A few weeks ago I attended the Fiscal Wake-up Call initiated by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation where former Comptroller General David M. Walker reminded us of what he considered the number one threat facing our country: our ever increasing debt. It chalks up at over $180,000 per person, 56 billion as of September of 2008. It was cosponsored by University of Denver.
I agree with Walker. And I hope you will double check the website: www.pgpf.org to get the rest of the story.
But I think there is something even worse about which we should be worried when it comes to the future of our democracy. The biggest threat to our way of life is the tremendous lack of ignorance in young and old in our country as to the concepts in our constitution and form of government.
My most recent wake-up call happened on my recent visit to Skinner Middle School to listen to students present their ideas about constitution principles after a period of study. On of my fellow listeners asked a panel of students if the constitution allowed for someone to hold an opinion which might upset someone else's feelings. A student responded that the constitution did not allow people to have opinions which might hurt another's feelings. I tried to tell the students that the constitution does not prohibit unpopular opinions even those that might hurt another's feelings. I tried to remind them that the first amendment protects unpopular opinions.
I am not sure I got through in a few minutes of discussion at 8am on a cold day.
But despite the budget, I think ignorance of the constitution and other current affairs is the greatest threat to our country. We cannot give up and we have to keep fighting and arguing, with civility of course, that people have to wake up as to what our form of government is and what rights in our Bill of Rights protect us even when we hold unpopular opinions.