Okay, I made that quote up. Which brings me to Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman, who make their American history up. One would have to conclude that Palin’s refusal to admit her typically gibberish-couched spew about Paul Revere was incorrect reflects a fairly accurate portrait of her stubborn ignorance, thin-skinned intransigence, and in the absence of any knowledge of substance about virtually anything, her reliance on ideology-speak like the Revere blurb in place of thought or information.
At this point I don’t believe anyone really bothers attempting to alert Michelle Bachman to the stupidity of her historical faux pas. If she says the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord were in New Hampshire rather than in Massachusetts where they actually happened, well, okay Michelle, you’re right…New Hampshire it was.
What’s common to Palin’s and Bachman’s blunders though, not to mention to the ignorant historical revisionism that seems to be all the wingnut rage these days is the transposing of current right-wing ideological dogma into the history books. Palin’s ramble had little to do with actual history or with Paul Revere himself, but it did have a lot to do with the National Rifle Association and gun rights, and much current conservative posturing about freedom and patriotism. So Palin, with her brain empty of historical knowledge, instead commemorates a historical landmark with a nonsensical screed of strung together conservative buzz words. Wrong as her version of history was, at the current pace of conservative revisionism it will be less than surprising should it show up a year or so from now in a public school history book in the state of Texas.
It is true that Republicans have long suffered from these outbursts of Archie Bunker Tourettes: loud, wrong, and without there being a chance in hell they’ll admit they’re wrong. Ronald Reagan told the Prime Minister of Israel that while serving as a World War II photographer he had taken pictures of Nazi concentration camps. Of course, Reagan never visited or filmed a concentration camp. He spent the war in Hollywood making training films. But to his sort of credit, at least most of his historical revisionism was limited to himself.
When today’s crowd uses the world “constitutionalism” it means substituting the original wording of the Constitution with the Republican Party platform. And that’s all it means. For the fundamentalists and revisionists, everything that’s happened to the Constitution since the turn of the century…the 19th century, is liberalism run amok.
In truth, the last thing that’s important to Palin and Bachman and her fellow dogmatic revisionists is who we actually are, and who we actually have been as Americans, nor does our complex history have any importance for these myth-makers and propagandists. It would be nice if liberals could do a better job,a more forceful job of refuting and exposing the current right-wing attempted hijacking of history than they have with the previous and ongoing hijacking of patriotism, freedom and religion by this crowd of mendacious phony baloneys.
In a sense though, Sarah Palin has done us all a favor with her embarrassing and ignorant rearranging of Revere’s legacy, reminding us once again, to put it in a historical context, that this woman truly is dumber than Plymouth Rock.