A recently released survey showcases a bit of data that should surprise nobody: Americans know more about "The Simpsons" than they do about the First Amendment.
The study, conducted by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum, focuses on the First
Amendment and found that less than 1 percent of the respondents could identify
the five protected rights – freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly
and to petition the government.
On the other hand, about 20 percent of respondents could name Bart and Homer and
all the other three members of the animated Simpson family.
"There was a depth of ... confusion that we weren’t expecting,"
says Dave Anderson, executive director of the museum. "I think people take
their freedoms for granted. Bottom line."
Columbia University law professor Michael Dorf says the results weren’t shocking.
Which isn’t to say that there aren’t any drawbacks to widespread ignorance,
Dorf says. If people ignore their rights, those rights might disappear, he says.
"The Constitution is just a piece of paper," he says. "What makes
it work is a public commitment to living under it. And that requires some minimal
understanding of what it entails."
"It’s obvious what should happen here," Dorf says. The Constitution
"should be featured in an episode of ‘The Simpsons.’"
© 2006, Chicago Tribune.
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.
News: US News
Survey Says: Know Your Rights: Americans Know ‘Simpsons’ Better Than 1st Amendment
By Gerry Doyle
Article posted on 3/6/2006
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