This morning and the Bucks Courier Times and Intelligencer announced a scholarship essay contest for Bucks County High School Seniors focused on Civics and creating a greater understanding and appreciation of U.S. History and our Constitution. 


Today, all too many people liberally toss around such terms as “freedom of speech”, “religious liberty” and “gun rights” to justify their own partisan and political ends, seemingly without any in-depth understanding of the Constitution, the historical context in which the document and its subsequent amendments were drafted and enacted nor the body of judicial law which has since defined and clarified their words and meanings.  

Tragically, a dark cloud of partisan tribalism has permeated our society to a point where the vast majority of Americans only watch or listen to media and other reports which seem to justify their myopic and often misinformed view of the world.  Like lemmings they regurgitate talking points served up by self-serving politicians and talking heads for whom truth has given way to alternative facts and conspiracy theories for their own selfish ends of ratings, re-election or monetary gain.

Over the past 30 years, our nation has become increasingly polarized to an extent where dangerous social and political schisms have emerged.  Compounding these trends is the public perception that our judicial system is becoming increasingly politicized along similar ideological lines.

The potentially disastrous result has been an enormous loss of confidence in many of our nation’s most critically-important and historically-trusted institutions. 

The January 6th assault on the Capitol illustrates how fragile our democracy truly is, how little regard many Americans have for its most important conventions and the number of people willing to embrace baseless conspiracy theories and outright lies and politicians who claim to love American but abhor our political system and whose ignorance of and disregard for the Constitution threatens both its guaranteed liberties and the future of our Republic.

While the causes for our deepening cultural schism are multifaceted, some of the blame rests on our educational system which has too often devalued requiring a thorough knowledge and understanding of Civics, the Constitution and U.S. History with watered-down versions of those courses, if required at all.


Neither regional media such as the Courier Times and Intelligencer nor through its limited on-line presence can hope to identify and broadly communicate workable and effective solutions to the challenges and dangers such attitudes represent for the future of our democracy. 

But that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t try … as the stakes are so high!

Changing the minds of older folks can be daunting. 

However, providing our “next generations” with a comprehensive understanding of civics and our nation’s history can enhance their critical thinking skills and provide them with the knowledge to;

  • acknowledge our founding documents and the type of government it shaped were flawed, yet they have ultimately created a society which has provided more people more freedom and more economic opportunity than any other governmental system in history;
  • recognize that with freedom and liberty comes responsibilities and limitations;
  • understand that people are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts;
  • distinguish between objective reporting and opinion pieces and dispassionately and factually scrutinize views of liberal, conservative and other sources;
  • confidently question and openly challenge the opinions of the print, electronic and social media and their sources as well as those of their local, state and federal leaders;
  • come to have a have a deeper respect for our country and its unique place in the history of civilizations.

Hopefully, the publicity surrounding the contest will also encourage a foundation for a greater dialogue among the residents of Bucks County about our Constitutional heritage.

Collectively, these can be invaluable steps toward preserving the fundamental principles and institutions on which our republic was founded and has endured for 245 years.


Interested public, private, charter, technical and religous high school seniors are encouraged to reread the Constitution and its subsequent Amendments; examine the political, social and other arguments and compromises which were debated throughout the drafting and approval processes; and research subsequent legislative and judicial actions which have since shaped its interpretation. … and then submit a 250-300 word essay on the selected topic;

What, if any, are, should be or should not be limitations on the freedoms granted and responsibilities imposed by the Bill of Rights … and why?

on or before Election Day, November 2, 2021. 

A select group of independent judges will evaluate all entries.

The announcement of winner and the $1,000 scholarship award will be made shortly after the first of the year at which time the Courier/Intelligencer and will jointly announce the winner and publish the winning essay.

We would appreciate your circulating information on this contest to your Neshaminy High School’s seniors.  Complete details can be found at