Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, September 16, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 16, 2017 


Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Kevin Barry


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Merri Jill Finstrom

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Renee Quenell

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten


Donald Trump famously declared, “I love the poorly educated!” 
and we know why. An electorate that’s ignorant about the basics of 
democracy is ideal grist for an authoritarian.

 I was reminded of that this week when I read the latest civics survey 
conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. The stats speak 
for themselves. Only 26 percent of Americans can name all three 
branches of government (executive, legislative, judicial), and 33 percent can’t name any 
branch of government. Only 14 percent know that freedom of the press is guaranteed by 
the First Amendment, while 37 percent can’t name any of the rights guaranteed by the First 

 This lamentable obliviousness has been tracked for years. In a 2010 survey, roughly 33 
percent couldn’t even name the correct century of the American Revolution, and more 
people could identify Michael Jackson as the composer of “Billie Jean” than could identify 
the Bill of Rights as a list of constitutional amendments. In a 2015 survey, roughly half of 
college students at 55 top-ranked institutions didn’t know how long a senator serves (six 
years) or a congressman (two).

 There’s no empirical proof that Trump’s narrow path to victory was plowed by the poorly 
educated. After all, Barack Obama won twice with the same electorate. But someone with 
authoritarian instincts, once entrenched in power, is perfectly positioned to exploit civic 
ignorance. It’s easy to trample on democratic norms when so few Americans recognize and 
value the democratic norms.

 It’s easy for Trump to attack the integrity of judges when millions can’t even identify the 
judiciary as an independent branch of government. It’s easy for Trump to attack journalists 
as “enemies of the people” when millions are clueless about First Amendment press freedom. 
It’s easy for Trump to trample our history - he says that Andrew Jackson “was really angry 
that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War” (Jackson died 16 years before 
the Civil War) - when millions of Americans, according to the 2010 survey, couldn’t even say 
whether Revolution preceded or followed the Civil War.

 And it’s easy for Trump to attack immigrants when, according to the Annenberg Survey, 
53 percent of Americans don’t know that even illegal immigrants have some constitutional 
rights. Due process, under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, has been 
guaranteed since the Supreme Court said so 131 years ago.

 Where does this ignorance originate? Two prominent educators, Richard Kahlenberg 
and Clifford Janey, recently nailed the biggest reason: “Public schools are failing at what 
the nation’s founders saw as education’s most basic purpose - preparing young people to 
be reflective citizens who would value liberty and democracy and resist the appeals of 

 Basically, the public schools don’t teach civics anymore. Back in my day, at the risk of 
sounding ancient, we had “social studies,” which compelled us to know the three government 
branches, the basics of voting, and the democratic values embedded in the Constitution 
(plus, the correct century of the Revolution). We were even tasked with learning and naming 
all nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court.

 But as Kahlanberg and Janey point out:

 “The explicit civics curriculum has been downplayed in recent years. With the rise of 
economic globalization, educators have emphasized the importance of serving the needs of 
the private marketplace rather than of preparing citizens for American democracy. On one 
level, this approach made some sense. As the country celebrated two centuries of continuous 
democratic rule, the paramount threat seemed to be economic competition from abroad, not 
threats to democracy at home.

 “So the bipartisan education manta has been that education should prepare students to 
be ‘college-and-career ready,’ with no mention of becoming thoughtful democratic citizens. 
In a telling sign, in 2013, the governing board of the National Assessment for Educational 
Progress dropped fourth- and 12th-grade civics and American history as a tested subject in 
order to save money.”

 They argue that “rigorous courses in history, literature, and civics would cultivate 
knowledge of democratic practices and a belief in democratic values.” True enough. But even 
if school curricula were miraculously overhauled, we’re still left with the grim reality that 
several generations have already been lost. And we’re left with an electorate (or a huge slice 
thereof) that’s potential putty in the hands of a demagogue who knows as little as they do 
about constitutional norms.

 As James Madison, the father of the Constitution, wrote in 1822, “A popular Government 
without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a 
Tragedy, or perhaps both.”

 Both indeed.


Copyright 2017 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Dick Polman is the national political columnist at NewsWorks/WHYY in Philadelphia 
( and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania. Email 
him at

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There’s a line in Hillary Clinton’s new memoir of the 2016 campaign that 
may be among the most searingly honest utterances of her long career in 
public service: 

 “I have come to terms with the fact that a lot of people — millions and 
millions of people — decided they just didn’t like me,” Clinton writes in 
the unimaginatively titled -- if perfectly appropriate -- “What Happened.”

 “Imagine what that feels like,” she concluded.


 That is tough to imagine. It’s a big enough hit to the ego if you’ve been left off the invite list for 
your office’s outing to Panera.

 Now imagine that not only does the entire country not want to go to lunch with you, they also 
prefer the loudmouthed boor who keeps inappropriately touching your leg under the table.

 That’s bound to leave a mark.

 Those bruised feelings are on display across the pages of Clinton’s memoir, as she heaps blame 
on former FBI Director James Comey; “the Russian intelligence apparatus;” opponents Bernie 
Sanders and Jill Stein, and even, as MSNBC notes, the dark prince of Wikileaks, Julian Assange. 

 Sanders, for instance, “didn’t get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House, 
he got in to disrupt the Democratic Party,” Clinton wrote, adding later, “ ... I am proud to be a 
Democrat and I wish Bernie were, too.”

