Bud Dalton: Civics 1947

Bud Dalton
Special Contributor
Bud Dalton

Our Junior High School Principal A.K. Massey taught Civics. It was pretty much a straight-forward course and not complicated.

The House of Representatives created Bills and passed them over to the Senate. If the Senate liked the idea, they created their own version. Their committee consulted with the House Committee and if agreed, they created a law written in English. Lawyers would rewrite the law into legalize so it could not ever be miss-interpreted.

If, there were an issue that needed interpretation, it was referred to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court was comprised of nine lawyers and their job was to decipher the law – and translate it back into English - so the President could understand - and execute it.

We also learned about “Generalities.” Generalities, used extensively by Politicians are a declarative statement saying anything they wish without any supporting information – or truth. Believe it or not, they are even used today and some people without a healthy B.S. detector actually believe these. There are “Glittering Generalities” and negative generalities. “Glittering Generalities” are popular in campaign speeches. “My administration will give you everything – and all your problems are solved if you elect me.” It is never explained how the campaigner will do this, but it sounds great.

Also, there were those negative generalities. “Everything my opponent is, was or does is bad.”

Sometimes, negative charges became specific. “My opponent is guilty of this vile, specific crime.” This may not be true, but truth is not necessary. The opponent is now on the defensive - protesting and declaring innocence.

Of course, we learned the names of the Supreme Court Justices. I can still come up with Black, Frankfurter and Douglas. There was never a mention of who appointed them or any political affiliation. Of course, this was not necessary as their only job was to interpret the law relating to an issue and report to the President so he would know how to execute the law.

Well – and anyway – that is about what I remember from Civics 1947.

Bud Dalton, Hays, is an occasional contributor. He can be reached at buddalton26@G-mail.com.