We the People - Special Guest Kathleen Dickinson

Video Subtitles
hello everybody happy wednesday welcome
to my weekly constitution study group
today i have a very special guest i'm
very excited
to come talk with me bring some
knowledge and experience in the subject
matter which
we all know i'm brand new to all of this
trying to learn this uh
just as we all are uh so with uh no
further ado i'd like to introduce uh
kathleen um kathleen dickinson uh
could you please introduce yourself let
us know uh your experience
uh with the constitution and with uh
civil civic engagement
i'm delighted and i'm delighted to be
here today and be with you
i'm kathleen dickinson i am the program
director for the nevada center for civic
and i am the state coordinator for we
the people
project citizen and programs created by
the center for civic education
they are out of california we are in
nevada and we're statewide
and we do civics programming for
kindergarten through 12th grade
but because all the parents are involved
other community members are involved
with coaching the students
and being involved with the students
then it reaches
much wider audiences
and we the people basically is
correlating the us constitution with
current events
and so the students learn about the
history of the united states
its government and also other
countries and governments that led to
the building
of the u.s constitution and then
all the other things that go on with
supreme court cases
how they impact communities how they
impact our students and our teachers and
our citizens and
it is very dynamic and engaging for the
students to learn this way
we have hearings with we the people
in fifth grade seventh grade and twelfth
grade where community members come in
listen to a four minute presentation by
the students
and then ask them follow-up questions
six to ten minutes and then give them
feedback so it improves
communication skills critical thinking
skills research skills
team building it's really good to
bullying because students become
best friends who would not naturally
talk to each other or communicate with
each other
and then project citizen teaches about
public policy
so students are the ones who actually
what the policy is that they're going to
work on so it could be
their community at school on how
they get from one class to another it
could be
getting their gates locked up so that
they feel
safe it can be painting murals
on the walls on the outside of the
schools creating community gardens
creating language classes for people in
the community
getting crosswalks getting traffic
lights it can be
anything like that and then we also have
law day
which is a different theme each year by
the american bar association
and attorneys come into the classrooms
to talk about whatever the theme is
so one year it was the anniversary of
the miranda
morning one year it was the anniversary
of the magna carta
uh it's been involving with i have a
by martin luther king so lots of
different themes like that too
great i actually remember the we the
program when i was in high school it was
actually a big deal the
team or the teacher i should say at my
school was really into it and he used to
the team and i think a couple of years
that i was there
they had actually won first place um and
i unfortunately didn't get involved in
that program i was um
really dedicated into my sports and was
focused on some other projects and so
pass that
up and i really kind of regret that now
uh because i did have several friends
that did that program
and you're right yeah they did form lots
friendships and um i think they were
a lot more equipped handling um
some of the things in like university
that we don't really
uh see as skills taught in high school
uh public speaking and um
just debate and how to process ideas
even if they're not your own ideas
um yeah it was kind of envious that i
didn't do that program
so mike litt who introduced us
he had told me you were involved in we
the people's like oh i got to talk with
her and hopefully she'll want to come on
here and
and talk with me um in this context
because i kind of feel like i'm making
up for a lost time
and not being involved in that kind of
not involved but engaged
right not being engaged with that kind
of curriculum uh which
you know at that age and i've talked
about this over and over again during
this series that when you are
in high school you may be intelligent
you may be able to read the words
uh and speak the words but really
connecting with those concepts at that
age with that lack of experience
of being out in the world interacting
with other human beings
uh within society uh it wasn't relevant
to me and so it didn't stick so i feel
like i'm like making up for all that
lost time now
um what what's going on this year
with that program with the distance
learning going on
what kind of changes have you guys
adapted to actually it's been
very busy in a normal year
the national competition would have
taken place in
the washington dc area and two of our
high schools
would have gone to that in person and
then they would have been able to have
gone to all the different
buildings that dc has to offer and they
would have had
their hearings in person but because of
covet 19
we had the hearings virtually and so we
were able to
have the judges come in virtually and
schools actually participated virtually
and they did very well
our reno high school came in sixth
nationwide and our
high school came in 11th nationwide well
