Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Washington Times Editorial: The Palin version of history was correct

The left does not revere history

The Times' editors defend not only Gov. Palin, but also America's "great national narrative":
Revere warned the British? The tut-tutting was immediate. Reporters and commentators, having griped for days about being given insufficient courtesies on Mrs. Palin’s East Coast bus tour, had a field day. One if by land, two thousand by tweet.

It soon turned out, however, that Mrs. Palin’s version of history was correct. While Revere warned the Americans that the British were coming, he also warned the British - not for their benefit - that the Americans were coming.


Mrs. Palin is in good company. Ronald Reagan faced the same sniggering comments whenever he invoked inspirational examples from history. Of course, what the left is really snarking at is the notion that history even matters. Starting in the 1960s, the New Left movement rejected the past as having any relevance to the revolution they wanted to bring to this country. In their view, American history was simply a compendium of crimes committed by dead white males. When then-candidate Barack Obama promised to “fundamentally transform America,” he meant that to be taken literally. When Michelle Obama said in February 2008 that “for the first time in my adult lifetime I’m really proud of my country,” it was a genuine expression of the basic liberal attitude toward America and its history.

Tea Partyers and others who look to America’s past for inspiration are appealing to the great national narrative that the left has rejected. In essence, we have become two peoples: one with a vision of America as an exceptional country with a heroic history, and another believing the country and its people are burdened by a multitude of original sins and populated by groups who are owed continuing and endless debts because of that corrupt past.

If a nation doesn’t revere its history, doesn’t exalt its national story, doesn’t look with pride on its accomplishments and honor its heroes, it will not long survive. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous 1861 poem about Paul Revere sought to inculcate belief in America’s destiny. It closes with the lines, “In the hour of darkness and peril and need, The people will waken and listen to hear, The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed, And the midnight message of Paul Revere.” Longfellow got several facts wrong in his epic poem, but like Mrs. Palin, he got the message right.

- JP

No comments:

Post a Comment