Carper talks Constitution
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 02:09
Democratic Senator Tom Carper headlined the department of political science and international relations’ James Soles Lecture on the Constitution and citizenship with a speech recognizing the importance of the constitution and Soles’ teachings last Friday.
Soles, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 75, was a university professor who taught courses in American government and public law from 1968 to 2002. According to Carper, Soles was honored twice as a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award in 1971 and 1983, as well as the Excellence in Advising Award in 1988.
Joseph Pika, professor of political science and international relations, introduced Carper by highlighting Soles’ contributions to the university. He said Soles provided inspiration to students he taught, advised and interacted with, including Carper.
“[Soles] was unique in being a lifelong teacher,” Pika said. “His job was to guide those he mentored towards their own answers.”
Carper began his speech by pointing out individuals in the audience who were connected with Soles and asked the audience to stand and recite the preamble of the Constitution along with him.
He specifically quoted the line, “To form a more perfect union,” and said compromise and communication were the keys to creating a more vibrant union. Carper said these words do not hold any meaning unless people understand their implication in politics today.
“We can’t pass a law that forces members of the House [of Representatives] or Senate to start trusting each other,” Carper said.
He said Soles helped many students embrace the Constitution by teaching them how to become better citizens. He guided them towards productive lives and successful careers through his positive teaching methods, emphasizing the importance of the “two C’s.”
Carper used an example of these qualities helping politicians from his undergraduate career. He said the country was facing the imminent collapse of social security around 1982. He said the fact that politicians could let this happen confused him and his classmates.
“We asked, ‘Why hadn’t someone done something?”’ Carper said.
He said that eventually, a group of politicians collaborated to prevent the collapse of social security. It made both Democrats and Republicans uneasy, but former President Reagan said anyone who criticizes someone from another party about supporting social security would be disowned, according to Carper.