- The Washington Times - Monday, July 1, 2002

American parents have been discussing their nation's legal freedoms, democracy and distinctiveness with their children in preparation for the first Independence Day since the September 11 terrorist attacks, a poll by the American Bar Association reveals.
"September 11 was a vivid reminder that we must not take our liberty and freedom for granted," ABA President Robert Hirshon said.
Fifty-seven percent of the respondents to the three-question poll said they have "talked to [their] children or other young people about our democracy or our Constitution" since September 11. Forty-one percent said no.
Sixty-two percent said that since the attacks they have talked to their children about the differences between America and other countries; 37 percent said they did not do so.
Asked whether America's "laws and constitutional principles make us better able to fight in the war against terrorism," 45 percent said yes, while 40 percent answered no. Thirteen percent said they were "unsure," and two percent declined to answer.
The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, was conducted by telephone June 14-17, among a nationwide cross section of 1,010 adults aged 18 and over, with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
People from three ethnic groups, six age groups and four education levels were about equally represented.
Mr. Hirshon said the poll's results reflect the Founding Fathers' recognition that an informed public is necessary for the success of American democracy.
"Thomas Jefferson once wrote that if he had to decide whether there should be a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, he would not hesitate to choose the latter," he said.
In a prepared release, the ABA also announced today that it was starting a three-part campaign designed to further engage Americans on the polling and on other similar questions.
The program, which also involves public town hall discussions and advertisements, is primarily focused on expanding an initiative started by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. The initiative, called "Dialogue on Freedom," arranges for judges and lawyers to lecture at high schools in the country on the constitutional form of government.


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