Monday, June 6, 2011

Palin vs. Paul Revere

This from the Atlantic Wire. Nobody could make this stuff up:


Last week, as her "one Nation" tour went through Boston, Sarah Palin stopped by the Freedom Trail, which winds past historic landmarks including Paul Revere's house. Palin breathlessly described on her blog that "there's so much history here. It's amazing..." Unfortunately for Palin, much of it was lost on her. She offered, let's say, an alternative version of the famous midnight ride of Paul Revere. Her rambling take soon went viral on the internet:
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.
Let's summarize what's incorrect about this: everything. Paul Revere did not send any messages or warnings to British soldiers, about our guns or otherwise. He sent a message to the Minutemen warning them the British were coming, so they would be ready. He did not send warning shots or ring bells. It was a stealth operation, and he instructed someone to put either one or two lights in the tower, as a code for how the British were arriving -- "one if by land, two if by sea" -- which is the most famous line in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem on the legend.
Today on Fox News Sunday, Palin told Chris Wallace that she was standing by her statement. "I didn't mess up," she said. "I know my American history." This is her explanation:
"He warned the Americans that the British were coming, the British were coming, that we 've got to make sure we were protecting ourselves and shoring up all of our ammunitions and firearms so that they couldn't take it. But remember that the British had already been there, many soldiers for seven years in that area. 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, 'Hey you're not going to succeed, you're not going to take American arms, you are not going to beat our own, well-armed persons, individual, private militia.' He did warn the British."
The only thing that could make this description more convoluted would be if Palin then blamed the press for her mistake. Then Palin blames the press for her mistake, calling it "a shot-out, gotcha-type of question that was asked of me."
But, here's the best. Palin supporters have been trying to edit Paul Revere's Wikipedia page so that history will conform top her version.


James R said...

I have to side with those who think the press is too hard on Sarah Palin. She's better theater than Donald Trump. No, she doesn't belong on the political page, but please, press corps, don't chase her away from the entertainment section, at least not yet. She is, as Douglas Adams would say, "mostly harmless."

And, so what if she wraps her history in allegory rather than facts? I worry about how elected officials think about the criteria for foreign wars, tax equity, fiscal and debt policy, and effective regulation, not about the story of Paul Revere. Luckily, she is not an elected official.

James R said...

There's a nice little historical synopsis of Paul's dramatic ride here, if you're more interested in the lessons of history than the lessons of allegory.