The following article was distributed to newspapers in the state of Arizona:
Students in the USA are required to take a civics class and are taught that they live in a democratic republic. They are taught that the people elect representatives to make laws and also elect administrative leaders sworn to uphold those laws. The people control government.
As students grow older, they eventually learn that democratic republics are imperfect. Too many politicians that get elected do not make an honest effort to faithfully represent the people. Rather, they pursue their own interests or those of special interest groups that are all too eager to support them. Thus, the system is corrupted, and history books are filled with resulting scandals. A large government bureaucracy further corrupts the system. It has become all but impossible to remove corrupt, non-elected bureaucrats from office, so a democratic republic never really works like it should in theory.
Unfortunately, some Arizona students learned the realities of a corrupted democratic republic way too early in life. When the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum bill threatened the student’s museum (the top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum) and its popular K-12 education programs in 2010, the students became involved. They called, wrote to, and emailed elected representatives. As a result, the Allen amendment to the centennial museum bill was drafted, approved, and signed into law. The amendment specifically revised state statutes to preserve the mineral museum and its K-12 education programs. The students were pleased. Their democratic republic had worked as it should.
Unfortunately, in the spring of 2011, the doors of the mineral museum were locked in front of students still arriving on school field trips. Then, in defiance of the law, unelected bureaucrats destroyed the mineral museum by removing all displays, fixtures, and furnishings. Today, three years later, the mineral museum building stands empty, a small but graphic monument to government corruption. The unelected bureaucrats who destroyed it are now making plans to dispose of the building and remaining equipment in a way that will prevent any possibility of restoring the student’s mineral museum.
Arizona students are wondering why government does not work like civics class says it does.
Note: The demise of the mineral museum was not related to funding cuts. Not one tax dollar was saved by closing the mineral museum.
Dick Zimmermann is a retired aerospace engineer, former mineral museum supporter, and author of the blog Mineral Museum Madness