By Mohammad Mazhari

The recent divide in U.S. is due to decline of family values: professor

November 11, 2020 - 10:45

TEHRAN – An American academic attributes the recent divide in the American society to the decline of family and religious values that have taken place in the country since 1963.

In an interview with the Tehran Times, Dr. William Jeynes, a professor of education at California State University, notes that the Americans are often not as tolerant of each other as was the case in past generations. 
"A likely cause of this is the decline of the family- and Bible-based- values that have taken place in the United States since 1963," Jeynes says. "Since 1963, divorce rates skyrocketed, and the U.S. Supreme Court removed Bible-based character education out of the public schools."


The following is the text of the interview:


Q: What did make the November 3 election a controversial issue?

A: Yes, the election in 2020 is controversial. However, it does not call into question whether the U.S. can preserve its democracy. Rather, what it does highlight is two facts. First, the American electoral system was not prepared to handle so many absentee ballots that resulted from COVID-19. It is apparent that the U.S. will need to reform its absentee ballot system so that it is more uniform from state to state. Especially controversial has been the issues of whether non-postmarked ballots that arrive up to three days after election day will be counted and whether ballots in which the signature does not appear to match the one on record should be counted. Second, President Trump is no doubt very angry that Hillary Clinton previously claimed that President Trump was an "illegitimate president" who, she claims, in essence, stole the 2016 election from her.
After the 2016 election, certain media outlets claimed that Russia was a primary force that made President Trump's victory possible. Nevertheless, such an accusation requires a certain amount of proof. However, the Mueller hearings that followed never produced a sufficient amount of evidence. President Trump, after going through the emotional strain of those accusations, is now angered. He asserts that various suspicious events regarding ballot counting constitute fraud and make the 2020 election results illegitimate. Granted, there are numerous suspicious ballots counting events. However, the Trump Administration needs to present sufficient evidence that:  a) the events are systemic and not isolated individual events and b) that enough ballots were affected to have influenced the ultimate outcome of the election. That will be very difficult to achieve.

Q: Is Trump an exception in America's history? Could he gain the hearts of millions of Americans?

A: President Trump is an unusual person, who has also been through a prodigious amount of stress from the Democratic- and media-accusations that the Russians helped him get elected in 2016. That combination of being an unusual person and the accumulation of stress and anger likely caused him to claim victory in the 2020 election prematurely. He should have said that there was a plethora of irregularities in the counting of absentee ballots that must be thoroughly investigated and corrected right away before he can accept the results of the election. Although President Trump's approach is unique, reform to count absentee ballots more precisely is needed to prevent a repeat occurrence in the future.

Q: How can the U.S. bridge the recent gap, which has divided the country into two opposing poles?

A: It is very unfortunate that the Americans are often not as civil and kind to each other, as was the case in past generations. A likely cause of this is the decline of the family- and Bible-based- values that have taken place in the United States since 1963. Since 1963, divorce rates skyrocketed, and the U.S. Supreme Court removed Bible-based character education out of the public schools. Before the U.S. Supreme Court decisions, love, compassion, civility, loyalty, and respect were major moral pillars taught by teachers in the public schools. The behavior of many American adults towards each other reflects this absence of character education and family values. The only way to heal the divisions is to emphasize shared character once again- and family- values returning to American society.

"Since 1963, divorce rates skyrocketed, and the U.S. Supreme Court removed Bible-based character education out of the public schools. Before that, love, compassion, civility, loyalty, and respect were major moral pillars taught by teachers in the public schools."

 
Q: Do you agree with this view that the Supreme Court has an outsized role in elections because it has become politicized? 
 A: The U.S. Supreme Court realizes it must do all it can to remain to limit its role in this political controversy. What is interesting is that the three Trump U.S. Supreme Court appointees believe in "judicial restraint." This means that justices should avoid getting involved in these matters, except when it is absolutely necessary. Hence, unless the Trump Administration presents a great deal of evidence indicating corruption in counting absentee ballots, the U.S. Supreme Court will likely do their best not to order a "do-over" election in some states, etc. They will try to limit themselves to giving direction to what ballots arrived too late to be counted and similar issues.
 
Q: It seems that the president in the American political structure has vast authority that may tempt him to exploit the power for his own benefits. What is your comment?
 

A: Potentially that is true, but there is one quality that it is important for people to understand about Americans. Since our independence in 1776, U.S. citizens have never had a king, queen, emperor, etc. As a result, Americans have a deep distrust of one person having too much power. Built into the American system are "checks and balances" that will likely allow President Trump to "state his case," but not "get his way," unless there is widespread evidence of corruption in the counting of ballots. Either Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or the U.S. Supreme Court will likely stop him before he goes too far. Instead, I believe the ultimate result will be the recounting of ballots, an investigation, hearings about possible fraud in counting late ballots, and President Trump will allow the transition to Joseph Biden becoming the next president.

Q: Don't you think that electoral votes threaten the future of democracy in the United States? 
 

A: The Electoral College is designed to protect American democracy. It is specifically designed to protect areas of low population. Otherwise, politicians will only seek to fulfill the desires of people living in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, etc. It is much the same reason why in the United Nations, even nations with a low population such as Qatar and Liechtenstein each have one vote in the General Assembly. Some might say that the U.N. arrangement in the General Assembly is unfair, but the consensus is that this structure protects small nations. For example, one issue that is becoming a major one is that Southern California, a dry area, is draining the Colorado River beyond California's border, which is reducing the water supply in 6 other states, which have lower populations than California. Should California be able to demand its way because its population is larger than all those six states combined? Americans would say "no," that the people from other states have rights too. In so many countries, people in the main cities are very rich, but people living outside the cities are very poor. This is true in most countries around the world. The electoral college is designed to prevent this from happening. It is not a perfect system, but even the poorest families in America have 2 or 3 cars. This year, the vote count is very close between Joseph Biden and Donald Trump. Biden only has 50-51% of the vote, but his electoral advantage will probably be 55% or more. Usually, the electoral college system works well.

 
 

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