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Letters to the Editor

Sad discovery

June 11, 2010

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To the editor:

I made an unpleasant discovery the other day. It occurred during my lunch break where I work. I had occasion to sit with some co-workers, all of whom were younger than me. As a curiosity item, I asked if any of them had read the U.S. Constitution in its entirety. To my surprise and dismay the answer was universally negative. Each of them had read some part of the Constitution but none of them had ever read the entire document.

I then asked if any of them had read the entire Declaration of Independence. Again, I got a universally negative answer. Each, again, had read parts but none had read the entire document.

Now, these individuals had varying levels of education ranging from high school graduate to college graduate. I asked if those documents were still taught in school, be it junior high, high school or college. None of them recalled ever being required to study or know much about either document at any time during their educational experience.

This was very sad news to me, but it explains many things. If, indeed, we no longer teach the founding principles and documents of this country, it should come as no surprise that we have a population who no longer values freedom and who longs for a paternalistic government guaranteeing safety and security from cradle to grave. Sadly, that way layeth tyranny, for an uneducated population is far easier to control than an educated one.

Comments

jafs 3 years, 10 months ago

Another interesting possibility about the "eye of a needle" story - according to an Aramaic scholar, the quote should read that it's easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle,... which certainly makes more sense.

Apparently the words for "rope" and "camel" are very similar in the original language, and it might just be an error in translation.

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MyName 3 years, 10 months ago

Looks like the writer of this particular LTE is a new proud owner of the Jump to Conclusions mat! http://www.flashpointdevelopment.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/jump-to-conclusions-mat.jpg

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rhd99 3 years, 10 months ago

Here is a sad realization that many have not grasped. In public education's defense, many of us here who were from pre-K through 12 educated in the public schools are smart & know the difference between right & wrong. As I have seen here, we disagree on plenty of issues across the board. Here is where the "dumbing down" takes shape. We all have seen this before. Look at them in Topeka. Because of the dumb Legislature, school budgets are getting slashed left & right, leaving children with NO opportunities to grow outside of the classroom. Classroom sizes as we all know are out of control. All this aside, it seems to me to be a bit far-fetched to say the Declaration of Independence & the Constitution are not being taught in the classroom. I hope Mr. Garner is wrong, but if he isn't, then what? How do we fix this injustice on behalf of our children?

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Bob Kraxner 3 years, 10 months ago

The fattened spacehog has been butchered... R.I.P.

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 10 months ago

"USA Government spending Education spending 5.7% GDP Miltary spending 3.2% of GDP" ======== Good point, but military is federal and most of the education spending is at the state level.

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volunteer 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree with commenters who frown upon making giant leaps to conclusions based on a lunch discussion with co-workers.

No longer teach these documents in this country? Quite a leap there, sir.

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weeslicket 3 years, 10 months ago

again, way late in on this convrsation.

question for mr. garner: since this lamentable interaction with your colleagues, have your persuaded any of your peers to read these documents? perhaps also the federalist papers, the emancipation proclamation, the gettysburgh address, democracy in america, the articles of confederation? have you persuaded your colleagues to read these vital documents??

anyone? anyone?

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 10 months ago

...and how many folks actually read all the way through their Bible...cover to cover? It can be done, there are thousands of guides out there telling you how much to read each day in order to go through your Bible in one year. In 2008 I actually did the NT twice and the OT once. Last year I didn't do so well; did all of the NT once, I got as far as the 'minor profits' in the OT, but didn't finish it. I'm trying to get back on track for this year. It takes discipline, but it is very rewarding.

Yes, I have also read out Constitution from preamble to signatures as well as the Declaration. (I'm not sure I'd call it 'rewarding' but very informative!)

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 10 months ago

Taxpayers in the United States will pay $746.8 billion for Total Defense Spending in FY2011.

For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:

115,392,460 People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR

11,313,312 Police or Sheriff's Patrol Officers for One Year OR

13,073,435 Firefighters for One Year OR

94,722,543 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR

134,562,162 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550 OR

282,458,396 Children Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR

98,260,359 Head Start Slots for Children for One Year OR

169,116,848 Households with Renewable Electricity - Solar Photovoltaic for One Year

OR 11,436,753 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR

450,978,261 Households with Renewable Electricity-Wind Power for One Year

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 10 months ago

What's equally important as the Constitution is paying attention to the historical background of the repub party since 1980. It ain;t been pretty.

