by Jeanne Allen, Founder & President Emeritus
As the American people are digesting the results of the 2016 New Hampshire primary, and the news media are acting like the contest for president is over, a reminder of how Democracy in America works in is order.
Over 150 years ago, de Tocqueville called the four-year cycle of presidential elections a “revolution… in the name of the law,” writing:
“Long before the appointed day arrives, the election becomes the greatest, and one might say the only, affair occupying men’s minds… As the election draws near, intrigues grow more active and agitation is more lively and widespread. The citizens divide up into several camps… The whole nation gets into a feverish state…”
Wait, you mean that this isn’t the first year people wanted to send a message? The reality is that – thankfully, for the cause of education – the New Hampshire primary is just the beginning. Democracy matters, and for the media and the pundits to begin to declare winners and losers long before November is an assault on what we stand for: knowledge and the cause of opportunity for all Americans.
Those of us engaged in education know that knowledge matters. In the spirit of knowledge (as well as improving the institutions that help many arrive at such knowledge, namely schools), here are a few American government basics for the voters (and a candidate or two?) of what this Democracy in America that de Tocqueville reported is all about:
1. Many people feel disenfranchised, lacking basic education, work, housing and support. “If ever freedom is lost in America,” de Tocqueville cautioned, “that will be due to the … majority driving minorities to desperation…” But our common sense, he predicted, would most