“Would you believe,” as Maxwell Smart, Secret Agent 86, used to say, that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin knows more about American history than the members of what Rush Limbaugh calls “the drive-by media,” who are currently making fun of her?
Probably not. But she does, at least as far as Paul Revere’s ride is concerned.
Palin recently said that Revere, as part of his famous ride, warned the British that they would have a fight on their hands if they tried to seize the caches of arms and ammunition that the colonists had hidden at places like Lexington and Concord. [See 5 reasons Palin will win the 2012 GOP nod. and 5 reasons she won't.]
“Hah Hah,” the media said. “Everybody knows that Revere rode through ‘every Middlesex village and town’ to warn the colonists that the British were coming,” the media said. “What an idiot,” the media said. Uh huh.
Palin has read American history. The media must have only read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem—which is no more the definitive account of Revere’s famous ride than Oliver Stone’s JFK is the true story of the Kennedy assassination. [See photos from Palin's bus tour.]
On his Legal Insurrection blog, Cornell Law School’s William Jacobson quotes none other than the Longfellow Historical Society as saying:
The basic premise of Longfellow's poem is historically accurate, but Paul Revere's role is exaggerated. The most glaring inconsistencies between the poem and the historical record are that Revere was not the only rider that night, nor did he make it all the way to Concord, but was captured and then let go (without his horse) in Lexington, where he had stopped to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock of the impending attack … Longfellow's intention was not to write a history; it was to create a national hero and he was successful at doing so.
So Longfellow wasn’t completely true. But does that make Palin right (and, more importantly, put eggs on the face of her critics)? It sure looks that way. [Check out political cartoons about Palin.]
Revere’s own record of that fateful night includes statements that buttress Palin’s argument that he, Revere, did warn the British that they were, by marching on Lexington and Concord, asking for trouble.
Palin 1, National Media 0—but that’s not really the point. The intent behind the intensity of the coverage the story has received is to continue the narrative that Palin, according to the drive by media, is a moron not worthy of the attention or political support she draws from people all across the country. It’s a good thing she didn’t talk about the “57 states” that make up America or sign the wrong date on a guestbook. Then they would really have gone ape.
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