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Should we rewrite our Constitution?

As one of the oldest documents in our country, the United States Constitution serves as a model for governance, a rule of law, and a catalyst for some of the nation’s most divisive debates. While we constantly reshape our laws based on the 27 amendments to the Constitution, these changes can seem vague and leave things open to interpretation. How relevant is this 230-year-old document to our everyday lives?

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State Leaders Float The Idea Of A Constitutional Convention

Additional resources to think about

Answering Listener Questions About A Constitutional Convention
NPR's Noel King talks with commentator Cokie Roberts, who answers listener questions about a possible constitutional convention to adopt a balanced budget amendment.

Constitutional Compromises: Crash Course Government #5
The United State’s didn’t always have its current system of government. Actually, this is it’s second attempt.

So, You Want To Repeal the 2nd Amendment
In this episode of Ron's Office Hours, NPR's Ron Elving takes us through how to amend the constitution or re-write it through the lens of the 2nd Amendment debate.

Why is the US Constitution so hard to amend? | TEDEd
When it was ratified in 1789, the US Constitution didn’t just institute a government by the people – it provided a way for the people to alter the Constitution itself. And yet, of the nearly 11,000 amendments proposed in the centuries since, only 27 have succeeded as of 2016. Peter Paccone explains why the US Constitution is so hard to change.

What If We Wrote the Constitution Today?
This piece from The Atlantic asks what a modern-day U.S. Constitution would look like.

contemplate

Who created this message?

  • What kind of “text” is it?
  • How similar or different is it to others of the same genre?
  • What are the various elements (building blocks) that make up the whole?

 

What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

  • What do you notice (about the way the message is constructed)?
  • What’s the emotional appeal?
  • What makes it seem “real?”
  • Are there any symbols? Persuasive devices used?

How might different people understand this message differently from me?

  • How many other interpretations could there be?
  • How could we hear about them?
  • How can you explain the different responses?

What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?

  • What type of person is the reader/watcher/listener invited to identify with?
  • What ideas or perspectives are left out?
  • How would you find what’s missing?
  • What judgments or statements are made about how we treat other people?

 

Why is this message being sent?

  • What's being sold in this message? What's being told? 
  • Who is served by or  benefits from the message
    – the public?
    – private interests?
    – individuals?
    – institutions?

5 Key Questions of Media Literacy used with permission from the Center for Media Literacy.
Copyright 2002-2021, Center for Media Literacy, www.medialit.com

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Should we rewrite our Constitution?

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