Gingrich represents MORE big government as always. It's all about rhetoric not about substance. Each time the repubs have controlled our government since 1980 major financial systems have been subject to repub fraud. It's all documented:

Which party could that be? The tea party republicans...

Think about it. In the past 30 years the repub tea party has been in involved two major home loan scandals that effectively took the USA economy down the tubes. One is too damn many but twice represents repub economic policy. Wreckanomics is a failed economic policy. In fact wreckanomics is beginning to smell like well planned crimes.

The republican tea party have become masters at putting millions upon millions upon millions of people out of work. AND stealing taxpayers retirement plans along the way.

What Tea Party Repubs do with a remarkable degree of consistency is wreck the economy,initiate huge movements of shipping jobs abroad aka the Reagan-Bush Global Economy and try to wreck social security and medicare.

Is there a definite pattern? Absolutely!

  1. The Reagan/ Bush Savings and Loan Heist http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  2. The Bush/Cheney Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  3. What did Bush and Henry Paulson do with the $700 billion of bail out money? This reveals more big lies to the USA citizens. http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

  4. Why did GW Bush Lie About Social Security?( This would cost taxpayers $4 trillion,place taxpayers insurance money at risk and wreck the economy) Very good information about Social Security across the board. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0505orr.html

  5. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

  6. The "tea parties" BTW are part of the wreckanomics program funded by the Koch Brothers... well known oil billionaires. These thinkers back a tax payers bill of rights which is another scheme to reward the upper 1% which is designed to wreck local and state governments. The Other ENTITLEMENT Program for the Wealthy http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

All of the above displays reckless economic behavior that which drains the cookie jars.

TOM HOLLAND FOR GOVERNOR !!!

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 10 months ago

Bush on the Constitution: It's just a 'goddamned piece of paper'

By DOUG THOMPSON Dec 9, 2005, 06:02

Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act.

Several provisions of the act, passed in the shell shocked period immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caused enough anger that liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union had joined forces with prominent conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Bob Barr to oppose renewal.

GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

"I don't give a goddamn," Bush retorted. "I'm the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way."

"Mr. President," one aide in the meeting said. "There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution."

"Stop throwing the Constitution in my face," Bush screamed back. "It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"

Republican arrogance at its' finest!!!!

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llama726 3 years, 10 months ago

To clarify, I had to memorize part of the Declaration of Independence in 6th or 7th grade. I'm 24. I don't buy the "downfall theory" based on the few people you work with.

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llama726 3 years, 10 months ago

Had to read both documents in high school and for my required college government class. Don't know what your coworkers were smoking, but it's still taught. Your colleagues must have just not paid attention in class, probably a result of kids not being engaged in school anymore because there's nothing to do at school anymore other than sports to keep them engaged, and God knows their parents are probably stuck working 50 hours a week apiece to make ends meet (assuming both parents are in the house).

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Mike Ford 3 years, 10 months ago

article one, section eight, part three, "Congress shall regulate the commerce between the foreign nations, the several states, and the Indian tribes" Indian tribes being the only minority mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Justice John Marshall ruled in the Cherokee Nation's favor in Worcester V. Georgia and father of future Republicans Andrew Jackson tells all John Marshall made his ruling let him enforce it. Jackson ignores case ruling and removes the Cherokee anyway. The Winters Doctrine guaranteed pre-eminent water rights to tribes based on a Supreme Court ruling. Dumblicans in Kansas ignore this doctrine and the Kickapoo Nation in Kansas still has a hard time getting good drinking water after farmers live on tribal lands stolen in fraudulent 1862 railroad treaty.

Antonin Scalia and John Roberts and Who Me Thomas continuely disrespect tribal interests in cases these days like they don't think anyone is watching. Then they guard themselves like cowards from questions and audiences when they come to KU. Dumblicans talk about transparency and clown Obama but in truth they were and are cowards who ducked whenever possible. Cheney talking publically about backroom energy policy meetings during the Bush Administration, really???? stop the hypocracy.

