Friday, July 15, 2011

Conceived in the New Liberty

The Bill of Rights, 1st US Congress, New York, 1789
Thank you, James Madison.

Oh, how this girl enjoys satire. I'm working on a new story called, "Conceived in Liberty." I include an image of The Bill of Rights, at right, because I don't think we see enough of it. I am certain that everyone born after 1980 likely hasn't seen enough of it. And so I am writing a story about it, along the lines of James Clavell's The Children's Story. I read this novella long before I ever read Animal Farm or 1984. Clavell wrote it after he realized his daughter did not understand what the Pledge of Allegiance really meant. She could recite it, but the meaning had never been explained to her.

I find that the young students I teach have large, somewhat surprising gaps in their education. It is patently obvious in English, and, I suspect, they also have an inadequate understanding of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It may not be covered as thoroughly as it should be in primary and secondary schools, and since segments of it are so often bandied about carelessly by pundits, they may misunderstand its original intent. Their usual source of news and information is the web and television. And so, I am working on this:

"It began as a quiet rumbling at first, a question posted on Twitter by a fifteen year-old user named Boyz2DaHo, “So what good are trials by jury if criminals go free?” It was retweeted by five hundred of his followers, and by the end of the week, the question, which had percolated up Twitter feeds and across the Smartphone Screens of teens and twenty-somethings, became something people discussed over their cube walls, across tables in the nail salon, in lines for movie tickets.  It got so much attention that, within a week and a half, the question was actually posed on the evening news.  But instead of a history lesson on the Founding Fathers’ intentions, the news presented various viewer opinions, posted on Youtube and submitted via email."

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