Thursday, June 23, 2016

Voters get the ignorant elected officials they deserve

James Madison's Montpelier is hosting a workshop for educators about how to teach history and government better. NBC29 has the story:

Teachers across the nation this week are gathering at James Madison’s Montpelier inside the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution.

"We ask our students to be lifelong learners, and if we're not lifelong learners, then we're not uh fulfilling that on our own," said Jim Rossi; who teaches Social Studies in Maryland.

The James Madison Legacy Project allows teachers to dive into the history of U.S. government with special attention to the constitution.
Earlier this week, NBC29 had another story. This one featured a Charlottesville city councilor who could use some of the lessons taught at Montpelier.

In Kat Boardman's report on a City Council debate about gun laws, one city council member is quoted:
“The Constitution itself, in the body of the Constitution, talks about the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Gun violence in this country has denied thousands and thousands of people those basic rights,” said Kristin Szakos, Charlottesville city councilor.
Imagine this: in the City of Charlottesville, in the shadow of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, an elected government official talks about how the words "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are found "in the body of the Constitution."

Kristin Szakos
As my freshman English teacher at MUHS, Father Richard Forrey, S.J., would have berated an errant student: "Sorry! ZERO!"

The Constitution does not refer -- anywhere, in the body of the original document or in the amendments added since 1791 -- to "unalienable rights" or to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Those words appear in the Declaration of Independence, written by Charlottesville's own Thomas Jefferson.

For her ignorance of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, City Councilor Kristin Szakos needs to take a remedial course in American Government. And she ought to apologize to the community for so embarrassingly displaying her ignorance on local television and internationally on the Internet.

I mean, we'd expect something like this from Donald Trump -- but from an elected official who lives and works in Charlottesville?

Sometimes I think the voters get exactly what they deserve.