Civics, civility lessons needed

June 1, 2010
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IL Managing Editor Elizabeth Brockett wrote this post.

Many folks just enjoyed a three-day weekend off from work for Memorial Day, once called Decoration Day, which is a day to remember those who have died in our nation’s service. It was first observed in 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

Why the history lesson? Apparently many people need a refresher civics course, as well as a reminder about civility.

Greenwood High School valedictorian Eric Workman successfully sued in federal court against having a school-sanctioned prayer at commencement. That caused more than a little debate about prayer, separation of church and state, and rights of those who wanted prayer vs. those who didn’t. And for the record, Workman is a Christian. Rumors and threats of planned protests at Greenwood High School’s graduation May 28 didn’t come to fruition. Instead, some people – students and adults – chose to cough and make other noises during Workman’s speech, while another student speaker’s references to God and faith were met with applause.

Ignorance also showed its ugly head. There were some people who spouted “no where in the Constitution does it say” separation of church and state. We all know the First Amendment pretty much covers it with “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.” It also covers their right to complain.

Besides the civility/rudeness factor, this all got me thinking about how little people remember of our nation’s history and law of the land. Do you suppose all the people becoming naturalized citizens know more about this country than those who complained about the lack of a prayer at a public high school graduation? How well would you or people you know do taking the civics portion of the naturalization test? I’m pretty sure you’d get all the American government questions correct. But do you remember the authors of the Federalist Papers? And what was Benjamin Franklin famous for? No, the answer to that one does not include kite flying.

It always shocks and amazes me how people will rant about rights without really knowing their or others’ rights. But how to solve that problem …. By the way, for those who wanted prayer at graduation, I guarantee many churches offered special prayers or even services for those graduating. And who said you couldn’t pray quietly at graduation?
 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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