However, when the prerequisite of a healthy democracy seems to have gone astray, what should be done? What happens when millions of voters believe what they hear from pundits or read on social media over the trusted voices of scientists and career public servants? These are difficult problems that will undoubtedly take time to solve and must be confronted head on.
To be sure, there is no magic solution that will reverse the lack of civic literacy. But as a recent graduate from a high school that mandated civics as a course for all students, I know that there is a tangible path forward to ensure that the next generation of voters is informed, educated, and understands the basic processes of American democracy — even in a hyper-partisan era. And it begins in one place and with one subject: the classroom and civics education.
My high school teacher told all his students to embrace the “civics lifestyle.” While civics should be taught in the classroom, it should — more importantly — be embedded in everyone’s life, whether it be going to a town hall or voting in every election. With a renewal — and transformation — of civics education, we can strengthen our increasingly fragile democracy, combat the misinformation perpetuated by various actors in the political and media spheres and begin to inch closer to a government that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people.