The Decline of Reading Comprehension.
The so-called anti-government activists in Oregon posit the federal government's ownership of public lands, hence the term public, is Unconstitutional. Of course, their argument, if nothing else, is utter nonsense, for the authors of the document were clear that the government would control public lands. These protesters want to seem they're for egalitarianism, but they're certainly not, far from it. Their aims are selfish and narrow. However, their misreading of the Constitution is quite common. Reading comprehension, I have you, is not many Americans' strength (although being able to take endless pictures of meals has become a banal skill today).
I experienced this as well. A few people argued how the draft wasn't banned but discontinued. I don't mind their saying it's discontinued, though I don’t agree for reasons I’ll share in a moment. First, they said if the draft were banned, then it can't be reinstated, which is, again, gibberish. Banning a policy or law doesn't mean it can't be reinstated. In fact, the Selective Service Act of 1948 expired in 1973, and since you can't discontinued something that doesn't exist, the draft couldn’t have been discontinued, but it is unlawful now, hence banned. They even believed the draft was mentioned in the Constitution, and when they cited the article, they don’t even know that the article from which they’re basing their arguments on doesn’t even support their opinions. The authors never considered a national draft. How could they? They were concerned, however, with funding an army, not drafting men. If the draft was already in the Constitution, then Selective Service Acts were unnecessary, correct? A brief but meticulous reading could had cleared any misunderstanding.
Reading comprehension, like speaking Latin, is becoming a lost skill. To accommodate many Americans, as the protesters, we need to dumb down the Constitution. It might be, for all sake and purposes, too convoluted for average readers. Experts say that the Constitution was written on a college or graduate level, and the average reading level, according to experts, in the country is between 7thor 9th grade. No wonder why the document is so often clumsily misinterpreted.
Perhaps we need a panel of celebrities to reword the Constitution in today's sophomoric jargon. It will be epic, rivaling the Vulgate, perhaps. Yeah, instead of " We the People", the revered document would read in today's argot, " Hey, What's Up? You got rights now. That’s hot!"