January 24, 2011

Bachmann fibs about America's founding

Bachmann:  America Was Founded On Diversity (VIDEO)

By Jillian RayfieldRep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) had an interesting take this weekend on America's first European settlers, who she said "had different cultures, different backgrounds, different traditions."

"How unique in all of the world, that one nation that was the resting point from people groups all across the world," she said. "It didn't matter the color of their skin, it didn't matter their language, it didn't matter their economic status."

"Once you got here, we were all the same. Isn't that remarkable?" she asked.

Speaking at an Iowans For Tax Relief event, Bachmann (R-MN) also noted how slavery was a "scourge" on American history, but added that "we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States."

"And," she continued, "I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forbearers who worked tirelessly--men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country."

It's true--Adams became a vocal opponent of slavery, especially during his time in the House of Representatives. But Adams was not one of the founders, nor did he live to see the Emancipation Proclamation signed in 1863 (he died in 1848).
Comment:  Maybe Bachmann meant the Founders worked their slaves tirelessly until the end.

Actually, "the very founders that wrote those documents" were dead long before slavery ended. For instance, Charles Carroll was the last signer of the Declaration of Independence to die. He died in 1832, 31 years before the Emancipation Proclamation.

I'm not sure how prejudiced the Founders were against people who spoke languages such as German or Dutch. They were clearly prejudiced against the poor. "When the Constitution was written, only white male property owners (about 10 to 16 percent of the nation's population) had the vote," Infoplease.com reminds us. And they were clearly prejudiced against different races, including the blacks they enslaved and the Indians they killed.

They also were prejudiced against people on the basis of religion, gender, and immigration status. Really, the only people they weren't prejudiced against were white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. You know, people exactly like themselves.

Conservatives whitewash history

It's hard to say who's the most ignorant leader of the Republican Tea Party--Glenn Beck? Sarah Palin?--but Bachmann is certainly a contender. In any case, this is yet another example of the conservatives' attempt to rewrite history. The goal, of course, to confirm that America belongs to its white male Christian minority. That the people who rule now deserve their white power and privilege. It's a milder form of the claim Palin made: that Americans are equal and accusations of racism are a ploy.

We see these tactics constantly. In particular incidents such as these:

Sanitizing Martin Luther King Jr.
Obama's UN "coup" is "chilling"
Conservatives think they're "natives"
Obama smeared as Luo tribesman

And in trying to shut down talk about race in general:

Mentioning racism = dwelling on past?
Conservatives hope minorities will forget
Talking about racism perpetuates racism?!
Americans refuse to acknowledge prejudice

The goal in every case: to maintain the power of the people in charge.


Anonymous said...

The diversity thing tends to occur when you learn history from children's cartoons. Captain Planet actually had a fully integrated U.S. Army raiding on the Nazis. (Ma-Ti punches out Hitler, though, which is cool.) Power Rangers was more blatant, with 19th-century people thinking nothing of the rangers' identical ancestors hanging out together. (One ranger was black, one was Asian, and one was an Indian. Not only that, but the last one was dating the Pink Ranger's ancestor. Which is kinda gross, when you think about it.) You can find other examples. And where ethnic diversity doesn't exist, such as in anime, it's very common for dubbers to create it. (Originally, the Sailor Moon dub was supposed to have spliced-in live action footage with a black girl and a girl in a wheelchair. Also, once again, Power Rangers.)

This is related to the tendency for human diversity to be a strength against invading aliens in SF series, and serves as a sort of lampshade there for the tendency for all aliens from one species to have a similar temperament.

Moral: Don't learn history from kids' TV time travel episodes.

Burt said...

Yes "anonymous" makes a good point with animation, but we are dealing with legislators that pass laws in the supposedly most powerful and "greatest" nation on earth?

It is easy to dismiss the conservative's lack of intellect and grasp of reality in our everyday lives, but it is also dangerous and embarrassing.

Didn't we learn anything from the last president whom stumbled through speeches, mispronounced world leaders and tried to exit stages through locked doors?

Or is it that as long as our leadership are Christians they are allowed to be as dumb as a doorknob?

I thought humans, like all living things and the rest of the planet, evolved forwards, not backwards.

Burt said...

I find this person (Bachmann) incredibly offensive.

Especially when America's slave trade beginning with Columbus opened and expanded the entire world's economic picture and more than that, America's slave trade history is considered by most historians as the benchmark that changed the world.

It is true that slavery existed in Africa and the Americas between native peoples, but not on the same scale nor was it an international industry perfected compared to the colonies.

Some of the key signers of the Declaration of Independence were slave owners themselves.

If Bachmann wants to talk about diversity. She needs to talk about racism and if one talks about racism, it still reigns in many pockets of government, industry and the public arena in general.

Americans, conservatives mostly, seem to have history confined to the 1872 John Gast painting, "American Progress" more popularly penned as "manifest destiny" with the natives fleeing and being replaced by telegraph, but to be politically and historically correct, it was the democrats of that era that used this term for the Polk administration in pushing expansionism.

Anonymous said...

I'm saying that political correctness permeates our culture. It doesn't matter that it's wrong.

Plus, Tea Partiers in general have a children's cartoon view of the world.

Chris said...

OK, is it just me or have we entered an alternate reality?

Since Bachmann says "The Founding Fathers freed their slaves as a justification that they 'worked tirelessly to end slavery' it might carry a little more validation if they never owned slaves or raped them and had kids with them to begin with. Don't cha think?

I mean that is like a bank robber freed his hostages so he is not guilty of robbing the bank, no?

For Christ sakes people, I am not proud of these facts either but that is no excuse to rewrite history or sweep it under the rug!

The Founding Fathers were not Christ, they were men that make huge “man made” mistakes (they were not infallible or Incapable of erring), why is it that some want to rewrite history and say that their Sh*t does not stink, please grow up.

Rob said...

The only time conservatives like Bachmann mention racism is to claim liberals are being "politically correct." In other words, they don't think it's an issue anymore.