Tea Party history 101: the Herman Cain edition

Herman Cain, one of the declared candidates for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, said this:

We don’t need to rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America, we need to reread the Constitution and enforce the Constitution,” Cain said. “And I know that there are some people that are not going to do that, so for the benefit of those that are not going to read it because they don’t want us to go by the Constitution, there’s a little section in there that talks about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

“Because that’s when it says when any form of government becomes destructive of those ideals, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it,” he added.

Cain needs to reread the Constitution. Why is it these Tea Party patriots throw the Constitution in your face when they’re trying to make a point, but end up quoting the wrong piece of parchment? What Cain is talking about is the Declaration of Independence, a completely different document written 11 years earlier.

And why is it Tea Baggers harp endlessly on the need for today’s laws to be in adherence with what the founding fathers intended?

Thomas Jefferson, the writer of the Declaration of Independence and one of the founding fathers, wrote this:

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

Contrary to what this may sound like, I don’t spend countless hours poring through American history books looking for obscure quotes to show that Tea Baggers and the Republican politicians who enable them haven’t the slightest idea of what they’re talking about. I rode my bike over to the Jefferson Memorial today. That quote is written on the wall.

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