Do You Know the Constitution?

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Yo, boss, know what Sept. 17 is?

BE: Constitution Day.

JB: Yep. The day in 1787 our Constitution was signed right here in Philadelphia. I'm impressed you know that.

BE: You forget how old I am. I covered it. But Constitution Day is being celebrated today, Sept. 16.

JB: You are one fact-filled editor!

BE: Only in my rare sentient moments.

JB: Anyway, the Annenberg Public Policy Center at Penn is releasing results of a national survey of 1,230 Americans that suggest not all of us are as well informed. Only 13% of those surveyed know when the Constitution was signed. The majority (55%) said 1776.

BE: Which is when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

JB: Right again, oh wise one. There were other miscues, too.

BE: Try me.

JB: What are the three branches of government?

BE: Lobbyists, campaign donors and the tea party?

JB: Funny guy. It's executive, judicial and legislative. But get this: only 38% of our countrymen could name all three.

BE: Did they survey only reality TV viewers?

JB: There's more. Just 37% know that a citizen cannot appeal a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

BE: Which is why George W. Bush was president.

JB: And while 15% correctly named John Roberts as U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, almost twice as many (27%) correctly named Randy Jackson as a judge on "American Idol."

BE: I would have said "Dancing with the Stars."

JB: Problem is, according to Annenberg Center Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson, "knowing how democracy works predicts civic participation."

BE: Yeah, well, that would explain a few things.

JB: And she says, "The nation should be troubled by the extent to which civic education is downplayed in its schools."

BE: I want my country back.

JB: You can read a report recommending action to improve all this right here.

BE: Maybe we should send a copy to one or two presidential candidates, wink, wink.

JB: Maybe to all of them. Grrr.

Continue Reading