America is a Representative Republic. We send people to Congress to represent us. Some do a good job, and some simply forget who elected them. A website called The Pulse 2016 posted an article yesterday about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that just passed Congress. The article includes a number of quotes from Arne Duncan, current Education Secretary.
Here are some of the quotes from the article:
“[I]f you look at the substance of what is there . . . embedded in the law are the values that we’ve promoted and proposed forever. The core of our agenda from Day One, that’s all in there – early childhood, high standards [i.e., Common Core], not turning a blind eye when things are bad. For the first time in our nation’s history, that’s the letter of the law.”
…We had many, many conversations behind the scenes . . . . And I said for us to support it, they’d have to shed their far, far right [i.e., constituents who support the Constitution and oppose Common Core] . . . . I honestly didn’t know if they’d have the political courage to do that. But they both said they would and they did. I give them tremendous credit for that.
…About a month before [final Senate passage of the bill], I ran into Speaker [Paul] Ryan and we just talked briefly. I asked if he was going to back this, whether he’s willing to take on the far right. I just asked him straight up. And he said, “Absolutely. We’re going to back this.” And, he did. That’s when I thought it had a real shot.
…We were intentionally quiet on the bill – they asked us specifically not to praise it – and to let it get through. And so we went into radio silence and then talked about it after the fact. . . . Our goal was to get this bill passed – intentionally silent on the many, many good aspects of the bill . . . [W]e were very strategically quiet on good stuff . . . .
…The final thing is we have every ability to implement, to regulate the law . . . it’s just a Washington typical storyline. . . . And candidly, our lawyers are much smarter than many of the folks who were working on this bill. There are some face-saving things you give up, some talking points you give up, which we always do because we’re focused on substance. And we have every ability to implement. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.
I am reminded of the words of Ben Franklin when leaving the Constitutional Convention of 1787 when asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” Ben Franklin replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
Unless more Americans begin to pay attention, we will lose it.