- The Washington Times - Friday, September 18, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Was The Washington Times, on Sept. 3, making a point about the appalling state of civics education in the United States, or was it just a coincidence?

On Page 1: “The White House flunks civics exam” by recommending that teachers nationwide assign students a paper on “how to help the president.” Given that the folks who work at the White House are actually supposed to know something about this nation’s Constitution and laws, I wouldn’t give that one a failing grade. I’d give it a zero.

Then there was the editorial (“It ain’t America no more,” Opinion, Sept. 3) on the outrageous effort by Wesley Cheeks Jr., a public school security guard in Fairfax County, to deny a citizen the right to display a sign at Rep. James P. Moran’s town-hall meeting. That certainly deserves an F, although one can assume that a security guard may not be quite clear on the niceties of the Constitution.

Back on Page 1, what about the headline informing us that “Obama calls joint session of Congress”? No! The president of the United States has many powers, but he is head of the executive branch and thus has no authority to tell the legislative branch to do anything, including to assemble. He can only ask Congress — specifically, the speaker of the House of Representatives — to convene a joint session.

If we don’t know what the Constitution says, how can we tell when our “leaders” are ignoring or violating it?

LYNDA MEYERS

Arlington

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