then in june and july we offered
uh trainings for teachers so we had 22
teachers in june and 24 teachers in july
normally that would have been in person
also but this year
we were able to do it virtually so we
were able to have a virtual
field trip of the mob museum which went
very very well we had
scholars who spoke on the 1918 pandemic
the constitution the federalist papers
the history of our government
and women's suffrage since this is the
100th anniversary of women's suffrage
so those teachers now are equipped
to go into their classrooms virtually
and do distance teaching on
all of these subjects and more we
are providing ebooks and
regular paper textbooks for the teachers
to use
in their classrooms and actively
has will be the people textbooks
for all the grade levels and they are
under achieve
3000. clark county school district has
purchased the license for achieve 3 000
so all the teachers have that access so
that's really great
and then the state we're providing
ebooks and
textbooks so yeah a lot of people
have been skeptical about how effective
distance learning is but i think if
if done well and done in an engaging way
it could actually be keep you even
busier um
and scaling the accessibility right so
like when
when mike lit first told me uh and by
the way i met mike litt through
uh the elizabeth warren campaign which
was actually like my first step
into my you know modern manifestation of
civic engagement now
using my platform my business's platform
to engage the community um
when he was working on elizabeth
warren's campaign during the primaries
he wanted to host an event and so he was
sitting here in my tea room we had a
very successful
more of a community roundtable i'm
really trying to keep things as
non-partisan as possible but still
trying to keep the conversation going so
anyway mike
had emailed me just to check in see how
i'm doing and he told me about you
and i said wow that's amazing
we could like uh have like two
you know two outcomes of
engaging students that are usually
keeping this education within
their classroom we can utilize tools
like streaming like what we're doing
um to to scale that education and
engagement uh
not only to like their parents and to
their immediate families
but also to the community no one better
to be
uh teaching this stuff than children
right because
it's like children or children young
adults you know i kind of
meaning that people that have yet to uh
be indoctrinated in in one ethos or
another which a lot of times gets in the
um you know of having a productive
learning experience um because yeah
with the constitution there's definitely
a lot of
interpretation and um
there's nothing like listening to 10
year olds argue
whether we should have a death penalty
or not or argue
whether anyone should ever lose their
right to vote
and they do it very civilly you know
very politely with each other
and put forth their arguments and put
forth their opinions
and they are just it's the best age
group to work with
um because middle schoolers have a lot
going on with their growth spurts
and all kinds of social interactions and
then high schoolers
often have jobs and boyfriends
proms what college are they going to
what military service are they going to
those kinds of things so 10 year olds
and 11 year olds are just amazing
yeah and you know i'd much rather watch
you know 10 year olds trying to decipher
you know these very
deep ideas and conflicts um
and in their own ways you know what's
that that prime time tv show that was
really popular
um kids say the darnest things you know
take some form of entertainment like
that but infuse
education infuse civic engagement into
i'm really enthusiastic about trying to
support a platform for that i actually
have a friend that's running for
and he's under the independent party
he's a decentralist so i guess in those
terms you'd call it like an
um uh he's a leader in the blockchain
community and actually my company is is
a leader in the blockchain community as
well we're actually one of the first
companies in the world to work with
uh all for a better good you know we're
all just trying to find more
efficiencies and more
distribution of power back to the
in our case it's farmers we work with
farmers in rural parts of the world that
usually are most definitely marginalized
forgotten about and
left out of the value exchange
and so anyway my friend that's running
for president by by the way his name is
brock pierce if you want to research his
his platform
um he's actually building an open source
so and he's he's running not as himself
but as a movement
more like it it's it's interesting it's
uh you know i don't pierce
uh p-e-a-r-c-e or p-i-e-r-c-e the second
yeah the second one yeah yeah brock
pierce yeah he used to be a child movie
uh and then he turned an entrepreneur
and then he got involved in
in cryptocurrency which is definitely a
global politics
you know world uh and then he actually
did quite a bit of work in puerto rico
he built um you know some
infrastructures after the hurricane
there and um now he's running for
president but anyway i
was suggesting to him on his platform
that he should have like these
not only is it a platform where you go
listen to what this potential politician
is wanting to offer uh in policy but
also uh
education platform too uh because that
seems to be
a big gap um you know in the voter in
the voting community
is uh the fact that we're having
arguments about whether or not we need
