Summer Assignment Explanation is here.
Summer Assignment - James Madison
“A well instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.”
America has always been know as the “Land of Opportunity” or “The Land of Freedom,” but people rarely think about what we need to do to keep those opportunities and freedoms. We cannot remain a free people if we are ignorant of not only the issues of our country, but the issues of the world. We cannot be unaware of the events unfolding around us. You don’t have to be highly educated to know and understand what is happening, but you cannot keep your eyes and ears averted either. If we want to keep our opportunities and freedom, we have to work for it - and we have to make our government work for it too. They have a duty to keep us informed of what is happening, as we have a duty to keep ourselves informed and elect the best possible Congress and President we can. If we are willfully ignorant, we will lose our freedom. We will lose everything. Sure, in ignorance we could remain free, but only for a short while. We have to be well instructed in our government. We must understand the how’s and why’s of our Constitution, our election processes, and the daily operations of our government. If we are ignorant of these things, we cannot and will not remain as we are.
And really, it’s not just of our nation and government we need to know about. This is the 21st Century - our world is connected in so many ways, mainly the internet. This world is getting smaller by the day and it would be foolish to remain ignorant of matters in foreign countries. As connected and interdependent we are of each other now it’s actually downright idiotic. The events happening in the Middle East and Africa are causing ripples throughout the world, and they do impact us, even if we don’t know how. The total collapse of Greece and the economic crises around the world are very important to us - their economy affects our economy. In all honesty because of people’s willful ignorance of current events I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if there was total economic collapse worldwide in my lifetime. Or maybe something terrifyingly close.
What I’m trying to say is that I think Madison mean is that an ignorant people - willful or otherwise- cannot remain or be a free people because an ignorant people can easily be mislead by their leaders. However, a well instructed, well informed people, cannot and will not be easily swayed. They will want to know why. They will want to know how and what for and wonder if it is really necessary. Of course, I think what it comes down to is what you do with that instruction - with that information. With knowledge comes power, and, as Uncle Ben says in Spider-Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.” What we choose to do with that responsibility and that power - that is what decides if we remain a free people.
Of course, someday, I hope to see not only America thought of as a land of opportunity and freedom, but the entirety of Earth. We have the knowledge and power to become “a well instructed” and “permanently free people” of Earth. It won’t happen in my lifetime. I know this, and I accept it. But I have hope for the future, and the hope is what will keep me striving to be informed and to take action. I will not sit by idly. I will be the change I want to see in my home - my planet.