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blue73harley 3 years, 10 months ago

I blame Al Gore. He invented the constitution (and prenuptial agreements).

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beatrice 3 years, 10 months ago

This letter makes a huge assumption that if someone hasn't read either the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, then that person must not value their freedoms as an American.

Huh? How does not reading equal not caring about freedom? That is just ridiculous. I've never read an owner's manuel to my washing machine, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't care if it stopped working.

If anything, it just proves that people are so confident in their freedoms that they take them for granted without worrying where these freedoms came from or exactly what they are (or should be). That also doesn't mean they are just interested in being taken care of by the government. I can guarantee you there are plenty of these tea baggers who are screaming about all sorts of different freedoms they believe are being taken away who have never read either document. Does this mean they really don't want the freedoms they say they want?

Yes, it is sad that students don't read these important documents. However, we shouldn't read too much into it.

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denak 3 years, 10 months ago

I wonder why Brent isn't defending his letter????

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 10 months ago

"Audacity of Hope", dang, that Bill Ayers is a heck of a ghost-writer, isn't he?

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

Maybe Obama's memoirs he writes when he's sent home to ChiTown in 2012 could be entitled "The Atrocity of Hype".

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

The plain fact, as suggested by Oak's post, that now more than ever folks are diving into the constitution is too filled with irony for me to express in mere words. Obama---constitutional "scholar", usurper....get it?

May God Bless.

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Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 10 months ago

After reading President Obama's 'The Audacity of Hope' I bought a copy of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. One of the chapters is about the importance of this document. I did some research into the history of the charters of the colonies to better understand the culture and thinking behind the 2nd amendment and an history of British law. Introduction to Constitutional Law was fascinating to me and I gleaned a lot of information about how the Supreme Court reaches its decisions. I keep the Constitution and the Into on the coffee table as since President Obama the entire family is now mentally involved in what is going on politically and we have referred to both a few times.

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Bob Kraxner 3 years, 10 months ago

Dude, where the hell have you been for the past 25 years ? This "revelation" to you is nothing new. Welcome to America ! I suppose you believe that, because a person has been to college, it means that they are smart, or, intelligent ! The US government is well on its way to achieving what it has always claimed to stand against, ( communism, socialism etc. etc.) why else do you think America has the worst educational system in the world? It is far easier to deceive the masses when they are collectively ignorant.

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remember_username 3 years, 10 months ago

All the above sweeping generalizations being drawn from a lunch time inquiry of a handful of co-workers. Brilliant! Your sad discovery may simply be a case of selective memory on the part of your co-workers rather than a disregard of the subject by the curriculum. This is much more likely considering a quick look at a few regional public schools curricula. This is not a left vs right issue in spite of the need of some people to make it so.

It is the nature of people to remember over the long term what they care about. So if you want to consider discouraging mealtime epiphanies think about how few care enough about the Constitution to reconsider the document in adulthood.

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Oreobama 3 years, 10 months ago

Obama and his gang would prefer to have the dumbest of the dumb voting. He has shown us in every way possible that he thinks he knows whats best. I would like to tell him where he can stick his law degree. The bum has never held down a real job. If he is elected again, I'll choke and gag and collapse right in my tracks.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 10 months ago

It's a good thing your comments are short, snap-- otherwise your bill for straw would be enormous.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 10 months ago

All power to the soviets! (oops, that was bozo's next line, sorry)

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 10 months ago

The unstated, and unsupported, supposition here is that there was some grand age of reason and education in which everyone in Brent's workplace would have committed all these documents to memory, not doubt after long hours of study by candlelight.

But it's just not true.

And even though Brent may consider himself a constitutional scholar, we all know from his postings here that his tortured biblical interpretations will always determine how he interprets the constitution.

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Liberty_One 3 years, 10 months ago

SnakeFist (anonymous) says…

"Name one freedom guaranteed in the Constitution that has been taken away"

Equal protection of the law, Grutter v. Bollinger, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.

The right to earn an honest living, United States v. Carolene Products, Nebbia v. New York.

Asset forfeiture without Due Process, Bennis v. Michigan.

