June 18, 2011
Commentary: U.S. history in the time of 'truthiness'
By Terry Plumb | The Rock Hill Herald
Why can't elitist pundits give Sarah Palin a break?
They jumped all over the erstwhile vice presidential candidate for saying Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride to alert the British. Sure, some fuddy duddies tried to argue that it was the colonists Revere was warning that, "The British are coming! The British are coming!"
Rather than concede that, while her critics were correct in a literal sense, Palin counterpunched, pointing out what is obvious to all right-thinking Americans: Revere was messaging the Brits that there was no way Americans would give up their Second Amendment rights.
What's the big deal about historical accuracy, anyway?
If Paul Revere had anything vital to convey, he should have tweeted. In 144 characters or less, he could have warned the redcoats that not only wouldn't our guys lay down their arms, but they also weren't going to accept taxation and -- if they didn't watch out -- we would toss their Red Bull into Boston Harbor.
Some say Palin is using her cross-country bus tour to rally support for a run at the White House. That's unfair. What she's really doing is visiting sites where historically significant stuff occurred that forged American family values.
For instance, you may not have heard but the Mama Grizzly gave a stirring tribute to Patrick Henry on the floor of Independence Hall. She quoted from his most famous challenge to the British oppressors: "Give me death or a lifetime membership in the NRA!"
Or when she dressed up like Dolly Madison and carried the first family's 48" inch HD TV screen out of the White House to keep it from being repossessed by the British during the War of 1812. "Shoot, if you must, this old gray head," she shouted, "but do not harm my framed photograph of Ronald Reagan."
Speaking of the War of 1812, I can't wait to see the Fox News account of how Palin portrays Charlton Heston's heroic stance at the Alamo. That's when he single-handedly turned back Gen. Santa Anna and his horde of illegal aliens, preventing them from taking jobs from hard-working Americans and denying them free education and Medicaid.
She'll then motor up to Montana and on the banks of the Little Big Horn bring the audience to tears by quoting Gen. George Custer's famous last words. That's when he delivered his challenge to the leader of the Sioux Nation, Chief Noc-A-Homa: "You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers!"
Nor will Palin neglect important history of more recent vintage. Next week she's going to appear with Rush Limbaugh and recite from the text of one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's fireside chats -- when he announced he was lowering the highest tax rates for businessmen like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates. She may also recite FDR's most famous quotation: "We have nothing to fear but tax-and-spend Democrats."
And just to show there isn't a biased bone in her body, Palin will drive to Montgomery, Ala., where she will re-enact Rosa Parks' act of defiance, attempting to use the Business Class lavatory on a U.S. Airways flight. She'll follow this with quotations from Martin Luther King Jr.'s best known speech, in which he called for mandatory photo ID for voters and prayed for the day when little black children and little white children could attend their private schools of choice, thanks to tuition vouchers.
The great American entrepreneur Henry Ford once said, "History is bunk." Ford, of course, lived during those unenlightened decades when people thought history was supposed to be a record of what really happened.
Sarah Palin is fortunate to have come to political maturity when Stephen Colbert has liberated us from the tyranny of facts. Truth is no longer sufficient, according to Colbert. What is needed for these trying times is Truthiness. Loosely defined, that means what you believe doesn't actually have to be true; it's enough for you to want it to be true.
And if Paul Revere doesn't like it, he can go suck an egg.
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