Constitution Day–And Other Public Service Announcements

September 17th is Constitution Day.

Bet you didn’t know that, because it hasn’t gotten very much attention. In 2004, Congress passed a law requiring that any school receiving federal funds of any kind provide educational programming on the significance of the signing of the Constitution.

Public school systems also have an obligation to mark the day, but many of them evidently struggle to find appropriate speakers and/or materials.

Fear not! The ACLU to the rescue!

The ACLU of Indiana will send trained volunteers into classrooms in central Indiana. (If you are an educator who wants to have this programming in your classroom this year, you can sign up on the organization’s website.) You can also download all sorts of helpful things–the Constitution, study guides and other materials, a classroom PowerPoint presentation and a wide variety of online resources, including games, curriculum, and videos.

As the website says, nothing is more important to our democracy than improving civic literacy. So spread the word.

Okay–so you aren’t a teacher, and you don’t need help marking Constitution Day.

If you live Indianapolis and feel the need to know more about the city and how it works before November’s municipal elections, have we got a deal for you!

The Center for Civic Literacy, the League of Women Voters, the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, the Urban League, the Indianapolis Bar Foundation, the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, NUVO, WFYI, and several other civic organizations are working with the Indianapolis Public Library to sponsor three forums to be held at Central Library. They’re free and open to the public. You can learn more–and register to attend one or all of them– here.

Have you always wondered what a municipal corporation is? How the City-County Council works? Who pays taxes and who doesn’t? What our most pressing problems are? Where we see our City in 2020? Come find the answers to these questions and many others! Forums will be held on September 21st, October 6th and October 20th.

The series is called “Electing Our Future: What You Need to Know about Indianapolis Government In Order to Cast an Informed Vote.”

No politics, no spin, just basic information that will help you evaluate the priorities and capacities of the candidates for Mayor and Council who are asking for your vote.

See you there!


  1. Although democracy is dead here in Jacksonville, it’s very encouraging to see that it is still breathing in Indianapolis.


  2. It might be more accurate to state that, Democracy in Indianapolis is
    on life support, not exactly breathing under its own steam.

  3. @Red George

    Be grateful for your life support system, we don’t have that luxury here in Jacksonville.

    See Jacksonville is a prototype, like Nordheim was in Germany during the early 30’s. It’s not a totally controlled Nazi city, It’s a totally controlled theocratic/racist city.

    Without a doubt, Jacksonville is the spearhead of the Tea Party Movement. This is what you get if the likes of a Donald Trump is elected President.

  4. @Earl

    Jacksonville, Florida is a prototype theocratic/racist city. The build-up started in 1991, after the racist oligarchy in Dallas lost the battle for one man. one vote.

    Jacksonville was the default city. The Movement needed a new center of gravity (COG) and the racist forces in Jacksonville were ready. To be honest, so was I.

    This is no secret. I called for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to convene a closed meeting on this issue in 1992. I testified for over three hours. Jacksonville is not a SECRET.

  5. There is no big secret. The secret is that following Donald Trump and his Republican Trojan Horse is analogous to following George Custer into the Little Big Horn. Mark my words.

  6. I am glad to see the Constitution celebrated. As an older adult who now has time to dabble in interesting topics, I have relearned how the Constitution is a reaction to the very limited central government under the Articles of Confederation. And how people like Washington and Hamilton’s experience during the Revolutionary War convinced them of the need for a federal government that had the power to tax, provide for defense, conduct foreign policy, etc.

    The Articles of Confederation are probably a lot closer to the government envisioned by the Tea Party. But if they were unworkable in the 1780s, they would be even more unworkable today. I don’t claim to be a historian or any sort of expert, but it seems to me that many of the most conservative views are based on an incomplete and romanticized view of the founding fathers.

  7. As a Social Studies teacher during past decades we taught a class called Government.
    That semester was spent studying the Constitution, Section by Section, Article by Article and Amendment by Amendment. Do such classes exist today?

  8. I saw a reference the other day to something that labeled the Tea Party the “Constitutionalist” wing of the Republican Party. Of course nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve never run into one who had even the faintest idea what the purpose of the Constitution is much less the actual contents.

    Every Tea Party member that I have ever communicated with seems to believe that the Constitution confers priority benefits to people like them over other Americans. It’s a caste system not a plan for government.

    That belief has been instilled by media exposure so deeply that their reaction to hearing the truth elicits a visceral reaction from them like they’ve been insulted by those who consider all people equal in the eyes of the law.

    So they are not only misinformed about the Constitution but when it is explained, they’re against it.

    So they are not and have never been an American movement. Their beliefs are foreign to American tradition. They are a mob created by media for a purpose. To render their country controllable by media much like envisioned in “1984”.

    Of course a “country controllable by media much like envisioned in “1984”” is in itself an old dream and the basis for empires like the one that we revolted from. King George wanted the American Colonies to behave by remote control just like the oligarchs, our economic royalty today, want workers to today. Take, make, waste without questions and hand the wealth over to the entitled.

    We said no once and can again.

  9. It’s probably too early in the day to draw a definite conclusion, but so far I haven’t seen a comment insisting that any presentation by the ACLU or similar organization would be anti-God, anti-American, and itself patently unconstitutional.

    (Meanwhile, in that alternate universe somewhere slightly south of the Ohio River, an embattled county clerk enunciates the principle that observing Supreme Court decisions is a sure ticket to Hell. Don’t know about that as an alternate curriculum to that proposed by the ACLU……but the temperature in one of the “… such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish” may be pretty warm for her in Ashland in the next day or so.)

  10. History has shown that human progress is inevitable over the long term. Over the short term though it’s like puberty; the tension between what was and what will be. Scary. Some react primarily to the scary part and some to the hopeful part.

    So the short term rate of progress is the resolution of the war between the nostalgic past and the expectant future and both always win some battles but the war so far anyway has always sided with change over stasis.

    Don’t expect miracles but expect change.

    We will get through these times with our change in tact and run square into the next times with new problems.

    When I backpacked I accepted that some days end by never stopping putting one foot in front of the other tempting though it was to stop.

    So it is now. Sheila and her type keep plugging away achieving incremental gains until looking backwards we see how far we’ve come.

  11. @Pete

    Just one person’s opinion. You’re right. Some people react to the scary part and some to the hopeful part.

    However, I believe to be in “political reality” a person needs to take a deep look at both. Human progress is not inevitable, not with the potential nuclear catastrophes and ecological dangers we are all facing.

  12. Marv. You’re right but over the long term it’s all that we’ve seen.

    WWII which was certainly among the worst short terms that we’ve had still had longer term positive impacts as well.

    Will we ever have a long term setback? Could be.

  13. Pete, our only hope is to have the capability of projecting the future in order to take preemptive intervention if necessary. That’s why we have been working on the development of P.R.I. [Political Resonance Imaging] since 1991.

    My long time companion and partner’s father was the founder and director of the governments most advanced laboratory where among the first experiments on alternate energy sources were conducted.

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