In 2016, a federal appeals court struck down an Ohio law that provided penalties for lying during political campaigns. The reason? There is, in fact, a constitutional right to lie. Sure, you can be prosecuted for things like fraud, perjury, and libel, but those are exceptions. In general, constitutional protection for free speech does not depend on whether the speech is true. And when the topic is politics, untruthful speech is not only protected under the First Amendment, but enjoys the highest level of constitutional protection. Why? That’s what this talk is about. For twenty minutes or so, we’ll step back from the fray of partisan politics to take a look at the history and ideas behind our current system. After a brief Q and A, we’ll spend the rest of the program discussing the following questions: Have we, or have we not, reached a point in the history of our country where political lying has so disrupted our electoral system that the public good requires the establishment of legal limits comparable to those placed on perjury? If so, what should such a policy look like, and what unintended consequences might follow?
In order to protect our democracy in a time of globally growing authoritarianism, we must engage thoughtfully but with energy in working to strengthen the franchise, fight voter suppression, ensure fair courts and fight for transparency and fairness in our political system. Caroline Fredrickson, author of The Democracy Fix and Under the Bus, will discuss how these tenets are crucial in keeping the United States’ political system a government that is by the people and for the people.
The lecture will be broadcast through Facebook Live and Zoom. Afterwards, a live Q&A will be moderated by the President of the League of Women Voters of Delaware, Carol Jones.
Registration is requested but not required to view through Facebook live. Please note a Facebook account is not necessary to view the event. Registration is required to join through Zoom.
This program is brought to you in partnership with the Route 9 Library and Innovation Center. This program is also part of the “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” initiative. We thank the Andrew Mellon Foundation for their support and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.
Join Delaware Humanities and the National Park Service for our first ever Trek and (Virtual) Talk.
First, register for the discussion which will take place virtually on Thursday, October 29 at 6 PM.
After you register, you will be emailed readings related to nature and the environment. The readings will focus on topics such as bats, shad, invasive species, Piedmont geology, pollinators, wetlands, waterbirds/migration, and amphibians and reptiles. We encourage you to take these readings on the trail with you prior to the virtual event on October 29th. The readings were inspired by the scenic trails and Brandywine Creek vistas in the Brandywine Valley unit of the First State National Historical Park; however, if you can’t make it to these trails, you can hike and read on any trail or in any green space closest to you, or anywhere that you enjoy nature.
On Thursday, October 29 at 6 PM, we will discuss 3-4 of the readings and your reflections with Environmental Humanities professor Lisa Dill and park staff.
This program examines the impact of the so-called Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918 on Delmarva and nearby points. The virus took a grim toll on the Delmarva region, and it overwhelmed the health care system, forcing the region to shut down for an extended period. Although they didn’t call it social distancing at the top of the twentieth century, the methods they used to quarantine the contagion are similar to what we practice today. Thus, as the world struggles with the novel COVID-19 contagion, we will take a relevant look at the past to see how people in the region 102-years ago managed a similar situation, at a time when medical science did not have a treatment for the pathogen.
Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd, who met in 1839 and married in 1842, seemed at first glance to have nothing in common. Yet, they made a marriage that was probably one of the most consequential in American history, as they came to the White House in the midst of the country’s greatest crisis. This talk will look back at this improbable pair, their four sons, and the heartbreaking series of tragedies that struck the family before, during, and after the Civil War.
“You’re so earnest about morality that I hate to think how essentially immoral you must be underneath.”
George F. Babbitt has it all–a perfect house, a nice car, a doting wife, three kids, a thriving business, and the admiration of his community. But Babbitt is unhappy. His discontent leads him to question everything he has been taught to believe is important and to rebel, without fully realizing what his rebellion may cost him. Taking place during the roaring 20s, Sinclair Lewis’ satirical Babbitt (1922), explores consumerism, conformity, politics, and what it means to be middle class in such a way that his almost 100 year old novel is still extremely relevant today.
Babbitt is now in the public domain and can be downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg.
Ancient principles, the modern concept of criminal justice and the theory of restorative justice will be discussed as an alternative to the current justice system from the perspective of a former lawyer. Ms. Calvachi-Mateyko, a restorative justice practitioner, gives a brief overview of the challenges presented by the current punitive system and invites the participants to consider a different way to handle crime today.
“Why it Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation” is a national initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and aims to “explore civic participation as it relates to electoral engagement in a multivocal democracy”.
The Delaware Humanities project seeks specifically to examine and elucidate systems in the United States by putting our democracy into a global context. Our first lecture will be by our Project Scholar, Justin Collier. Mr. Collier is working on his Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware. His research areas include public diplomacy, nationalism, civic education, and international education.