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Monday, March 21, 2005

Survey Finds First Amendment Is Being Left Behind in U.S. High Schools

Click above for the press release.

Does everyone else find this as scary as I do? Even though I live in a 'red state' I went to a fairly well-rounded school with a good curriculum. Makes me wonder what other places are teaching their kids in Social Studies classes. A few things I find particularly disturbing:

  • Almost 75% of students take their right to freedom of speech for granted.
  • 75% think burning the flag is illegal.
  • 1/2 (!) think that the government can censor the internet.
  • and most disturbing of all: 1/3 think that the 1st amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees.

Wow, goes too far...I haven't heard that one before. I am only 25 (yes, I admit it.) but how far removed am I from the high school students of today? When I was in school we studied the First Amendment like it was going out of style (which, it evidently is) and were taught to use it to its fullest extent. I can't even think of anything else to say...BUT! if I could, I would be free to write it. Get it? Huh? Huh? Yeah...Freedom of Speech:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

A few quotes to inspire you today to say whatever the fuck you want:

  • "Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us." -- Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas
  • "We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is afraid of its people." -- John F. Kennedy
  • "Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free press, is a necessity in any country where people are themselves free." -- Theodore Roosevelt
  • "If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own. If in other lands the press and books and literature of all kinds are censored, we must redouble our efforts here to keep them free." -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • "There is no more fundamental axiom of American freedom than the familiar statement: In a free country we punish men for crimes they commit, but never for the opinions they have." -- Harry Truman
  • "America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense...human rights invented America." -- Jimmy Carter


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