One of the advantages of our modern era is our easy access to public discourse thanks to technology, the internet, social media et al. It also happens to be one of our disadvantages, at least for some of us. Back in the day if a person said or did something stupid, usually only a few local witnesses were aware, and the extent it might spread was limited.
Nowadays, forget about it. The speed an item can circle the globe is virtually instantaneous. Again, that can be great for good news but not so much when we would prefer to keep something quiet. There are those, however, for whom that impulse doesn’t seem so acute. Hubris or partisan support, or both, may render the need to deal with an embarrassing situation moot, or mute. Rather than explain or apologize, one might simply ignore it, or double down.
Working With, Teaching and Reporting on the Constitution
While this may apply to individuals in a wide variety of walks of life or situations, we have in mind here those who seem especially pertinent. When it comes to constitutional knowledge, who holds a more consequential position than those who either work with it, or teach it report on it?
For those who work for the government, who have sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution, it would seem sort of a job requirement to know what it says. To be familiar with it, to understand it, to be able to apply it when crafting or following laws.The degree of constitutional ignorance weaving throughout our society is troubling, to say the least. We should be aware of this travesty and be prepared to demand better from those guilty of their irresponsibility. Click To Tweet
Likewise, for those who teach our youth, any related subjects would, by necessity, require sufficient command of constitutional text and history. Whether secondary school, high school or higher education, proper age-appropriate instruction is vital to holding a government accountable. If teachers and professors are unable, or unwilling, to perform their duties, an ignorant populace will quickly emerge.
Journalism has taken a severe hit in recent years, evident in the lack of depth in reporting and often outright misinformation. When an issue involves more than a passing grasp of the Constitution, many reporters are sadly out of their depth. The result is as predictable as it is regrettable. Even worse, many in the audience may not even be aware of missing or incorrect elements in a story.
Know What you Don’t Know
It’s bad enough not to know but, as the saying goes, it is worse when we don’t know what we don’t know. The degree of constitutional ignorance weaving throughout our society is troubling, to say the least. We should be aware of this travesty and be prepared to demand better from those guilty of their irresponsibility.
If we the people have no clue what our founding document says, we are in no position to judge our government employees. We are at their mercy, and history has shown that is precisely what has happened. The more ignorant we are about our government, the more vulnerable we become.
So, we need to first be sure we are personally well-informed, and then insist that those in positions of authority are as well. There is plenty of room for improvement. No better time to start than right now.