Her history lesson

    With sincerest apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:Listen my children and you shall hearOf the crackpot’s theory of Paul RevereIn this month of June in twenty-elevenHardly a sane American is now aliveWho hasn’t laughed in disgust to the point of tears…For borne in the night-wind of the pastThrough all our liberty, to the lastWhen contemptuous mockery is what we needThe people shall waken and listen to hearThe crackpot’s ignorance at incoherent speedAnd her twisted history of Paul RevereMaybe there’s something wrong with higher education in this country. John McCain’s gift to America attended five different colleges in six years – yet apparently not one of them managed to teach her even the basics about Paul Revere. Or maybe, as a youngster, she was out sick on the day that everyone in her fourth-grade class recited the simple truth about how Paul Revere stealthily warned the colonists that the redcoats were coming. Or maybe her dog ate her homework. Or maybe the problem is that she treats the English language like it’s a soggy tossed salad. Asked last Thursday to share her knowledge of Paul Revere, she confused schoolchildren nationwide by describing him thusly:”He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms uh by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.”It was bad enough that this fatuous defender of Americana managed to flunk out on every fact – Paul Revere’s job was to warn the Americans, not the British; and he did so quietly, not by sounding any “warning shots and bells” – but her worst offense came yesterday, when she dumbed herself down even further by doubling down on her initial ahistorical lesson.On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked the obvious question: “You realize that you messed up about Paul Revere, don’t you?”Her answer: “You know what? I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere. Here’s what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that ‘the British were coming, the British were coming.’ And they were going to try to take our arms so got to make sure that, uh, we were protecting ourselves and, um, shoring up all of our ammunitions and our firearms so that they couldn’t take them. But remember that the British had already been there — many soldiers — for seven years in that area. And part of Paul Revere’s ride – and it wasn’t just one ride. He was a courier. He was a messenger. Part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there that, ‘Hey. You’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms. You are not gonna beat our own well-armed, uh, persons, uh, individual private militia that we have.’ He did warn the British. And in a shout-out, gotcha type of question that was asked of me, I answered candidly. And I know my American history.”A simple apology would have been nice; perhaps (borrowing a recent Senate Republican line) she could have said that her original remarks were not intended as a factual statement. But alas, there was no retreat. Yet again she insisted, in defiance of the factual historical record, that “part of his ride was to warn the British.” No. To belabor the obvious, Paul Revere’s own correspondence makes it clear that his midnight mission was to warn the colonists. Revere spoke with the British that night only under duress, when he was briefly held by British troops and an officer put a gun to his head. And even then, he told the British that his job was to warn the colonists (“I had alarmed the country all the way up”). Meanwhile, there is not a single word in his correspondence, or in the narrative posted online by the Paul Revere House, about any “warning shots and bells.” She didn’t reiterate that falsehood on Fox News Sunday, fortunately, but neither did she have the good grace to disown it.Instead, her credulous minions sallied forth yesterday to rewrite the Paul Revere entry in Wikipedia, to ensure that history conforms to her fantasies. Apparently, however, the editors have been resisting this Orwellian effort to lower the national IQ, and that at least gives us a ray of hope that her off-the-cuff ignorance will remain confined to her fan base. Because I’d sure hate to see the Declaration of Independence entry read something like this:”There was some olden time when gee the people of Trenton and their families were wanting to be free with their American values and got George Washington to write lots of fancy words on paper that they had a right to be declared independent and the right to shore up all their ammunitions in a free right to bear arms militia as soon as he won the French and Indian war.”Is she done messing with our history yet? And what’s her name again?


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