- By Bahram Maskanian
Civic education is the cultivation of the virtues, knowledge, and the necessary skill set for encouraging social, economic and political involvement. Civic education teaches the crucial and required skills and knowledge of political awareness and participation. Civic education seeks to instill in the country’s youth the sense of compassion, connection, unity, association and understanding of the day-to-day political, social and economic undertaking of their country. Civic education is no small, or minor endeavor, but absolutely necessary for any democratic movement to take shape, mature, succeed and last.
Civic education must be a required curriculum beginning in high schools and continuing in colleges to prepare people, especially the young, to understand and carry out their roles as citizens. Civic education is the combination of: learning how to build a union, how to gain broader exposure of social contract and social responsibility; justice, compassion, love, reason, common sense, ethics, unity, peace, democratic rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of press, freedom of association, freedom of religion and how to invoke, mobilize, and galvanize the public, how to develop an informative and easy to understand reading materials; discussing grassroots organization issues and development, activism and participation for local distribution within one’s neighborhood, community and society at large.
Association, Unity and Compassion:
Citizens are mostly unaware of their immense power. Citizens individually feel cornered and powerless. Citizens do not anticipate the strength they will acquire by joining together in unity. Citizens are unaware of many great achievements made due to the principles and strength of association and unity. The power and the feeling of unity must be revealed to the public in order to be understood. The experience and the impact of association and unity on important affairs practically teaches the citizens that it is in their own best interest to help one another and stay united to face future challenges. Therefore social unity and association shall be seen as a large free civic training school, where all the members of the community come together to learn the facts about unity and association in practice.
The fracturing principles of “Divide & Conquer” strategy imposed by the ruling tyrannical regimes had negative discouraging effects on the public. Social, economic and political participation, especially in social justice activity and political action, helps to dissolve the Divide & Conquer aftermath, and contributes to the development of high desire among the public for unity and association. Public’s desire for association leads to neighbor’s participation in varied circumstances to promote the general welfare of one another and the creation of a social contract. Once the binding first step is taken by the neighborhood residents, consequently they are going to learn the wonderful feelings and the protective powers of association, unity and compassion, there would be no stopping them.