It should be revered and studied in every classroom in the nation. This is why a bill was introduced in the Louisiana Legislature by State Representative Valarie Hodges (R-Denham Springs) to require students in grades 4-6 to recite a portion of the Declaration of Independence along with the Pledge of Allegiance every day.
According to Hodges, the Declaration of Independence “is the cornerstone of our republic—and what gives us liberty.”
Incredibly, this seemingly patriotic and innocuous bill was strongly opposed by State Representative Barbara Norton (D-Shreveport) among others. Norton claimed that the Declaration of Independence was based on “a lie and that “all men are not created equal.”
House Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger III (D-New Orleans) agreed with Norton and said that at the time the Declaration of Independence was written, “men and women were not seen as equals…nor were blacks considered to be men equal to others.”
As a result of this opposition, Hodges pulled her bill from the legislative calendar, so Louisiana’s school children will not be able to benefit from a deeper understanding of the Declaration of Independence. Hodges expressed her sadness that such a “level of hatred was displayed against the Founding Fathers and the documents that give us the ability as women and black people and Caucasians to run for office.”
All Americans should be thankful that our country has founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence. We should not try to judge Thomas Jefferson by today’s standards of racial and gender equality. He wrote it during a much different era for a country that was just declaring its’ independence from an oppressive government.
Since that time, the United States of America has matured into the world’s superpower and experienced tremendous growth in terms of geographic size and population. Nonetheless, the importance of the principles outlined by Jefferson has not changed. As Jefferson wrote, Americans should never forget that we are “endowed” by our “Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”
The Declaration of Independence is one of the most significant documents ever written. It lay the foundation for the greatest nation in the history of mankind.
When it was signed by 56 courageous men, it was a blow for freedom that was heard around the world and the just demand for precious “unalienable Rights” still reverberates to this day.
The Declaration of Independence should be studied, memorized and revered by not only school children, but all Americans. To have today’s politicians find fault with this wonderful manuscript is a poor reflection on our current leadership.
Thank God, our Founders were people like Thomas Jefferson, not the politically correct critics that comprise the Louisiana Legislature.