Friday, July 08, 2011

American History Notes: Wingnuts Perpetuate America Teh STOOPID

As we've been on an American History meme lately, Rightwingville has served up more priceless faux Americana for our mirth and merriment, or at least for the amusement of those (a minority, unfortunately) who can tell historical fact from fiction.

American History Independence Day FAIL From Moron Joe. — The lingering question regarding Moron Joe remains: WTF is Mika doing there?! Considering the sorry cast of MJ characters, from Willie The Wingnut, Mike Barnacles, and Pat The Jolly Nativist to Moron Joe himself, they ALL revolve around Mika's Sun even though she, wisely, speaks the least.

Anyway, sometime in the wee hours of July 5 once again, I suspect, in a state of intoxication, Moron Joe shot off another one of his guest column contributions to POLITICO. Oh my.

Moron Joe starts off by pompously lecturing an Australian woman "that America has followed the same working formula for 235 years — order comes from chaos and moderation comes from the balancing of extremes." This, while "juggling" a copy of the Times in his hand, presumably because the Times promo of his show (ironically, I think) called it "revolutionary."

The woman "admitted she has never been able to figure out how America’s government works." A perfectly reasonable query, since most Americans, to varying degrees, share her puzzlement and express their disinterest by not voting. As the old saying goes, you get the government you deserve.

In Moron Joe's historical fairy tale, "order comes from chaos and moderation comes from the balancing of extremes," but slavery is never considered. In fact, the word is NEVER mentioned in his rambling POLITICO pablum. NOT ONCE. History, not just historians, will note that slavery was CODIFIED into the Constitution during the Constitutional Convention of 1789. The adopted Constitution also disenfranchised wide swathes of the American people, namely non-white males, females, and anyone who was not a property owner. "Order" and "moderation" indeed.

Wow. In the whitebread wingnut world of Moron Joe we now know what defines "moderation" and "balancing of extremes." Moron Joe does make a good point, though: Is the "spectacle" we see in Washington today "really so different when Washington, Franklin, Jefferson and Madison chartered America’s course from 1776 to 1789?" It's puzzling why Moron Joe stopped America's "chartered ... course" at 1789, when the Constitution was adopted. Why not from 1776 to the present?

That's what I'd say. For better or worse. But then we'd have to consider the wrongs that were done in our name, slavery chief among them, which sprang from those Constitutional beginnings. And then to assign blame — or responsibility — the toil of modern historians, shunning the hagiographies, becomes an infinitely more complex and messy process.

Then Moron Joe breezily prances over the darkest moments of our history, sooo ... mincingly that I'm reminded of this song:

Somewhere between "canings on the floor of Congress" and "the issue of racial inequality [that] would pull at the fabric of our political institutions" was a wee li'l notable "issue" of CIVIL WAR that would claim 600,000 American lives, pit brother against brother, and effectively dissolve the union for the duration of the conflict. It led to certain sequel issues such as Jim Crow, "separate but equal" apartheid in America, which lasted ... ooh, another century give or take a few years; not to mention the lynchings which were part of good ole Southern culture — Moron Joe's culture — with a thematic undercurrent that isn't only the centuries-old struggle for racial justice and equality but freedom of opportunity and equality for ALL Americans.

In MoronJoeWorld that's all wrapped up in a neat little bow under the rubric of "the issue of racial inequality [that] would pull at the fabric of our political institutions." Moron Joe has missed his calling: He should be a member of the wingnut Texas Board of Education, rewriting our children's history textbooks!

Also lost in Moron Joe's ramblings was the Gilded Age of the late 1800s and early twentieth century which, despite Teddy Roosevelt's best efforts, had its inevitable outcome in the Great Depression. Not even mentioned, for obvious reasons. It happened on the Republicans' watch as a result of their recklessness and insane policies — not dissimilar from this current incarnation of the GOP — and it was up to a GREAT DEMOCRAT, the GREATEST PRESIDENT OF THE MODERN ERA, FDR, to SAVE THE NATION from the grip of the Great Depression, AND THE WORLD from the scourge of FASCISM.

