BOONVILLE — In celebration of Constitution Day which was Sept. 17, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx visited with students from Boonville Elementary School to discuss the essential national document.
“The Constitution is very important,” said the U.S. representative for North Carolina’s Fifth District as she touched on a bit of the history.
“It’s stood up in good stead over 230 years. That’s pretty remarkable,” said Foxx, “[for] a country that’s as vibrant as the United States and it’s been changed almost none since that time.
“We’ve only amended it since it was first adopted 17 times,” said Foxx, explaining that, in light of the 21st Amendment repealing the 18th Amendment, there were only 15 changes to the original document. “The first 10 of the amendments, The Bill of Rights, were put in when the Constitution was adopted.”
Foxx recommended regular reading and even memorization for every American citizen.
“This document is very short,” said Foxx. “If you put it on 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper and type it and double space like you would a term paper, that’s only 18 inches long.”
In spite of the brevity, it is crucial to the workings of the American government.
“It’s very important how the Constitution was laid out,” said Foxx. “The founders were very careful about everything that they put into the Constitution. Nothing in here was an accident. They thought about it a lot, and they argued about it a lot.”
One of the things the U.S. Constitution did was establish the powers of the government.
“They had just won their independence from England,” said Foxx, “and there was a despot king [who] didn’t treat them well. They didn’t want that to happen in this country. They didn’t want that one person who could rule their lives. ”
According to Foxx, that’s why the first three words, “We the people,” are written so large.
“They wanted the people to be in charge,” said Foxx, who is also the chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education.
Foxx explained to the students that they could have the opportunity to see that government in action if visiting Washington D.C.
“If you and your parents are in Washington, tell them you want to stop by my office,” said Foxx, who offered to take children 13 and younger on the House Floor to help her vote if possible.
“I’m in Washington most of the time Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday,” said Foxx, who also regularly spends lime locally. “I’m in Yadkin County probably every week. Sometimes you see me and sometimes you don’t.”
Principal Annette Johnson explained to the children part of Foxx’s job is, “to make sure that the voices of all of the people in the Fifth District are represented in Washington,” as well as to “[make] sure that the laws that the Constitution outlines are followed.”
“I really enjoy coming to schools like this,” said Foxx, who was herself the product of a small school. “If we had gone to a school with a larger classroom, we might not have gotten the attention [that lead to her illustrious career in politics]. It’s the fantastic teachers and principals like the ones here in Boonville that are so involved that really make the difference.”
Appreciating the recognition for her teachers more than herself, Johnson said, “Dr. Foxx did a wonderful job explaining her role in Washington and the importance of us recognizing Constitution Day. I thought the kids asked very good questions and hopefully as they continue into middle and high school they’ll learn a lot more about the Constitution.”
For the complete text of the Constitution of the United States of America, go to www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.