Friday, October 30, 2009

Your constitutional rights at work

So the "Obama song" lyrics are "unavailable," eh? How might we have come to know that?

Officials at a New Jersey school district have turned over to requested copies of a notice and program for an assembly at which second-graders performed a controversial song praising President Obama, but the district has yet to produce song lyrics that, officials say, also were sent to parents. filed an open records request Oct. 19 seeking copies of materials provided to parents of students at B. Bernice Young Elementary School prior to the song's performance at the assembly in February. The song sparked a national controversy when someone posted to YouTube a video of the students performing it again, on March 23, when author Charisse Carney-Nunes visited the school in recognition of Women's History Month.

In case you're among the fraction of the population for whom this was indeed a "national controversy,"* rest easy. is putting the mighty legal engine that is Freedom of the Press to work on your behalf. May the Lord make us truly thankful.

We live in an age of heightened attention to the Constitution,** and you can't blame the poor old document if it's happy to be noticed again after all these years. In that light, it's important to note that the First Amendment isn't limited to those with clues, skills, or a genuine ethic of public service. It spreads its refulgent beams over the evil and clueless as well, as long as they aren't giving out the sailing dates of troopships or falsely shouting "fire" in crowded theaters. We can't, and shouldn't, stop them. But we can, and should, make merciless fun of them every time they poke their noses out. Sweet reason doesn't seem to be working.

* The "Obama song" is a serious dog-whistle for the droolers, if you haven't noticed. All you have to do is say "mmm mmm mmm." I heard a caller on Limbaugh doing it today.
** That must be why commenters on news stories make demands like "Tell me where in the Constitution it says Congress can take my money."



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