Monday, September 18, 2006

Constitution Day


Did you know that today is a federal holiday? Neither did I, until my partner, the graduate student, got this email:

This communication in recognition of Constitution Day is brought to you by the Financial Aid Office. In May 2005, the United States Congress passed a law requiring that institutions receiving Federal funding are required to provide activities pertaining to the United States Constitution on September 17 of each year. A significant number of students of the consortium receive federal financial assistance in the forms of federal student aid. This communication is offered in support of meeting the requirements of the federal law.

Well what do you know?

A miniscule amount of research turned up the information that the date marks the occasion in 1787 when members of the Constitutional Convention signed off on their handiwork. The holiday was the brainchild of Senator Robert Byrd. It explicitly does not call for granting time off to government employees, but does require that schools teach the Constitution.

Presumably Byrd, in his persona of traditionalist wise elder, intended by legislating this date to comment on our present rulers' evident disdain for our governing document.

My partner's institution picked up that ball and ran with it, telling her:

Senator Byrd... offered the bill in the belief that if students understood the Constitution and Bill of Rights, they would do more to defend and protect them.

What have we come to when recalling the Bill of Rights is a subversive activity? Apparently it is.

1 comment:

Pisco Sours said...

Federal agencies are supposed to have classes and educational sessions on the Constitution for their employees as well. I was in a different class all day (how 2 rite gud), and no one in my class got the opportunity to go.

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