to wear a mask or not
is it shows a lot about our education
uh around the constitution and around
what the government
is meant to serve us for um and so he's
providing a lot of that education and i
i was telling them yeah you should have
you know like uh virtual portals where
people can just go down a rabbit hole
learning about the constitution learning
about our country's history
right i mean even the history of
political parties is fascinating
um and when you study that it kind of
removes those binds that we've been
in politics and actually i feel
has inhibited people from engaging
or voting they just feel like you know
it's a broken system um which means you
know there's always room to fix it
that broken system has been fixed
several times over since the
constitution's been written
um so there's no reason why we can't be
questioning things
now um so yeah
maybe in the future we'll be able to uh
a platform and i would love 10 year olds
to be at the helm of that i think that
would be incredible
well we do have um hearing schedules
december 12th
we have our district invitational which
is going to be statewide
and then march 13th we will have it for
elementary middle and high school
levels they will showcase at their
and so we also have a plc so it's
nvcce.org is our website
and a lot of the information and the
upcoming lecture series
will be posted on there that was
n is in nevada v is in victor
d is in center c is in civic
yeah e is in engagement okay
okay i just put that link up on the
comments if anybody is interested in
looking into that
um yeah that's great so what about
the lecture series is open to all adults
oh great
we're kicking it off september 17th with
constitution day
and we're partnering with unlv for a
panel discussion that evening
at 6 pm but we're also going to have
a presentation at 3 30 that day with
former oregon justice sue leeson who's
going to talk about
the federalist anti-federalist and the
1918 pandemic and how it
corresponds to today's pandemic and
she's a great speaker
so it's going to be a wonderful event
and then there's also other lecture
series that are available through the
center for civic education
who i mentioned earlier who began we the
people in project citizen back in 1987.
um that's the nevada civic
center for civic engagement or is that
like a larger
national organization the national
is the center for civic education okay
sometimes the nevada organization is
nevada center for civic engagement
all right now i've got all the acronyms
right i got them all right now
great um and so then those lectures are
those like gonna be
through uh zoom rooms or are those going
to be
like streams or through they will be
through zoom rooms
so it will all be virtual everybody's
allowed to
um attend and i'll send you the links
okay as uh we get them so that you can
put the word out if you'd like to great
yeah i know i definitely will
um and i would love to try to help
amplify that um maybe offline i can talk
to you about ways that i could help with
um you know getting getting that content
to a wider audience than just in that
the the zoom meeting itself
there's a lot of potential there but
yeah that
speech sounds really amazing those are
like topics that have um
you know kind of been repeated over and
over again one topic that i'm surprised
hasn't been you know focused
more is looking back at the 1918
and seeing the parallels to now i
actually found this really incredible
uh collection of documents uh it's
um influential archives
or influenza archives.org
i believe i'll put the link up but it's
a collection of
um academically written
compiled stories of 50 different cities
in the u.s
of the response to the pandemic
and it even has the data about like how
closures lasted what were the mask
and then what were the outcomes of each
city and i feel like
if we have read those documents from day
we you know we would be so much more
prepared but it's it's so interesting
how much of a disconnect
there is between what's happening now
and what we know has happened in the
that is true because the ebola crisis
wasn't that long ago
the soros crisis was not that long ago
even the polio crisis of the 1930
1940s president roosevelt
wound up contracting it which was
unusual at the time as an adult
but that basically was a virus
that needed a vaccine to prevent it
and it basically was a pandemic but it's
often referred to as a pandemic
yeah um
yeah it's pretty incredible and it's
really interesting though
how the constitution gets brought up as
a weapon on both sides
of defending their arguments um
and so yeah maybe we can go into a
little bit of that
like you know something that's been you
know a hot topic and usually whenever i
talk with someone else i like to ask
their opinion and their experiences with
um but you know the whole like how do we
defend the argument of the
constitutionality of
mandates to wear masks is that something
the students you know the common good is
something that is always taught
in all civics classes and
so i think the masks are a good example
of what benefits the common good
because we're preventing the sharing of
the virus
with anybody that we come into contact
because even though there's so much more
we need to
know about covet 19 that we don't know
that they're still learning about
initially they did not have good
on who was most vulnerable to
contracting it
and i'm not sure that they still do
because apparently people who have
survived it
