An AP story this morning says more people can name the members of “The Simpsons” family than can name the rights spelled out in the First Amendment. Not only that, one in five think it includes a constitutional right to own a pet. How can that be?
One reason is that Americans are exposed to “The Simpsons” much more than they are to the First Amendment, or the rest of the Bill Of Rights. What’s the last time you saw them? That’s why it would be a good idea to have the Bill Of Rights publicly displayed in every schoolroom, courthouse, and government building. After all, these are the core values and laws that framed the founding of our nation and still inspire us today — the rights that protect us, the citizens, from the government infringing upon our freedoms, and make us different from every other nation on Earth.
That’s the idea behind the campaign my friend Chris Bliss has started, to get a Bill Of Rights monument on statehouse grounds across America — a much better idea than those granite Ten Commandments blocks. His website, MyBillOfRights.org, accepts donations for the cause (but no one may donate more than $100, so have a seat, Mr. Abramoff) and his first project is in his home state of Arizona, where he has managed to get bipartisan support.
In his alternate universe, Chris is a comedian and juggler, who appeared in a benefit comedy concert I did several years ago as a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital and recently used the concept to raise money for the Bill Of Rights project. Now, he has also become an internet star, as video of one of his performances has been rocketing around the web via e-mail (it has now been picked up by Google Video). Chris tells me that, as of Monday, his site has had 200,000 downloads and counting, with emails so far from Latvia, Turkey, Egypt, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Israel, Finland, Holland, France, Canada, and China (Beijing).
Interesting that in China, the citizens can watch Chris juggle to a classic Beatles song, but they couldn’t even find out about the Bill of Rights project, because they’d be blocked by Google, Yahoo, and other internet companies that have sold out to the Chinese government. Maybe Chris needs to put a Bill of Rights monument in Tiananmen Square.