It’s one thing to be ignorant about history, and it is quite another to actively attempt to rewrite it. Ignorance is no crime, but deception is a different matter.
Michele Bachmann seems to be catching tremendous amounts of air time, much the same way Sarah Palin did in 2008. Why? For the same reason Palin rose to fame–conservatives Christians love them for their faith, and liberals can’t stop watching, in absolute horror, the looneys the GOP trots out as their candidates for the two highest offices in the country. Bachmann is truly something to be horrified over; she is for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, she is religious in the extreme, she has a penchant for lying, and she tries to rewrite history. While all are extremely concerning, I wish to focus on the latter.
There are only two explanations for Bachmann’s history gaffe. Either she is appallingly ignorant about our nation’s history, or she is purposefully attempting to candy-coat it. I am certainly not ruling out the possibility of her being ignorant, but I think there may also be compelling reasons to think that she may be aware of what she is doing.
Our country is young and, frankly, there isn’t a whole lot about our social past to be patriotic about. How, then, can you stir into action and excite a voting base, many of whom describe themselves as “Tea Party Patriots” and claim to strongly identify with some vague notion of “The American Way?” One thing you can do is offer a new historical narrative, one that cements in people’s minds an idea of America they wish were true, that subvert all the nasty truths about our founding as a nation.
When confronted with her misstatement of the facts about our history, instead of conceding that she had made a mistake, Bachmann does what I think nobody should desire in a potential leader–she digs in her heels and insists that she was correct. That is very troubling. I truly hope that she’s merely stubborn and ignorant, rather than deceitful. Neither of those scenarios, however, are worthy of the presidential office.