Parents: This Fall, Beware Tea Partiers Dressed Up as James Madison
by Doug KendallThis is infuriating!
When I was growing up, my mom warned me each fall about Halloween candy with a hidden razor blade. As a parent, the thing I'll be most scared about this fall is the prospect of Tea Partiers coming to my child's school dressed up like James Madison to "teach" the U.S. Constitution.
It is undoubtedly the case that all our kids could use a good civics lesson, but these modern day Madisons are peddling snake oil, not real history. Mother Jones reported yesterday that, during Constitution Week in September this year, the so-called "Tea Party Patriots" are planning to pressure school boards across America to allow them into our schools to teach our children about the Constitution using materials from the National Center for Constitutional Studies, an organization founded by a genuinely scary individual named W. Cleon Skousen, a far-right conspiracy theorist with links to the John Birch Society who passed away in 2006.
As reported in both The New York Times and Mother Jones, NCCS materials and seminars -- at times led by instructors who dress up in period costume -- teach the views of Skousen, who concluded that "most federal regulatory agencies are unconstitutional, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Communications Commission," and who also called "for the repeal of the 16th and 17th Amendments, which he view[ed] as an affront to states' rights." Skousen also apparently wanted to repeal Social Security for the same reason.