 The Green Party’s Stein, who played the same spoiler role as Ralph Nader did in President Bill 
Clinton’s 1996 win over Bob Dole “wouldn’t be worth mentioning,” were it not for the fact that she 
prompted voter defections in such key states as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

 Now-President Donald Trump narrowly won all three states - and with them -- the White 

 Clinton is withering in her criticism of Trump, calling him the “the perfect Trojan horse” for 
Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.

 Her description of Trump’s notorious looming in the background during the second presidential 
debate will surely resonate with any woman who’s ever felt herself the object of unwanted male 

 “It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, 
‘Well, what would you do?’” she wrote. “Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he 
weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye and say loudly and 
clearly, ‘Back up, you creep. Get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t 
intimidate me, so back up.’”

 As I’ve noted before, it takes Herculean self-confidence, rapacious ambition, bottomless vanity 
and not a little bit of self-delusion to convince yourself that you are equal to the task of governing 
the world’s greatest democracy.

 Clinton had all that during the perplexingly joyless trudge across the country that ended last 
November with her winning the battle (the popular vote), but not the war (the Electoral College). 

 But the one thing she seemingly never had was a convincing narrative for why she, above all 
others, deserved the Oval Office.

 That her campaign went through more resets than a failing iPhone was testimony to that fact.

 Elsewhere, Clinton muses on why she was so disliked by a certain portion of the electorate: 
“What makes me such a lightning rod for fury? I’m really asking. I’m at a loss.”

 She correctly (and sadly) concludes, “I think it’s partly because I’m a woman.”

 In the end, many voters -- myself included -- channeled our instinct for self-preservation and 
went the “Not Trump” route, opting for Clinton’s stolid predictability and marked professionalism 
to the darkly nationalist rage and narcissistic instability that fired the Republican nominee’s 

 Unlike Trump, who seems to possess no capacity for introspection, Clinton at least has the 
presence of mind to recognize, ultimately, that her failure was her finally her own.

 “I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of 
them,” she wrote. “In my more introspective moments, I do recognize that my campaign in 2016 
lacked the sense of urgency and passion that I remember from [Bill Clinton’s first campaign in 

She also writes:

 “I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all 
of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want—but I was the 

 It would have been nice to have seen more of this Hillary Clinton in 2016.

 With Donald Trump’s Washington hamhandedly lurching from crisis to crisis, one wonders 
how things might have turned out differently.


 © Copyright 2017 John L. Micek, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

 An award-winning political journalist, Micek is the Opinion Editor and Political Columnist for 
PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Readers may follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek 
and email him at


 National Football League TV ratings down 13 percent in Week 

 “NFL ratings in free fall.”

 Those headlines don’t surprise me one bit.

 But the NFL’s rapidly declining popularity has nothing to do 
with televising too many games a week, too many commercials, too much violence or 
too many mediocre teams.

 It has everything to do with politics – liberal politics.

 I’m a very political guy, in case you hadn’t noticed.

 But like most normal sports fans, I watch football on TV to relax, to enjoy myself. 

 I love nothing better than to sit back on Saturday mornings and watch college teams 
play all day.

 Colleges still let you enjoy the game, but NFL games have become unwatchable.

 On Sunday, Monday and Thursday the first thing you see when you tune in to a pro 
game are players taking a knee during the “National Anthem” because of some political 

 I don’t give a damn what the quarterback, the head coach or the owner of the team 
thinks or tweets about politics, the president or the Steven King movie “It.”

 All I care is, “Are you going to win or lose? Can you pass, catch the ball or coach? Will 
the game be a good one?”

 You wonder why so many people are so angry about politics these days?

 It’s because they can’t get away from it – not even for three hours on a Sunday afternoon 
for a dumb football game.

 I watch sports to take a break and to get as far away as I can from the 24/7 political 
news cycle that dominates our daily lives.

 But the NFL and ESPN – which is laying off people because its ratings also are 
plummeting -- have made it impossible to take a respite from politics.

 ESPN on-air staffers like Jemele Hill think it’s OK to go on a rant accusing President 
Trump of being a white supremacist.

 ESPN’s liberal bosses should have canned her the way they canned conservative Curt 
Schilling a few years ago for saying politically incorrect things like Islamist extremists 
were like Nazis.

 But they’ve accepted Hill’s apology and, despite her previous political rantings, still 
employ her.

 ESPN’s owners are especially stupid to allow Hill to keep her job, since her attack on 
Trump offended millions of their viewers in Flyover Country who voted for him.

 If it keeps practicing this kind of political bias, ESPN is liable to find itself being 
challenged by the FSN – the Fox Sports Network.

 But I wouldn’t like it any better if I turned on “Monday Night Football” and heard Al 
Michaels and his sidekick Steve Bannon railing about crybaby Hillary Clinton and how 
awful her new book of excuses is.

 If I want politics, I can watch “Hannity,” listen to Rush or tune in to one of the liberal 
Trump-bashing Sunday shows like “Meet the Press.”

 The NFL should keep political posturing or messaging of every kind out of its games.

 It’s up to team owners to pull up their jock straps and put an end to pre-game kneel-
downs and protests before it gets out of control.

 The owners need to tell their protesting stars and scrubs that, yes, you have a First 
Amendment right to kneel or sit during the “Anthem” if you want. 

But they should add that if a player wants to make a political statement on game day, as 
owners they also have the right to make them sit out the rest of the season.


 Copyright ©2017 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, 
a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). 
He is the founder of the email service and president of The Reagan Legacy 
Foundation. Visit his websites at and Send 
comments to Follow @reaganworld on Twitter. 

 Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For info 
on using columns contact Sales at

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