Reading Between the Lines

By: Nancy Salvato

Sunday papers don’t ask no questions
Sunday papers don’t get no lies
Sunday papers don’t raise objection
Sunday papers don’t got no eyes
- Joe Jackson

Everyone has an agenda. To truly read between the lines, a person must be able to recognize flaws in an argument, misinformation, and ideological bias. More importantly, a person must be cognizant of why some stories are buried in the midsection of the paper and why some are not included at all.

Although schools are charged with teaching critical thinking skills, many teachers do not present both sides of any issue or back up opinion with hard numbers and facts. Unfortunately, proselytizing occurs in our schools. Another travesty is that there are teachers instructing in specialty areas; such as history, without subject mastery and utilizing unsound textbooks. Graduates of these courses are more susceptible to anti-American tirades. Moral relativism, giving equal weight to all belief systems and justifying any behavior, no matter how abhorrent, further adds to confusion. Just as everyone cannot be the brightest, in charge, or the winner; not all ideas, philosophies, and behaviors are acceptable. Therefore, I divine as true the ideas and belief system which influenced the framers of our constitution. This is because I believe in everyone’s right to freedom.

Recognizing the balance between individual needs and the needs of the group, our system of government was structured so that citizens could pursue life, liberty, and happiness without impinging on the rights of others. Common sense and an adequate education allows one to recognize that the benefits of a governing body with limited power and liberty as its mission outweigh any conceived detriments.

“Constitutional Literacy” (click here), the code to understanding governmental process, is not inherited. Studying the history and philosophy leading up to our country’s system of federalism, landmark court cases, amendments, and decisions made by those in power can help the average person navigate the news, separate fact from opinion, make sense of policy decisions, and perform civic duties responsibly.

Writing on matters of public policy, so that others can participate in our system of government; helping generations of people grasp the complexity and beauty of our system of government, my agenda is to protect the U.S. Constitution and preserve the freedom of future generations. Hoping to ignite discussion, provoke thought, provide facts; my purpose has been achieved if you have read this all the way to the end.

Copyright © Nancy Salvato 2006

Nancy Salvato is the President of The Basics Project, ( a non-profit, non-partisan research and educational project whose mission is to promote the education of the American public on the basic elements of relevant political, legal and social issues important to our country. She is also a Staff Writer, for the New Media Alliance, Inc., a non-profit (501c3) coalition of writers and grass-roots media outlets, where she contributes on matters of education policy.

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