Supporting the Bill of Rights
Now that you have learned about how our government was formed and how our basic rights are protected by our
Constitution, you are ready to think about how a good citizen acts responsibly in a democracy while protecting the
rights of others.
At the last meeting of the city council there was a discussion about what to do with a new piece of property that just became available to the town when a huge old parking lot was torn down. A vote on what to do with the property will be taken at the next meeting.
You represent the citizens of this town on the town council. You know your community well and you know that certain interest groups will attend the meeting and will want their opinions considered. For example:
You are pleased that the citizens of the town will want to become actively involved in deciding how to use this property. However, you want this meeting to be orderly and to reflect the way we make decisions in a democracy. This process has evolved over time and involves our basic rights and responsibilities as citizens.
- Your district has a local chapter of "Bicycle Riders of American." They want bicycle trails.
- Your district has more retired people then it does children. These retirees are counting on a new Senior Citizen Center.
- Your district has a large number of small business owners who know that a large department store might drive smaller stores out of business.
- Some of your constituents are concerned that the youth in the community have little to do and they want a youth center.
Create five guidelines for the meeting that will allow for full discussion of the issues involved. Be sure you have a guideline for each of the following:
Now model the process for convincing others how the property should be used. Use your freedoms of expression to convince a majority of the participants of your idea for using the property. Let the participants know how you considered the rights of the minority when making your decision. Make some notes and then make your presentation to the group (your class). The group will let you know how well you did by providing you feedback in the following four areas:
- Freedom of assembly
- Freedom of speech
- Importance of full participation in the political process
- The common good
- Majority rule with the protection for minority rights
- Interpretation (Skills and Processes)
- Content Evidence and Support
- Communication and Presentation
- Conceptual Understanding