Civil rights, Korematsu v. United States.

Free Speech, McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, Buckley v. Valeo.

Property rights, Kelo v. City of New London, Berman v. Parker, Penn Central Transportation v. New York, Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

The right to freely make contracts, Home Building and Loan Association v. Blaisdell, Gold Clause Cases.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 10 months ago

I worked as a para in schools before going into business, and I can tell you they do teach the constitution. But what I saw in the schools was an anti education attitude on the part of the students, which I think they pick up from places outside of school. They had the attitude that all they needed to do was study enough to pass the test, then promptly forgot it, so those to whom you talked probably did study it. They just let it go when they walked out of the room. I saw it in English classes too. They were all taught that you need a verb to have a complete sentence and other important writing skills, and were even good at using them properly in English, but didn't transfer that knowledge when they had to write in their history class. And students seldom read the reading assignments in History. They just scanned the pages for the right answers to the study guide. The teacher was so frustrated, he started having them read it aloud in class, which wasted a lot of time. And I'm not just talking about those students, who were learning disabled. I'm talking about students who were headed to college. Whenever we told them they needed to take good notes and be organized, because they would need it when they went to college, they just looked at us, as if we were nuts. It wasn't "cool" to let on that you were smart or to be organized. They often bragged about being lazy, stupid and disorganized. I'd like to think that has changed, but when I watch shows that are popular with the young, I have a feeling it hasn't changed at bit, and maybe has gotten worse.

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br549 3 years, 10 months ago

Yep, with ooooooobama kicking ass and with his foot on BPs throat you know he has read the constitution.........not. Just playing to his 3rd grade constituents. Place your bets that Herr leaders handlers (tele prompter controllers) will ever let it deliver even the briefest of statements without the ever-present Tele-Prompters. It = talking head.

John Boehner / Sara Palin 2012

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yankeevet 3 years, 10 months ago

I noticed on my street; I am the only who displays the american flag..........whats up with that??

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SnakeFist 3 years, 10 months ago

You've read the Constitution, but do you understand it? Legal scholars don't agree on how to interpret any particular clause, so when I hear uneducated conservatives talk about how the Constitution is being violated, I have to laugh. Name one freedom guaranteed in the Constitution that has been taken away - and you can't say "privacy" because you regressives keep arguing that a right to privacy isn't in there.

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jafs 3 years, 10 months ago

Part of the problem is that voters have an unrealistic idea of what the President can and cannot do, and another part is that they believe campaign promises.

Also, of course, we have an established culture in Washington that is overly influenced by money and corporations.

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jafs 3 years, 10 months ago

The same was true of many who voted for Bush.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

Or Howard Stern's OTS questions regarding the '08 election; very easy to see how Obama was elected. I was at my neighbor's one night drinking a few beers back then and the election came up. They all (5-6 mostly in their 50's) eagerly recanted the "change" mantra, but after a few cursory questions, they didn't have clue one about anything. So, to not make waves, I just shut up and drank my beer.

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 10 months ago

All it takes is watching a few of Jay Leno's interviews with people on the street to see how really ignorant most of our populace is regarding important current events and, most sadly, our history. On the other hand, most of them can provide you right away with anything you might want to know about what happened on the last episode of American Idol or how Paris Hilton was last deprived of her underwear.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

This is no accident. Progressives hijacked the education system nearly two generations ago.

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independant1 3 years, 10 months ago

Just goes to show, Ivy League MBA ain't no better than cornfield berkley MBA.

The world is full of men who do big things, but when you meet ’em they are not outstanding personalities. Pretty near everybody is almost alike. (Will Rogers)

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 10 months ago

Pres Bush once said all of that stuff was nothing but a god damned piece of paper. My word that coming from a Ivy League graduate. Guess GW set the pace.

Hmmmmmmmmm

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Cooky_the_Cook 3 years, 10 months ago

I read that stuff in school. I think you work with a bunch of slackers and illiterates, Brent.

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Stacy Napier 3 years, 10 months ago

They are too busy having teacher planning days.

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Jim Phillips 3 years, 10 months ago

Ergo, the reason for the "dumbing down" concept of our (lack of) education system.

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