Freedom of Speech . . . and Freedom from Knowledge: Only One in 1000 Americans Polled Could Name the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment

A recent survey in Chicago shows that only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms contained in the first amendment. Only one in a thousand could name all of the freedoms. However, more than half can name at least two members of the Simpson family. Doh! Of course, Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart and the rest of the characters are not devoid of constitutional significance, as discussed below.

The survey was done by the new McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum in my home town of Chicago. Almost a quarter of those surveyed could name all five Simpson family members. It appears that we are a nation resembling Cletus Delroy Spuckler, the slack-jawed yokel. Lisa Simpson would be appalled.

The solution seems obvious: name the five Simpson characters: Speech, Religion, Press, Assembly, and Petition the Government for Redress of Grievances. The last can be reduced to “Redress” for the purposes of artistic license.

Alternatively, each of the main characters could teach those rights within their particular area of expertise. Here are my initial suggestions:

Homer Simpson — Privacy (Right to be Left Alone)

Marjorie “Marge” Simpson — Nineteenth Amendment

Bartholomew Jojo “Bart” Simpson — Presumption of Innocence/Due Process

Lisa Marie Simpson — Freedom of Assembly

Margaret “Maggie” Simpson — Freedom of (or From) Speech

Grandpa Simpson — Equal Protection (Age discrimination)

Nedward “Ned” Flanders — Free Exercise of Religion

Clancy Wiggum — Search and Seizure (4th Amendment)

Waylon J. Smithers Jr. — Privacy Protection (after Lawrence v. Texas)

Charles Montgomery “Monty” Burns — Interstate Commerce Clause

Snake Jailbird — Privilege Against Self-Incrimination

Robert “Sideshow Bob” Underdunk Terwilliger — Eighth Amendment Protection of Criminally Insane

Lionel Hutz — Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel

Kent Brockman (Kenny) — Freedom of the Press

Moe Szyslak — Twenty-first Amendment

Barney Gumble — Twenty-first Amendment

Marion Anthony “Fat Tony” D’Amico — Warrant Clause (4th Amendment)

Johnny Tightlips — Right to Bear Arms (Second Amendment)

Mayor West — Twenty-fifth Amendment (succession and incapacity)

“Diamond Joe” Quimby — Impeachment clause

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Jr. — Privacy (Right of Procreation)

Groundskeeper Willie — Fifteenth Amendment

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26 thoughts on “Freedom of Speech . . . and Freedom from Knowledge: Only One in 1000 Americans Polled Could Name the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment”

  1. lol Thanks, DeeplyWorried, at least I know what Puddles is now. I knew I was way off in my original assessment, I just didn’t know HOW far afield I was. 🙂

    And thanks too, PattyC, for providing the other thread link. 🙂

  2. Susan,

    Patty C will have to ride to our rescue..she has a method for finding old threads.

    Puddles is the name of a bizarre animal, vaguely doglike, that seems to be what physicists call a “strange attractor” for human ill luck.

    Something about dognappings, public office, and bizarre S Texas politics.

    Help Patty C!

  3. Thanks, J.T., for your quick response on the legal question, it is greatly appreciated.

    But can anyone tell me; WHO is “Puddles?” Come on guys, I feel really left out here. 🙂

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