Homer for President ’08 Campaign Kicks Off with Good Polling Numbers

Before reading this article, state the following sentence out loud:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Guess what? You are better informed than most Americans, according to this source:

Americans apparently know more about “The Simpsons” than they do about the First Amendment.

Only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for redress of grievances.) But more than half can name at least two members of the cartoon family, according to a survey.

The study by the new McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum found that 22 percent of Americans could name all five Simpson family members, compared with just one in 1,000 people who could name all five First Amendment freedoms.

Joe Madeira, director of exhibitions at the museum, said he was surprised by the results.

The only confusing portion of the linked article is that Madeira was surprised by the results. There’s a national poll of registered voters every four years which consistently confirms the same general results. D’oh!?!

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. I’d like to know what percent could remember three or four freedoms. press, religion and speech are pretty easy to remember. Assembly is a little harder and even I’m not sure if I would have noticed petition for redress of grievances.

  2. They said they were going to arrest me the last time I exercized assembly rights and petitioned for redress.



  3. freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for redress of grievances

    Hmm… I thought those had been outlawed for reasons of national security… At least until the War on Terror is over.

  4. If you look at the original survey, you will see that large numbers of Americans did not even realize that freedom of religion or freedom of the press were protected First Amendment rights. So how do you discuss Danish cartoons?

  5. I think people just are aware that the government will trample on your rights when it deems fit, so maybe they think “Why bother remembering them?”

    All the rights in the first amendment are subject to government whims, sadly.

  6. The first amendment does not guarantee anything.
    The first amendment prohibits the government from doing anything to prevent us exercising these five rights, out of all our rights, which are inalienable and/or endowed by our Creator.

    Our rights are violated all the time, but they’re still ours and we have a right to defend them. Every person in the world has these rights, but not every country has a constitution which prohibits their government from violating them. Nothing is guaranteed, but must be defended.

    Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and the one with the pacifier.

  7. When I was in journalism school I had to memorize the thing. Of course, when it keeps you out of jail (most of the time), it’s a pretty good incentive. I’m amazed so few people can name it.

    Now I can understand getting the contents and numbers switched (for example, thinking the right to be free from search and seizure was the Fifth instead of the Fourth), but to not know them? There’s just no excuse for that.

  8. Sandra – thanks. I forgot the name of the one with the pacifer, too. Actually, I prefer South Park — their views are better politically, for the most part.