A Louisiana state Democrat doesn't want schoolchildren to get anywhere near the Declaration of Independence because it's racist and unfair.
State Rep. Barbara Norton opposes a new bill that would mandate schoolchildren in grades four, five and six to recite a portion of the historic document in the first class of each day. HB 1035 was presented by Republican state Rep. Valarie Hodges and did very well early on, sailing through the House Education Committee. But now the bill has stalled and is possibly dead.
Somehow it was considered controversial with some black members saying it would be better for students to recite portions of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech." One, Rep. Ed Price (D), wrote an amendment to the bill for students to do so. He said, “We fought a long way to get where we are today and I think Dr. King’s speech really personifies what has happened.”
But nothing compares to the assault on the Declaration of Independence made by Norton when she addressed Hodges on the state House floor last week saying:
"I'm not really sure what your intent is, but one thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal.
"When I think back in 1776, July the 4th, African-Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children would recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us, to ask those children to recite something that's not the truth."
Hodges responded in disbelief, "You don't think that all men are created equal? You think that's not true?"
Norton continued, with little assurance that she's actually read the document:
"Let me finish… and for you to ask our children to repeat the Declaration stating that all mens [sic] are free, I think that's unfair.
"In 1776, Dr. King was not even born. African-Americans were in slavery, so since they were in slavery, in the Declaration of Independence say [sic], we were all treated eq -- we were all created equal. we were not created equal because in 1776, July the 4th, I, nor you, nor any of us were born, nor was Dr. King born, so, we were in slavery. And to have our children to repeat, to repeat again and again documents that was not even validated [sic], I don't think that that's fair because we're teaching them a lie."
Hodges responded on Facebook, saying of her fellow members, "It is disturbing to see the lack of understanding of the founding of this country and patriotism." She then added a reminder to something Dr. King said during his most famous speech:
"When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Apparently, Norton doesn't know King's words as much as she'd like to think.
The fact that a bill could likely be dead that would give America's children a chance to recite the rights afforded to them by our Founding Fathers is a disgrace. But on this Memorial Day, remember those who still fought and died for all of our freedoms despite the dissenters and naysayers trying to tear down its foundations.