But wait! We're not done. Moron Joe skipped, or rather vaulted, the ENTIRE Progressive Era and FDR's New Deal, which laid the foundation for modern America and the world superpower we have become — both economically and militarily — right up until another Democratic President, Bill Clinton, handed George W. Bush a budget surplus and the strongest economy in generations. Bush managed to squander all of it in less than three years, with the catastrophic results we face today. Our economy is in tatters. And yes, we can still project military power, but it's bankrupting us.

America's decline began with the presidency of Moron Joe's hero, Ronald Reagan. Maybe that's why he hasn't mentioned Reagan, along with FDR — it's hard to face the historical truth, when you know what it is in your heart of hearts, but are incapable of verbalizing it. It's okay, Joe. Let it out. It's never too late to admit the error of your ways.

Moron Joe wraps it all up with a laundry list of historical events, from human tragedies to death and war to pure human greed. From the assassinations to "Katrina, Lehman Brothers and scores of other events that could have sapped our nation’s strength." Are you saying these events didn't sap our nation's strength, Joe?

Donning his prophet's hat, Moron says: "But regardless of the latest ramblings from the America-is-in-Decline crowd, I assure you that we will be just fine." His proof? An article in the Wall Street Journal by an academic named Walter Russell Mead, who claims "the United States of America is better positioned to excel in the 21st Century than any nation on earth."

Wonderful. I feel better already. First, the "America-is-in-Decline crowd" Moron Joe disdains is working from empirical evidence that is incontestable. Furthermore, our decline is not irreversible, provided we take proven measures to turn our economy and our nation around. Second, Mead's speculative thesis based on faith in boundless entrepreneurial creativity sure to keep us on the cutting edge runs up against the harsh reality of our educational system falling behind every one of our competitors in the key fields of science, technology, and engineering.

One Mead critic said, quite eloquently, "The most dangerous enemy we have ever faced remains precisely where he has always been: within. If we are distracted from our highest ideals, from that which makes us most truly human, we will die. For where there is no vision, the people perish." It's Pogo's immortal line emblazoned in this poster for the First Earth Day:

Mead was being cute by half when he made this statement, clearly meant to be disparaging of a GREAT NATION (I know) but which falls flat on its logic: "Brazil may be the country of the future, but America is its hometown." King George III and his cohorts were smugly saying something similar of Mother England, regarding the American colonies. In fact, I'm certain they did given how relatively quickly they cut America loose. To this day, America's "hometown" has come to regret its decision.

Moron Joe's optimism is a "fine" sentiment. Everybody likes a cheerleader. Some even go on to become president. But his personal assurance and a speculative article in Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal are hardly substitutes for reality. Would you buy a bridge from Moron Joe? If you did, you'd have to go through China, because that's where our bridges are being built nowadays.

It's kind of a Pollyanna determinism in which Moron Joe views history through rose-tinted glasses. He either completely ignores our darkest historical trials or ticks them off his fingers, as if they had no impact whatsoever on our nation. That's just absurd.

Historians have written 'what if?' scholarly essays, speculating on how history might have changed if certain events had a different outcome. Can Joe really say that we wouldn't be a better nation today if the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK had never happened? To cite just one example, Robert Kennedy, had he beaten Nixon in 1968, a distinct possibility, would have ended the Vietnam War years earlier, saving the lives of tens of thousands of Americans. Imagine the possibilities.

Sure, two centuries later, we've "proven equal" to Ben Franklin's admonition, "A Republic madam, if you can keep it." But on at least three occasions we've come to within a hair's breadth of losing it. And that's not even counting the Civil War, when our union was rendered asunder with ripples of "rancor" that have lasted to this day.

Have you heard of  Major General Smedley Butler?

Bachmann Wingnuts Make Wikipedia Editors Work Overtime ... AGAIN! — No sooner had we swatted away those know-nothing anti-history vermin trying to rewrite the Paul Revere Wikipedia site on Sarah Palin's behalf, that they're at it AGAIN, this time trying to cover up Michele Bachmann's historical ignorance with a pack of LIES. I don't know what's most offensive: That presidential candidates are SO IGNORANT of our history, or that their acolytes so DISRESPECT  history that they would damage it for everyone else just to protect one STUPID person and her twisted ideology.

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