Open Civics Second Semester

January 15 was Martin Luther King Day, a good time to embark on any endeavor, particularly one that concerns you, as young Americans, regardless of whether you are students, workers or soldiers. In Open Civics we have already begun to examine Dr. King’s significance in regard to these three groups and have concluded that our nation has failed all of you. We call the consequences of this failure “Blowback.” We invite you to explore some of the Blowback commentaries regarding students, workers and soldiers under their respective headings on this website.

We will add to these commentaries as we relate Dunn’s Civics to current events throughout the semester, and we invite you to write down your own commentaries.

For instance, you may wish to focus on the civic consequences of our national, particularly Black, leadership’s failure to resist the tendency of our Corporate Empire to reduce our citizens to disposable objects. You might develop your own Blowback list to include material from this and this and this.

Blowback lists the kinds of issues you will have to solve as adult American citizens. We have every confidence that you are capable of addressing these civic problems that are already affecting the way you live.

We ended last semester discussing the relationship of “group wants” to American Civic life. Black group wants were in part what Dr. King was addressing in his “I Have a Dream” speech.” But, he had another dream that he articulated in a speech at Riverside Church one year before his assassination. It was the dream that America would become a moral nation and cease being the “...the greatest purveyor of violence in the world...”

The group wants of Jewish Americans will have a great deal to do with the realization of this over-arching dream of Dr. King. This is because of their identification with and love for the State of Israel. The great debate within the American Jewish community is enormously important to all Americans. For too long the existence and terms of that debate have been suppressed.

Now, because of the bravery and honesty of a handful of Jewish American writers and analysts, and the existence of a free and open Internet, the issues of Israeli-American relations are being openly discussed in ways you can understand and participate in yourselves. It is important you do so, because it is clear that my generation will leave your generation with the question: Can America ever be a nation of peace while Israel is engaged in perpetual war with the Palestinians it has dispossessed?

We will explore group wants of various kinds throughout the semester. But we must also examine two circumstances that will condition the lives and civic choices of your entire generation.

The first circumstance is the physical environment in which you will live and raise your children. We will not dwell on the argument, meaningless to your generation, of whether global warming is God-made or man-made. You know the weather is changing. Your generation will be compelled to adjust to your new, life-threatening climate. The most immediate adjustment you will have to make is to the man-made environmental hazard: Fukushima nuclear radiation.

The generations before you have failed dismally to address this threat to life on earth; indeed the news of its very existence has very often been suppressed by the media. We will discuss this in depth, since your generation will be more affected by radiation than any previous one.

Another decision of our “adult” citizens will determine your life prospects, a decision that may very well rob you of your status as sovereign citizens, a fundamental pledge of our Constitution. President Obama has negotiated a secret trade agreement that would compromise your right to make the civic decisions all previous generations of Americans have been able to make. We will soon find out whether the Congress will join Mr. Obama in turning you into second-class citizens.

In our next post, we will return to another vitally important civic issue: our treatment of our veterans, and how we have been conditioned to forget them.

Until then, you might also like to check out a new addition to the site: worker safety training.{C}