Irrational discourse and political high jinks are proof that we are far from establishing a sense of common national purpose. The Tea Party movement, birthers, and a new group, the “Tenth-Amendment Task Force,” are converging to further disrupt an already fractured political landscape. Adding to the overall convulsive atmosphere, virulent gun advocates and self-styled revolutionaries calling themselves patriots and constitutionalists are distilling a poisonous brew that bodes ill for the country.

Republican representative John Culberson, of Texas, advocates for the tenth-amendment task force, based on the constitutional principle that powers not specifically delegated to the federal government reside with the states, like education and crime control. In Texas textbooks are now being revised to downplay the Civil Rights movement and evolution adding conservative views and non-scientific science courses. Texas school children are also required to be “bible literate” as a measure of their educational credentials. Sadly textbooks from Texas often find their way into school districts in other states, thereby jeopardizing the educational bona fides of students elsewhere. States rights may carry the day in Texas but education there can hardly be described as enlightened.