Constitution Day

Mark your calendars and plan to join us for Constitution Day! This
year’s celebration is being held in the Russell Union Commons on
September 16th from 1-3. After an introduction and welcome at 1 pm, the
GSU Idol will perform the National Anthem, to be followed by a group
recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the Preamble to the
Constitution. We will have a student and faculty speaker on the topic of
“Your Vote Counts.” Dr. Debra Sabia, Professor of Political Science,
will provide an intriguing perspective on voting, why it matters, and
the electoral process. This will not be the usual call to vote, folks!
The abstract of Dr. Sabia’s speech follows, to entice you to attend next
week’s event.

“We the People…is the single most important part of the
Constitution.  The reason is simple: It announces the point of the
entire enterprise”.   Stanford Levinson

“The painful struggle for the right to vote has always been based on the
belief that voting matters. The conventional wisdom is that voting
exercises influence over the laws and public policies that our
representatives produce.  Utilizing an Elite Theory perspective, I will
argue otherwise.

In the United States elections are largely symbolic.  Elections provide
citizens with a sense of inclusiveness in the political process which in
turn contributes to the legitimacy of our political system but elections
do little else.  For one, candidates seldom offer the American people
clear policy choices, nor are candidates bound by the campaign pledges
they make to us.  The late historian, Howard Zinn (1922-2010), has argued
that if nothing else, U.  S. history should remind us that government
responds to the will of the people only when it is forced to do so by
direct action.  Despite this dismal reality I will spend time talking
about why voting matters and what it can more realistically accomplish.

In addition to the subject of voting I will also talk about the
electoral process.  Democratic theory holds that democracies should
represent the will of the people. But, exactly how is that will to be
determined?  In this discussion I will argue that the common good can be
determined by electing ordinary citizens to public office.  The problem,
of course, is that in the United States it is increasingly impossible
for ordinary citizens to run against billionaires.  The rest of my
lecture will discuss what Americans can do to address the serious
deficiencies of the American electoral process.”

There will be a student group-sponsored voter registration drive going
on until 3 pm, and we will have a drawing for door prizes. The first 150
attendees will receive their own Pocket Guide to the Constitution,
provided by Congressman John Barrow. Watch the George-Anne for a
Constitution Day crossword puzzle, coming soon!

Lori Lester
Government Documents Librarian

Posted in Events and Exhibits, Government Documents, Resources and Services

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