A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Friday, July 01, 2011

Michele Bachmann and the Spirit of 1776

Tea Party icon Michele Bachmann has made several attempts to co-opt the rebellious spirit of the American Revolution in her quest for the White House. So far, her adventures resemble more comic horse opera than patriotic gala extravaganza.

Consider these missteps:

In a previous appearance in New Hampshire, the Tea Party leader placed the beginning of the revolutions conflict in that state, and not where it actually happened in Massachusetts;

She insists and continues to insist — inaccurately - that the Founding Fathers worked hard to abolish slavery in this country;

She insists and continues to insist - inaccurately again - that John QUINCY Adams is one of our country's Founding Fathers;

She tried to invoke cinematic icon John Wayne when she declared — again inaccurately — that they were both born in Waterloo, Iowa, only to be called out on the falsity by a historically conservative newspaper!

Perhaps we should give the old girl credit for trying, but she wants to lead this country, not entertain us just for a few laughs.

The New Hampshire incident showed up her lack of geographic knowledge. This is an unfortunate trait which she shares with too many Americans. Even more alarming is her understanding of American history, which again she shockingly shares with so many Americans.

Recently, one of my cardio rehab mates complained about a report he heard noting the number of people who don’t know why we fought World War II and the Korean Conflict. This hit close to home for him; he served in Korea. I shook my head along with him as he told me the story, and I could hear the tears in his voice. Ironically, he identifies himself with the political movement that Bachmann wants to lead to the White House. Go figure!

The notion that the Founding Fathers fought to abolish slavery is a knee-slapping howler! In truth, several of these revered figures did keep slaves, struggling privately with the hypocrisy of the reality of their entrepreneurial situation, even while they put forth ideas declaring that all men are created equal. The author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, is often cited as the worst offender. However, we should point out that he did make an honest attempt to include the idea of freeing slaves within the Declaration. He and his fellow patriots like John Adams and Benjamin Franklin did put up a fight for a while, but eventually conceded the point just to get all of the colonies united against the British monarchy. It is a concession that haunts this country to this day.

Bachmann tries hard to make the case that Adams’ son, John Quincy, a slavery foe, was a Founding Father. Quincy was eight years old at the time the Declaration was produced and signed! He could hardly be considered as one of the Founding Fathers! True, he would begin helping father John within a few years and thereby starting his own life-long career in diplomacy and politics. Otherwise, he should be considered the son of a Founding Father, who built his own legacy within American history.

Then there are Bachmann’s attempts to raise the spirit of American rugged individualism as embodied by Hollywood legend John Wayne. Her argument was that she and Wayne shared the same birthplace, Waterloo, Iowa. Unfortunately, truth was not on her side.

The Washington Times — a historically conservative newspaper which theoretically should have had her back — questioned her assertion. They noted that Wayne was born in Winterset, not Waterloo, Iowa. Then, perhaps to twist the knife, they helpfully pointed out that the only John Wayne associated with Waterloo was John Wayne Gacy, one of America’s more notorious serial killers.

So, let’s do our own comparison. John Wayne, American film actor whose film roles and highly publicized political activities elevated him to God-like status in the eyes of super patriots. John Wayne Gacy lured 33 young men to sex-related torture and death before stuffing their bodies into the crawlspace of his home.

Oh sure! I can see how Michele Bachmann could have confused the two men...NOT!

Bachmann’s misadventures are actually doing some good. They make Sarah Palin, no slouch herself in interpreting American history for her own political advantage, look like a genius. They are energizing some radical Republicans to follow her blindly, while most of the Republican establishment is left to scratch their heads as they try to figure what to do with this loose cannon.

Then, of course, there is the reaction among the liberals and Democrats who are rolling around on the ground laughing. There’s no denying that she is extremely entertaining. However, even this shtick will get old. We’ll all stop laughing next spring if she makes any headway at all in the early 2012 primaries.

Then we run the risk of seeing our most cherished ideals buried like John Wayne Gacy’s victims — in the crawlspace of our American psyche.

(Thank you for reading! Have a safe Fourth of July!)


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