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Background in America Essential for Citizenship

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Actor and political activist Richard Dreyfuss who launched a civics education initiative through the Dreyfuss Institute, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in 2011.(Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

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Tuesday, 02 May 2017 08:51 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson was recently rendered almost speechless when one of his interviews broke out in unexpected agreement.

It started out as the usual left-right argument over the double standard Democrats apply to former President Obama and President Trump. According to The Blaze.com, leftist actor Richard Dreyfuss had emailed Carlson and requested to be on his show.

Dreyfuss, star of the movies "Jaws," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," and "American Graffiti" wanted to discuss a recent ruling by a politician disguised as a judge that said Trump couldn’t withhold Justice Department funds from sanctuary cities — even though there was a law that said he could do just that.

Carlson contended that "there was no outcry from Democrats when former President Barack Obama threatened to withhold federal funds from North Carolina last year over the state’s controversial 'transgender bathroom law.'" Yet when Trump threatened to take the same action as Obama did, Democrats now claimed it was unconstitutional.

Dreyfuss didn’t discuss the law that was on the books; instead his argument was "constitutionally speaking, [the president and the executive branch] don’t have the right to withhold funds from states. That job belongs to Congress."

Naturally Dreyfuss didn’t convince Carlson and Carlson also failed to change Dreyfuss’ mind. Then something extraordinary occurred. Instead of taking a parting shot at Carlson, Dreyfuss said, "I want to mention one thing. You were talking about the speakers on university campuses. And I am totally, incontrovertibly on your side about this."

Dreyfuss then categorically stated, "I think any intrusion into freedom of speech is an intrusion into freedom of speech. And when one of the presidents of one of the colleges said, 'this is a school, not a battlefield', I said, no, it is a battlefield of ideas and we must have dissonant, dissenting opinions on campuses and I think it’s political correctness taken to a nightmarish point of view."

Dreyfuss’ solution is to re-introduce into American education something that never should have left — Civics. "I am a constitutionalist who believes that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights must be central and the parties must be peripheral . . . Civics has not been taught in the American public school system since 1970. And that means everyone in Congress never studied the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as you and I might have."

I couldn’t agree more. When the voting public and too many members of Congress don’t really understand the founding documents of the nation and how the framework the Constitution established produced the United States we have today, the prospects for keeping a constitutional republic are dim.

Dreyfuss, Carlson, and I all believe it’s vital for civics to be taught to both citizens and immigrants, so both have the same reference point when thinking about our government.

When Dreyfuss finished, an amazed Carlson responded, "So I — typically I interrupt our guests and I expected to debate you, but — I agree with every single word of that and I just want to say thank you very much. I think it’s important."

It is important. The question now is will elected officials and educators agree civics education is important enough to reintroduce it into the curriculum?

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

 
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Reagan
Richard Dreyfuss, Tucker Carlson, and I all believe it’s vital for civics to be taught to citizens and immigrants. It's important. The question now is will elected officials and educators agree civics education is important enough to reintroduce it?
bill of rights, civics, constitution
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2017-51-02
Tuesday, 02 May 2017 08:51 AM
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