A leading Democratic senator’s wife has publicly denounced the nation’s founding governing document as well as the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, claiming they both enshrined “slavery,” though the institution has been outlawed by the same founding document since the mid-1860s.
Anne Holton, wife of U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 election, made her remarks as Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) new history standards were approved 5-3 by the Commonwealth’s Board of Education, of which she is a member.
“To an audience as inclusive as our Virginia is, you cannot reference the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as ‘remarkable documents’ without also acknowledging that they [are] fundamental in enshrining slavery, and limiting the protections that they provided only to white property-owning men,” she said.
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) November 24, 2022
Constitutional scholars have argued that one of the most brilliant aspects of the founding document was the inclusion of a process to change or amend it, which is what happened following the Civil War, which was fought, in large part, to eradicate the institution of slavery. Following the war, Congress passed and states ratified three new amendments which not only outlawed the practice but also instilled broader rights for blacks.
As for Holton, she “served as Virginia’s Secretary of Education under former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who tanked his own campaign against Youngkin by making anti-parent remarks regarding the education of the Commonwealth’s children,” Breitbart News reported.
“The history standards were written at least in part to correct disinformation and anti-America propaganda injected into the curriculum through the use of critical race theory — something Youngkin ran on during his campaign,” the report continued.
In a Richmond Times-Dispatch piece written by Jillian Balow, the Virginia superintendent of public instruction and executive officer of the Virginia Board of Education, she argued that the new standards actually reinvigorate history and civics as important to the American and Virginian identity.
“American history and the tenets of our founding documents are not trivia to be Googled when needed and then quickly forgotten,” she wrote. “There is an increased emphasis on civics, beginning in the early elementary grades. As students advance, they learn about the vision of our Founding Fathers and its relevance today. George Washington is again ‘The Father of Our Country’ and James Madison is again ‘The Father of the Constitution.’”
The Youngkin administration’s stated goals have always been to tell all of history, “the good and the bad,” truthfully.
“The draft also rejects ‘presentism,’ a historical lens that places historical figures in the dock for trial and condemnation according to contemporary standards but is unflinching in its examination of eras when America did not live up to its founding ideals, including the dispossession of native nations and tribes, slavery, the Jim Crow era, and the race-based exclusion of Asian immigrants,” Balow noted.
As for Sen. Kaine, he is up for reelection next year.