Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Give the Tea Party credit (sort of)

OK, so the bad news is that the Tea Party is coming for your children:

MALTA, Idaho — America's kids will be learning about the U.S. Constitution this coming school year with help from a decidedly conservative Idaho publishing house, if a tea party group gets its way.

The Tea Party Patriots, Georgia-based but claiming 1,000 chapters nationally, are instructing members to remind teachers that a 2004 federal law requires public schools to teach Constitution lessons the week of Sept. 17, commemorating the day the document was signed. And they'd like the teachers to use material from the Malta, Idaho-based National Center for Constitutional Studies, which promotes the Constitution as a divinely-inspired document.

The center's founder, W. Cleon Skousen, once called Jamestown's original settlers communists, wrote end-of-days prophecy and suggested Russians stole Sputnik from the United States. In 1987, one of his books was criticized for suggesting American slave children were freer than white non-slaves.

What's the good news? There is no good news. So why give the Tea Party credit? Because they're smart enough to know about this law and to use it to push out their, um, unique vision for America -- while people who say they care about a reality-based view of the Constitution complain but do nothing really to counteract them. It's not just the Constitution: The Tea Party and the likes of Glenn Beck and his right-wing radio cohorts promote maybe dozens of books every year with their own warped spin on the Founding Fathers, but no one spends much money or energy promoting...the truth. Do progressive-minded people believe this stuff doesn't matter? Because it would be stupid to think that.