December 18, 2018  |  

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Approach with Skepticism

Published March 29, 2017

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In your March 16 story “Assassins: Examining a System That Causes These Horrors,” you quote Stephen Sondheim as saying, “The U.S. Constitution guarantees the pursuit of happiness. It doesn’t guarantee the happiness.” In fact, there is not a single word or phrase in the Constitution that guarantees the pursuit of happiness. Those famous words appear in the Declaration of Independence.

That an adult American citizen does not know the difference between the 1776 document declaring our independence and our frame of government adopted in 1786-’87 is deeply disturbing; that a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright who purports to teach us about our history is so ignorant of our foundational documents hovers between farcical and tragic. The audience is justified in approaching this play with skepticism.

Michael Bellesiles

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