can be re-infected so that antibodies
aren't necessarily working against it
but to basically go to your question i
common good um covers
all aspects of it that by wearing a mask
you don't necessarily know if you have
it or not
if you don't show symptoms but you're
protecting not only yourself but you're
protecting others
from contracting it yeah
yeah but what about
our right what about our our
our civil rights you know to do what we
you know what what part of the cause
your simple right to
infect somebody else to harm somebody
yeah well the okay so i i have
family even uh that uh and they are in
like the high risk
category and um their perspective on it
is that
they have a right to die if they you
know like they
they weigh their priorities in life and
you know being isolated you know i think
similar to whether we wear seat belts or
not yes
whether we wear motorcycle helmets or
or bicycle helmets or not so
a society has to pay
for the hospital bills of
those who refuse to wear helmets who are
in an accident
or refuse to wear seat belts and are in
accident so if you can afford
and you want to be that uncomfortable
because apparently covet 19
is not comfortable it hurts your joints
your lungs causes coughing
tiredness exhaustion it's a painful
virus to contract and
it's also an expensive one if you have
to spend several weeks in the hospital
yeah so if you
want to pay those prices
and suffer those consequences then yes
it is your right to do so
okay but then not your right to infect
someone else
and so that's that's where i think
there's kind of a line drawn in this
um right because it involves other
people um
but uh yeah it's it's it's so
to uh so like the origins of doing this
whole program that i'm doing right now
uh originally came from an article that
i read
about six months ago well it's probably
even longer now
like six months is like a vacuum gone
away maybe it's like
you know eight months ago i read this
article uh um
active duty military member uh was
making commentary about you know the
of military and his observation
that him and his peers had all taken an
oath to protect this thing that
they had never studied a day or a second
of or engaged with a second of their
um and i thought that's kind of
interesting right because even a
or you know uh military members they all
take this oath to protect the
and you know if you're not engaged with
it like what is your purpose like what
your your values um and so i wanted to
this kind of like a bible study group
but for
constitution and and uh engage active
duty military
with covid can't really do that right
now and so
but then whenever i started hearing
everybody making these arguments about
my constitutional right this my
constitutional right that
um i decided to
you know put it up on the internet for
everybody and
the arguments are still there you know
and there's still things that i'm
i'm kind of unclear about the thing that
like i'm unclear about maybe you can
give me some
some idea or some inspiration of maybe a
different perspective to look at this
is in regards to militia
and uh you know
trying to understand the historical
context of when the constitution was
written and
what the second amendment meant versus
what it means
now right and what like yeah
like what what are some of the ways that
i can look at it to better understand
um when we began as a country
we began with a war basically
and so at that time we were a new
country we were 13 colonies
so those 13 colonies were not
necessarily united
in the beginning they had to work
towards uniting
and so we
did not have an army or a navy or an air
or any of those services marines
and so an organized militia became
that organized and
organized in a way to fight the british
for our freedom from britain
but then after a fashion after
we started to develop our bill of rights
our constitution and that was
put into the second amendment as
an amendment because at that point we
did not necessarily have an army i mean
george washington was basically
the leader of the first army that we had
in the united states
um i do not think our framers
had any idea that they were going to be
ak-47s or assault rifles
or weaponry like that
that would be created and
available to anybody
that was not going to be part of
an organized militia and
granted at that time weaponry was
to protect oneself from
wild animals or from
any endangerment but again i still don't
think they had it in mind
that they would have ak-47s
um and so i think it probably needs to
revisited it's not necessarily the best
written amendment
out of the 27 amendments that we have
so it probably would not hurt for
somebody to take the lead to
rewrite it to make it a more practical
amendment what would that process look
well it's sort of like the equal rights
amendment um has only just been ratified
and it took decades
to ratify a couple of other amendments
that we have
so the amendment process is not
a fast process so someone has to
take the lead in creating the amendment
and then it has to be ratified by 38
and so convincing all the 38 states
to go ahead and ratify same thing with
the right to vote for women's suffrage
that took many decades to happen
and to actually implement so
the amendment process is not a quick one
and the reason they claim that
that is the case is because
it needs time to be discussed
on all sides of the issue probably one
of the
faster a couple of the fastest like the
18th amendment was prohibition
