Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Warning: Rant ahead

If you will all indulge me for a post a bit more on the serious side....every day, we all see and hear things that make us shake our head. Those of us who drive on US 278 daily see and hear these things usually within the first few minutes of our commute. Today, my moment to shake my head in disgust came when I read this article. Apparently only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment - but more than half can name at least two members of the Simpsons. Even worse - twenty-two percent of Americans can name all five Simpsons, but just one in one thousand can name all five First Amendment freedoms. Just so my loyal readers can count themselves among those in the know....

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.

In my opinion, the United States of America is the greatest institution ever conceived of by man. For all it's flaws and the attacks on the Bill of Rights by the current administration (the First, Fourth and Fifth to name a few), I am very proud to call myself a citizen of this country. So when I hear that apparently the vast majority of it's citizenry doesn't have this most basic of knowledge about the supreme law of the the makes me ill. How did this happen? Is it a failure of our educational system? I know I was taught the Bill of Rights in school. Do we just take for granted our rights, thinking that they can never be taken away from us? Or, (and this is my theory) have we simply forgotten? Moved on to the far more interesting fiction that is broadcast into our homes on the magic box. If the Bill of Rights was broadcast 5 nights a week with a new episode every Sunday, maybe then the populace would know it by heart. Perhaps that's what's needed. When was the last time you watched C-SPAN? It's been a while for me....I usually stop when I'm channel surfing and see a Senator or Representative that I know of is speaking. Other than that, I'll flip right past and watch a re-run of Star Trek that I've seen twenty times. Perhaps it's time to re-evaluate that behavior.


Brian said...

Congratulations, it looks like Stephen Colbert swiped part of his monologue from this post.

lerxst said...

I wished that at this point that watching CSPAN and voting would be enough to fix the problems. Unfortunately, I think it's too far gone for that to do much.

Our federal government racks up the debt year after year to pursue war and to let younger families barely keeping their head above water pay for prescription drugs for the wealthiest generation the world has ever seen in recorded history.

"Free speech zones" far away from the leaders who must never see the discontent of the hoi-polloi, pointless wars against fourth-rate powers while our real enemies fester and multiply, and a vast, overreaching federal bureaucracy that will spend 2.7 trillion dollars this year, 20 percent of the entire economic output of the country. Congress can't fix it, and the president can't fix it.

Our economy is only growing because people are spending their debt lines out, buying houses that are ludicrously overpriced. While we sell out our country to foreign debt and eat our seed corn, we simultanaeously piss off the rest of the world and enact protectionist crap that makes people wonder if doing business with us is even worth the hassle. How much longer do you think the world will find debt to be paid with US dollars worthwhile to hold?

The only way to fix this problem would be to get people with a radical notion to cut spending drastically and bring our troops home (and not just in Iraq and Afghanistan... we've got troops in 120 countries, give or take) NOW. Nobody in the beltway has the cojones (with the possible exceptions of Russ Feingold on the left and Ron Paul on the right) to challenge the bureaucracy or the military hegemon.

I'm afraid that we're heading to a painful period in American history. I don't believe that it will be as bad as the Great Depression, but it will be probably worse than any recession we've had since the end of the Second World War. But the longer these things go on, the worse it will be when it does happen.