The most eye-opening civics lesson I ever heard about is a story from a third grade teacher in Nashville, Tennessee.
The presidential election was heating up and some of the children showed an interest. The teacher decided the class would have an election for a class president. The students would nominate their candidates. The candidates would make a campaign speech and the class would vote.
The teacher discussed what kinds of characteristics these student candidates should have. There were many nominations and from those, Jamie and Olivia were picked to run for the top spot. The class had done a great job in their selections.
Both candidates were good kids. The teacher thought Jamie might have an advantage because he got lots of parental support while Olivia's mother had never been seen.
The day arrived when they were to make their speeches. Jamie went first. He had specific ideas about how to make the class a better place. He ended by promising to do his very best.
He sat down and Olivia came to the podium. Her speech was concise. She said, "If you will vote for me, I will give you ice cream." She sat down.
The class went wild. "Yes! Yes! We want ice cream." She surely could say more. She did not have to
A discussion followed. How did she plan to pay for the ice cream? She wasn't sure. Would her parents buy it or would the class pay for it? She didn't know. The class really didn't care. All they were thinking about was ice cream.
Jamie was forgotten. Olivia won by a landslide.
Every time Barack Obama opened his mouth he offered ice cream and fifty-two percent of the people reacted like nine year olds. They want ice cream.
The other forty-eight percent of us know we're going to have to feed the cow and clean up the mess