Representative Barbara Norton, a Democrat from Shreveport, Louisiana, has gained a bit of infamy this week during the legislative session by taking to the floor to protest a bill that would require students be taught the Declaration of Independence.
Here are the words she actually said about our founding document:
REP. NORTON: Representative Hodges, 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 fourth, African-Americans were slaves. And for you to… you to bring a bill to request that our children will 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(1).
REP. HODGES: You don’t think that all men are created equal?
REP. NORTON: For you to ask our children to repeat the Declaration stating that all mens are free… I think that’s unfair. In 1776, Dr. King(2) was not even born. He was not even… African-Americans were in slavery. So, since they were in slavery, and the Declaration of Independence say we were all treated eq-… we were all created equal, we were not created equal because in 1776, July the fourth, I nor you nor any of us were born, nor was Dr. King born, so we were in slavery(3), and to have our children to repeat… to repeat again and again documents that was not even validated(4), I don’t think that that’s fair because we’re teaching them a lie.
I added the numbers in the transcript because I’d like to comment on some of this, if I may.
- Rep. Hodges asks this, too, but seriously: A lie? “All men are created equal” is a lie? This is a great way to start off your protest speech.
- What does Dr. King have to do with the Declaration of Independence?
- Oh I see… wait, is she saying Dr. King freed the slaves? What?
Honestly, I guess I kinda see what Rep. Norton is saying. She’s saying that the phrase “All men are created equal,” which is found in the Declaration of Independence, is a tad bit hypocritical, given that the white slaveholders who wrote it did not see fit to allow that phrase to include the slaves. However, that doesn’t make having kids learn to recite it unfair. In fact, the idea that “all men are created equal” is one that all kids should be learning if we want to take some of the lingering ill-will between the races out of our society.
Hahahaha. Just kidding. Let’s just remove all of the documents that make up our nation’s history from our children’s education. That’ll fix things.