The page above comes from a Common Core second grade workbook. It is completely inaccurate.
The Constitution is not a piece of paper, first off.
It is also not true that we can’t say things that hurt others. We would hope people would care about peoples’ feelings but US law does not abridge speech based on other’s feelings. Sharia law does, the South African Constitution does, but US law forbids that type of infringement.
This is the proper wording of the First Amendment to the Constitution which guarantees our right to free speech:
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.
There can be no law prohibiting the free exercise or abridgment of speech. It says nothing about not being allowed to hurt other’s feelings.
The workbook page refers to the Constitution as a written plan. It is not. It is our rule of law.
This corresponds to things we are seeing in other spheres of society. Take the Washington Redskins for example.
We have a nonsensical battle going on now over the name of the Washington Redskins, a name the team has carried proudly for more than 80 years. President Obama weighed in on it, why I don’t know. He told the Associated Press that if it “was offending a sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it.”
Is that how we determine our free speech rights now? We take a poll and if enough people are offended, we limit the rights of the others? In the case of the Washington Redskins, it is not meant to put Indians in anything but a positive light. If this is unacceptable, isn’t the Fighting Irish also unacceptable? What about the Cleveland Indians or the Minnesota Vikings, the Kansas City Chiefs, or the Chicago Blackhawks?
Some might point out that at one time, in some places, Redskins was a pejorative. Must we now be required to find out if a term was once a pejorative and then limit free speech accordingly? We must also then give up expressions such as bend over backwards or peter out because they were once vulgar slang.
The South African Constitution, which is so beloved by Justice Ginsberg, has restrictions like this on free speech. You can go to jail if you insult someone! That goes on all over Europe and elsewhere – people are imprisoned for their beliefs and exercise thereof.
Am I seeing a trending towards propagandizing our youth at an early age so a similar Constitution can be enacted in the United States at some point?
The worksheet from Harcourt-Brace came from a friend’s grandson’s homework. He’s in second grade.