Generally speaking, if one is a poor historian, or subscribes to a reality which is anything but, they receive a diagnosis and treatment. However in the world of Politics, revisionist history has become an accepted and celebrated norm, with opportunistically employed lies taking the place of the apparently antiquated, yet formerly useful tool known as facts.
The election of Barack Obama, who coincidentally happens to be African American, has given rise not only to the field of Revisionist History, but to the Right’s clamoring for our Country to return to its roots-you know, dogmatically Christian, zero taxation-the good ol' days.
Except-such days never existed. Today, in honor of our Country’s liberation-liberate your mind from some widely accepted falsehoods.
Our Founding Fathers were not religious zealots; they did not perpetually walk around with Crucifixes and Holy Water, espousing theocratic principles. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin-all were not only overt proponents of the separation of Church and State, but also all openly leery of the potential dangers of organized religion.
I think this quote by James Madison sums it up well:
". . . Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind."
No miracle or mystery…got it.
Speaking of God, in case you didn’t know, he didn’t write the Constitution. The Constitution is not a “holy document” written by haloed men sent by God. Would something written by God need to be amended 27 times?
- The Founding Fathers meet in Heaven before being beamed back down to earth
Furthermore, as much as the Right demands we apotheosize the Founding Fathers, the actual authors of the continuously in need of improvement Constitution, were anything but saints. While Glenn Beck or Michelle Bachmann may choose to portray our Founding Fathers as a group of omniscient and benevolent demigods, other less flattering titles, such as slave holder, womanizer, bad father, sexist, would be a bit more rooted in reality.
While on the topic of reality-when speaking out against President Obama’s draconian tax levels, aka the lowest since Truman, many on the Right often channel our Founding Fathers (in rhetoric and often in attire) and their uniformed stance against taxes of any kind. This type of rhetoric and behavior would be fine, except its premise omits a couple things, namely facts and history. Consider this quote by Thomas Jefferson:
“Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise.”
Wait, did he just more or less suggest higher taxes on the wealthy? I never saw that on Glenn Beck’s chalk board…..
Well if not Jefferson, we at least know Washington was invariably anti-taxation… right? Yes… except when he levied the first tax ever in the history of the new republic-the Whiskey Tax. And except when he used the military to enforce that tax. And except when he said:
“It is essential that you should practically bear in mind that towards the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes”.
Hmmm…I never heard Michele Bachmann (the Constitutionalist, and outspoken admirer of our Founding Fathers) mention that quote. Debt…revenue…interesting.
Understand, these men and their cause, the ideas, the philosophy, and the Constitution and Republic it all resulted in, were all ahead of their time. The Founding Fathers and their work need not be embellished, for the truth of their story is more remarkable than the lie of their sanctification.
History is the measuring stick of progress. Today on Independence Day 2011, understand and appreciate our Country’s true History. Recognize and admire our progress-and most importantly, fight for more.
Be Good Friends,