Of Government and 2nd Graders

Wow.  I just got back from talking about “the government” to David's 2nd grade class.  What an amazing experience.  Virtually all the kids were very engaged and desperately attempting to answer my questions and get their many questions and comments answered.  Americans may be apathetic about the government, but this was certainly not the case in 2nd grade.  What happens to these kids?  Why, when 95% of these 2nd graders were desperate to say virtually anything in front of my classmates do I have classes of 18-22 year-olds where more than half the class seems literally afraid to speak?  Why when these kids seem so interested in and excited about the government do college kids (and most adults) have such apathy about government and politics?  I don't have much thought on the first question (though, it is a great sociological question).  On the second, I wonder how much the media's incredibly inane, game-obsessed, form of political coverage turns people off who might actually still be paying attention of more political coverage actually talked about stuff that matters.  In my 40 minutes today, I talked about federalism, the many policies that actually affect their (all of our) lives, and things like freedom and liberty.  If we got a little more of that and a little less what somebody spent on their haircut or the tactical implications of somebody's speech, I wonder if things would be better. 

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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