Last night, Dr. Jane Goodall gave a wonderful lecture to a few thousand Bakersfieldians. Early in her talk she mentioned that University professors were horrified when she began her dissertation about Chimpanzees. Living among them she observed their social interactions and reported that they had feelings and felt pain, love, anger and bonded within their family structure. She also reported that they fashioned tools to use for foraging and digging. The teachers told her she was wrong. They were wrong.
It reminded me of a great American story about our Constitution that many fellow Americans are unaware of. It’s a great trivia question. What was the longest length of time in our history for states to ratify an amendment to our Constitution? The answer is 202 years, 7 months and 12 days. And it also proved, as Dr. Goodall did, that teachers can be wrong.
When James Madison saw that the years of work our founding fathers put into writing our Constitution was probably going to fail, he proposed 19 amendments that would satisfy some of the states (and we only needed 10 states to ratify back then). Many of the amendments were argued and thrown out. The number was whittled down to 12 and the states passed 10. They became our Bill of Rights.
The second amendment, of the twelve Madison proposed, was not the “gun rights” amendment. It was an amendment that disallowed Congress from voting itself a pay raise. Any votes to raise or lower pay could only apply after the next congressional election. It did not pass.
Now to my point of teachers can be wrong.
In 1982, a University of Texas student turned in a paper about that original second amendment. He stated the amendment was still “alive” to be voted on because the amendment did not contain a closure date. His teacher gave the student, Greg Watson, a “C’ and told him he was unrealistic in his argument. This pissed Greg Watson off.
He started a campaign to vote on the original 2nd amendment that Madison had written. By this time in our history we already had 26 amendments to our Constitution. He campaigned for this amendment for 10 years and it passed as our 27th amendment on May 7, 1992— 202 years after it was first proposed.
Teachers can be wrong.