“He who warned, uh, the … the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringin’ those bells and, um, by makin’ sure that as he’s ridin’ his horse through town to send those warnin’ shots and bells that, uh, we were gonna be secure and we were gonna be free … and we were gonna be armed.”
—-Sarah Palin, recounting the famous ride of Paul Revere during her bus tour.
I can’t criticize Herman Cain for mixing up the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, as well as score Michele Bachman for putting the “Shot Heard Round the World” in New Hampshire, and neglect to express my disgust at Sarah Palin’s inability to tell a story that every grade schooler should be able to recite by heart. Yes, I admit to being something of a Paul Revere fan, but I also am not touring the country on the pretense that I am reminding Americans of their legacy and values.
This is classic Palin, repeating her slovenly modus operandi on display from the moment she was thrust into the national spotlight. She fakes almost everything she does. She is glib and charismatic, and no dummy (though she does some stunningly dumb things). She has many of the most important traits of successful leadership, except indispensable basics like diligence, integrity, and respect for her constituents’ intelligence. Being a leader also takes dedication, hard work and attention to details: you can’t fake and jive your way through on charm and passion alone.
These politicians on the Right, like Bachmann, Palin and Cain, who extol our heroes and founding documents while not knowing a thing about them operate on the cynical theory, sadly accurate, that their supporters and flag-waving fans are even more ignorant than they are. Such political figures are beneath contempt. A responsible medical school professor doesn’t give a lecture on open heart surgery that begins...”Ok, well, the, uh…heart, you know, has..uh, these little rooms and stuff, and…it has blood, and is kinda like a clock…except that love and heartburn and things come out of it, so we gotta be careful.” Neither heart surgery nor national leadership are trivial matters, and require serious practitioners, not posturing frauds.
If you are too lazy to watch a History Channel documentary or Google “Paul Revere,” don’t talk about Paul Revere. If you don’t know the difference between the Declaration and the Constitution, don’t tell everyone else that they have an obligation to read them. And if you don’t really give a enough of a damn about American history to respect it, learn it, and understand its significance to our current issues and decisions, stop pretending otherwise.