President? That threw me. Anything can throw you, if you aren't 100% prepared. I knew at that moment that I would have to be 'on' every minute of the remainder of the campaign.
So, Sarah Palin weighed in on Paul Revere's ride. The partisan Democrats are having a laff-fest. The Palin supporters are going crazy trying to defend, and going so far as to revising the Paul Revere page on wikipedia.
I have a degree in history. I focused on the Revolutionary War period. Here's my take:
- Paul Revere never would have said, "The British are coming". Revere was British.
- Revere was arrested by the British authorities and questioned. He apparently did tell them that the colonists were ready to use and protect their store of arms. Is that a warning? I think it could be construed either way.
- Revere probably didn't ring any bells or fire any shots. The accounts tell of one church ringing its bell.
She certainly had the deer-in-the-headlights look about her, though. I still don't get what Palin's appeal is to the Right. I first wrote about not getting her allure back in Nov 2009, and I still don't get it.
Anybody can screw up. Obama's '57 states, with one to go- Alaska & Hawaii', ranks high up there. I know as well as anyone that you have to be 'on' all the time, and that it is draining hard. But the frequency of Palin's gaffes, and the almost constant deer-in-the-headlights look? Wow.
Update: A very great article on this subject appeared in CNN. It is written by Kenneth Davis, author of the book, 'Don't Know Much About History'. Per Davis:
That's what I was going on about- the 'gotcha' politics, the hyperbolic response, and the mugging of history by both left and right.
The truth of Revere's ride, the long road to American independence and the real people behind that extraordinary moment is a far more compelling narrative of intrigue, courage and a life-and-death battle for power than the "bedtime story" version most of us recall from half-remembered third grade poetry.
But we prefer holding onto a tidy scenario of pride and patriotism that is neither accurate nor memorable, if we remember at all. Instead, we settle for ignorance, as periodic surveys of American knowledge of history routinely prove. Or we cobble together a sketchy narrative combining fact and fiction to comfortably fit our political agendas.
That is sad. And dangerous. It is sad because history is compelling, fascinating and instructive -- if we tell the real story.
But it is also dangerous when people "cherry pick" pieces of the story to suit their purposes, when the foot is cut to fit the shoe. A sanitized but incomplete, or worse, wildly inaccurate, version of history can be cited to support just about any political stand. Like scripture, the words and deeds of the Founders, mixed with bits and pieces of American mythology, are trumpeted to support positions on every issue from individual rights, states' rights, gun rights or gun control, to taxes, immigration, public prayer and, most dangerously, taking the nation to war.When American history is gutted, innocently, ignorantly or deliberately, the outcome can be deadly.