Saturday, February 05, 2005
Is our kids learning?: If I stub my toe, is President Bush to blame? If you're a columnist for The New York Times, then the answer is yes. Anything that is wrong in the world must be the fault of that bumbling, stupid, deviously evil Republican president. Bob Herbert learns that many American high school students aren't appreciative of our First Amendment protections.
The Constitution? Forget about it.
Only about half of America's high school students think newspapers should be allowed to publish freely, without government approval of their stories. And a third say the free speech guarantees of the First Amendment go "too far."
This has thrown a lot of noses out of joint. Hodding Carter III, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which financed a two-year study of high school attitudes about First Amendment freedoms, said, "These results are not only disturbing - they are dangerous."
What is Herbert's response to this news? Does he decry the state of American public education? Does he call for a renewed emphasis in civics and American History?
Nope. President Bush is to blame.
But maybe we shouldn't be so hard on the youngsters. After all, they've been set a terrible example by a presidential administration that has left no doubt about its contempt for a number of our supposedly most cherished constitutional guarantees.
Herbert then goes on to decry the lack of legal rights for terrorists who would like nothing more than to murder him.
Is Herbert really so removed from adolescence that he thinks there is a cause-and-effect relationship between legal rights for terrorists at Gitmo and high school students' belief that the newspapers need government permission on what to publish?
Probably not, he's not stupid. Dishonest? Yes. Stupid? No.