April 14, 2010

History Lesson

I'm always fascinated by the disconnect some modern-day politicians have with our nation's history, and the broad assumption - largely proven, in many cases - that their followers don't know it any better, either.

I readily admit I'm no historian or scholar, but I do have a college-level grasp of how this nation was founded, and some of the things that happened on the way from Plymouth Rock to President Obama.

Today, the Tea Party rallies in Boston, theoretically returning to its namesake location to underscore its roots as an anti-tax, small-government organization of the little people.  But as I mentioned in an earlier post, the Tea Partiers again demonstrate their seemingly willful ignorance about the country they claim to cherish.  NPR sets them straight in a report outlining what every fifth-grade history student -- or even a former viewer of Schoolhouse Rock -- should know:

The Tea Party in Boston Harbor wasn't to protest outrageous taxes or large government intrusion into the lives of colonists; it was a protest against taxation without representation.  King George took their money but didn't give them a vote in Parliament.   Kind of like where I live here in Washington, which takes my tax money but doesn't provide me with a sitting senator or voting member of Congress.

Meanwhile, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, swimming in the wake of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's recent ham-fisted nod to the Sons of the Confederacy, doesn't believe that the dustup over slavery doesn't amount to "diddly."  He contends that people who are upset about McDonnell's declaration of Confederate History Month without acknowledging the evil of slavery -- the very issue that prompted Virginia to fight for its "independence" in a war of secession -- don't really get it: it's about the Confederate soldiers and their sacrifices.  And he reminded people that he declared Confederate History Month in Mississippi a long time ago -- even though his state has one of the nation's highest populations of African Americans.

The Post's Eugene Robinson has a few suggestions on how Barbour, McDonnell and others can catch a clue.  I don't think Jackson, Miss., gets the Post's early editions, though.

1 comment:

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