough sell because Americans have an often irrational obsession with local control of schools.
But if we assume that we can’t do that, the Democratic Party should take on this responsibility of educating children about government and critical thinking. How should the party do that? I really don’t have that answer. I’m not an expert on educating children, but there are models for this sort of thing. The most obvious being religion and Sunday school. Through the state party organizations, Democrats should set up some sort of civic education program that is free to all kids. Some smart educator could figure out how to craft a curriculum that is age appropriate and compelling to different age groups. The education operation could be tied to political action by the students within the party.
This obviously is not going to solve any immediate problems, but in 20 years, Democrats could have literally millions of young voters who can think critically, know our nation’s history, vote according, run for office and engage in our democracy effectively.