that probably happened too fast
because then the 21st amendment was
in order to undo the 18th amendment
and then the 26th amendment was to
lower the voting age to 18. and that
seems like it was relatively quick
because it came about during the vietnam
um but again these are things that
do take time yeah
i had another question um when i first
started doing this
and i was like reading what the
amendment process was like so
you have the process that you mentioned
but then it's also written
that there could be a constitutional
and i'm curious about that like what
would that look like and is that
possible like
could we have like a complete re-haul of
you know constitution and our government
if everybody was able to
to come together well i think
you would probably have all of the
congress people
and all the senators be a part of
such a convention and
if you've watched c-span at all or
cnn when there's been discussions or
on capitol hill you have an idea of what
that would look like
it wouldn't be as simple as the
philadelphia convention
that took place in the 1700s
when you're only dealing with 13
so um it would be possible
to answer your question on whether it
was possible yes
would it be an amazing thing to watch
and listen to yes
and they have to really figure out a
really strong agenda
and a really strong
set of rules on how they were going to
have the discussions and how they were
going to
keep track of the votes and
any piece of it that would be voted on
well i mean the thing that's kind of
cool to think about it's like i'm
imagining like a virtual forum
where everything is digital and so then
ever all the counting of votes and
the collection of data would just be
plugged in and built
in um yeah i i
believe like with the leader like my
friend brock if if he was to ever
get into a position of leadership that
would probably be something that he as a
leader would
you know um make happen it's just like
just pull out the drawing board let's
see what we're already working with
see where the challenges are and work
through this um
i'm a very optimistic person so that was
like my first i
idea that came through when i was
reading it and i told my friend who is
um i think she has like a
advanced degree in international
politics and i told her about it and she
says no at least that would be an
absolute [ __ ] show it wouldn't happen it
couldn't happen they wouldn't let that
it um quite an undertaking
yeah so uh robert's rules of law
or robert's rules of order and somebody
who really understood that well
what is that robert's rules of order um
you can google it
okay and it's basically how to run a
um without too much chaos
oh okay cool so there are
people who are practitioners and who are
called parliamentarians
and so when you're having any kind of a
meeting where you know that you're going
to have to have conclusions drawn
you want a parliamentarian in that
meeting because they will know how the
votes need to happen
yeah has anybody in the past
ever proposed a um
a second amendment
modification um in the past
well it's um aspects of it has probably
brought forth to the supreme court but i
don't know specifically
okay when or how that has happened so
i'm not really
sure if it has been or not because yeah
it just seems that like
gun law is a very hot button um
and it is yeah and it feels like
any laws or any you know policies would
just be add-ons
and i feel like if we went to the source
of the arguments and modified that
we may find some some better solutions
um i think that there have been
solutions proposed
that seem relatively logical that
you don't want somebody who's convicted
of domestic violence having a gun
you don't want someone who has
been involved in violent crimes
having a gun um
and then there's the question of mental
illness which may be more of a
controversial subject
because who's to decide what mental
illness is
and what does that mean exactly
um but as far as the first two items
i don't know that they need to be that
would you really want to eat the meat of
an animal that you riddled with an ak-47
or with any kind of assault weapon
because it would be kind of hard to take
all the shrapnel
and everything else out of that meat so
i mean there's a i think a logic
and maybe a common sense that
can be um involved in the process
of strengthening or changing some of the
aspects of gun laws yeah
and i think the main problem has been
that the data banks have not been kept
up to date
and so there's been situations where
bought a weapon and then used it three
days later
in a mass shooting but they
were not given that waiting period
and it was not determined that they
ought not to have been sold the gun
so there's that piece of it that i think
probably if all the laws that are
actually in place were actually
implemented it would be fine yeah yeah
huh another interesting
solution that blockchain could provide
you know hosting these databases these
transparent real-time
verifiable data databases of something
really important about
you know who should have have the right
purchase a firearm or not
another question i have about militias
specifically maybe not so much about gun
um because i feel like that's where the
argument always goes is to gun laws
immediately and i'm like well what about
militia like
the term still exists there are
organized militia that are still a very
big part of our country and then there's
this whole category of
all right

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