Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The United States Constitution

If you follow me on Facebook, you've probably noticed that I've posted a lot of news lately that is political in nature. I guess it's because for the first time in my life, I care. I really, really care about who our governmental leaders are. I also ordered a book that has been life-changing for me, actually. It's called The U.S. Constitution: A Very Short Introduction, by David J. Bodenhamer, a legal scholar and history professor at Indiana University. In the preface, Bodenhamer discusses how little most Americans know about the Constitution:

Citizens often do no know what the Constitution says, a problem shared by all texts deemed sacred. Surveys have consistently revealed that Americans lack basic knowledge about the nation's fundamental law and even disagree with some of its central tenets, especially when these principles are presented separately. A national poll in 2014 reported that 29 percent of respondents could not name any one of the five guarantees of the First Amendment; other recent polls found that 51 percent erroneously believed the Constitution established a Christian nation and that 22 percent believed that freedom of religion should not apply to extremist groups. In brief, Americans revere a document that many have not read and that they may not endorse in its separate provisions. (2018, xxi)

I read that paragraph, and what can I say? It pierced my soul. I realized that I hadn't read the Constitution since I was in grade school, and I had forgotten much of what it contained. So I vowed to read and study the Constitution and what's more -- to study it with my family.

So Daryl and the kids and I have been reading the Constitution. (They say they hate it, but I hope they secretly love it. Besides, I've worked out a quiz system where I give them one dollar for every five questions they answer correctly. Ha!) It's been good for all of us, I think. For example, I had forgotten that the first three words of the Constitution ("We the people") mean a lot. They mean that we are a self-governing people and that anyone can run for any office.

And here are some things that I outright didn't even know:

  • After the Vice President, the Speaker of the House is the next in line to be President.
  • There are four whole amendments devoted to suffrage. (It took a long time for everyone to have the right to vote!)

What else have I forgotten? What else don't I know? I suppose I'll find out! I implore you to find out with me. It's so important to understand the supreme law of the land, especially now!

*Take this civics quiz to find out what your knowledge gaps are: What do you know about the U.S. government?

*Thing I'm thankful for: people who are much smarter than me


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10:02 AM  

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