Friday, October 28, 2016

The Balance of Liberty and Responsibility

My first Christmas-gift art book, was the works of Norman Rockwell, and I couldn't have been older than twelve. So when the Norman Rockwell exhibit came to the MOA, I attended twice. The second visit was in the company of forty high school seniors.

Our curriculum covers 20th century American history and current events: Norman Rockwell was icing on the cake. Every Saturday Evening Post cover he'd ever drawn allowed us to walk through the history of America. It was a choice experience--twice. I wish it had been thrice.

As of October 28 2016, the general consensus among Americans, the media, and myself is that this election couldn't end soon enough. I hear it in the complaints of friends, interviews on the radio, from the candidates themselves. I begin teaching about the election, about voting rights, on November 1.

As previously mentioned, I was most concerned about this. Since gathering historical election material, since asking for outside help, since refining my thoughts~~It's going to be just fine. I've asked two respected and knowledgeable attorneys to speak to the class on two different occasions, on two different subjects. The first guest will share his knowledge about the Supreme Court. The second attorney, a dear friend, will share her expertise on election law. A sneak preview of her visit:

"Yes, I would love to come. I speak to the State Bar next week, so what days are open?"

"You know I'm an independent and do not align with any party."

"Americans have known both of these candidates for decades--known who they are, their histories, and have allowed them to rise to the two presidential candidates."

"We allow such a small minority to elect our president ( What was it?--only 9 % of the population voted in the primaries?) and hopefully these students can see this and realize how it needs to change."

We've also invited a woman who knows the grandson of Viktor Frankl who is on a quest to erect a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast to balance the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast. Liberty can be detrimental without responsibility.

As I strive to fulfill my responsibility to students, I have searched for the right material to teach about the elections in 2016. What I have found to my chagrin and relief, is this is not the first election to cause severe consternation. In the above Norman Rockwell painting, the year is 1944 and this everyday man who represents American voters then and now, is candidate-confused until the very moment he steps into a voting booth. The contest for president was between the ailing Theodore Roosevelt who'd already served three terms, and the Republican governor of New York, Thomas Dewey.

So the struggle continues...thank goodness it's almost over...

Until the next election...unless something changes...for the better...we have the liberty and the consciousness for responsibility to do so.