Those who do not remember history… will simply edit Wiki.
Last year, famed pollster “Maris” conducted a survey in the run-up to Fourth of July weekend, to see how many people knew from whom America declared its independence from. The results were most disturbing:
ACTUALLY, the number is 74%, not 76% according to Maris – 7/1/2010.
Yes, in a story regarding how stupid Americans have become, ABC didn’t even get the numbers right. More than a quarter of the people living in this country didn’t know one of the most basic facts about American history. This year, Maris followed up with a second poll producing even more disturbing results: People were asked “In what year did America declare its independence?”
Hint: It’s also the name of a movie/musical.
Yes, you read that number right. Almost half the people in this country don’t know that America declared its Independence in “1776″. And you thought the people on “JayWalking” were just pretending to be dumber than doorknobs just to get on TV. Oh no, dear reader. People really are THAT stupid. You need more proof?
Sarah Palin Supporters Attempted To Edit Wikipedia Page On Paul Revere after claiming Revere’s famed midnight ride shouting “The British are coming! The British are coming!” was his attempt to “warn the British” against coming “to take our guns away” (before we even had a Constitution, let alone a Second Amendment.)
Of course, Palin isn’t the only high-profile Republican with a sketchy grasp of American history. A few weeks ago, Michele Bachmann Muddled American History, Putting Battles Of Lexington And Concord In New Hampshire. Bachmann seems to have a knack for getting her history wrong. More recently, Bachmann claimed that John Quincy Adams… the son of Founding Father John Adams… was “a Founding Father” himself (despite being all of nine years old at the time). While it is likely Bachmann was confusing the two men as being the same person (which is what *I* believe is the case based upon her original comment), rather than admit her error, Bachmann (like Palin) doubled-down on her assertion that the younger Adams was indeed a “Founding Father”, claiming father & son went around “work[ing] tirelessly to end slavery“. This ridiculous rewrite of American history was an expansion of ANOTHER absurd claim Bachmann made just two months earlier that “the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery”. Uh, no. The Emancipation movement didn’t begin until the middle of the next century, culminating in the Civil War, during which President Lincoln “freed the slaves” (in Confederate states/counties only). Still, rather than admit error, like Palin, Bachmann simply doubled-down, re-wrote history, and tried to claim the beginnings of the Emancipation Movement began with the Founding Fathers. Her proof of this? Bachmann cited Glenn Beck’s own little re-write of history, claiming the “3/5th Compromise” declaring slaves as 3/5ths of a person, was a move to “weaken the rights of slave-OWNERS” and not the rights of slaves themselves. (Palin and Bachmann frequently use Glenn Beck as a source for their understanding of all things political. Remember those “FEMA Concentration Camps”?)
And when Palin and Bachmann aren’t busy rewriting history, their idiot minions are doing it for them, editing Wiki pages on the subjects the duo misspeaks on, changing history to match their idol’s claims. People used to say only “the victors write history”. But in the age of the Internet, a whole LOT of losers have the ability now too.
When you have a third-grade understanding of American history, it should come as no surprise the the two most recognized leaders of “The Tea Party”… a group founded in opposition to raising taxes on corporations & the wealthy, unwittingly named their organization after a tax CUT protest that gave The East India Company an unfair advantage over small businesses in the Colonies (radio host Thom Hartman read the true account by the only witness to actually put the story in print, on his show… which you can view here. Quite amazing.)
Back in 2007, I wrote about another “American history C-Student”, “history professor” Newt Gingrich comparing our waning support for the interim Iraqi government to a “what if” scenario of the French refusing to aid the Colonist until they had won a battle against the British… which is in fact exactly what DID happen. But when so few people can’t even tell you the year we declared our independence, little details like the importance of Washington’s first victory against the British, who can be surprised no one (else) caught it?
Here’s a bit of historical trivia: In a letter to his wife Abagail, John Adams wrote to tell her the news of how the Continental Congress had declared our independence from England (emphasis mine):
“But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.- I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by Solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfire and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
Yes, in fact, America declared its independence on July 2nd, 1776. But Adams failed to consider the power of the written word, and the date on Thomas Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence”… which they all then signed two days later on July 4th, became the date we all remember as when we declared our independence.
From whom exactly and in what year… not so much. But at least we got the date right… or did we? Maybe I’ll update the wiki page.
(ADDENDUM: Presidential candidate Rick Santorum declared on TV Tuesday morning that “the Stimulus Package was a failure” for creating “only 240 MILLION jobs last December” rather than the “280 MILLION jobs as previously claimed.” When asked to recheck his math, Santorum simply repeated the claim. For reference, there are roughly only 150 million people of employment-age in the entire country, with the population of the U.S. just under 310 million. One would THINK someone running for president would know the population of the country they seek to run. Note: The basis of Santorum’s claim… employment rate dropping 15% since Stimulus… was likewise false, confusing “a smaller aggregation of jobs” to actual job loss.)
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