Do you know what’s missing in this debate about Edward Snowden and the  National Security Agency?

Perhaps the point that Americans likely have no idea of what their rights are!

A lawyer friend of mine talked about an experiment conducted during Edward R. Murrow’s time where Americans were shown a copy of the Bill of Rights without being told what the document was, and were then asked whether or not they support the document. Under those conditions, a ridiculous majority of Americans did not support the Bill of Rights!

Of course I found that story hard to believe, so I did some Googling and found something equally outrageous – A 1991 NY Times article cited an American Bar Association-sanctioned survey among adult citizens where two-thirds of them could not identify the Bill of Rights.

And just when you found yourself losing faith in Americans:

The bar association’s survey offered multiple choices. Thirty-three percent correctly identified the Bill of Rights as the Constitution’s first 10 amendments; 28 percent said it was a preamble to the Constitution; 22 percent said it is any rights bill passed by Congress; 7 percent chose “a message of rebellion from the Founding Fathers to the British monarchy.” Ten percent said they did not know.

(Laughing) that “messsage of rebellion” answer sounds like some Sarah Palin shizzle.

Wow, where can I go from here…

A case of self-imposed autocracy?

The near-axiomatic concept that you can’t fight for your rights if you don’t know what the hell they are?

Or, the lack of awareness about rights may explain why folks aren’t flipping their wigs over the Snowden affair?

In case this helps, here’s a link to the Bill of Rights. Reading the Times article is very helpful since it also provides concise reasoning for the Bill of Rights’ genesis…

song currently stuck in my head: “love for sale” – aretha franklin

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