The Patriotism of Facts

Newsweek does a fine piece on the burning issue of history illiteracy. How can the modern day Know Nothing Party – who espouse a seminarian’s absolutist understanding of history – claim the Founding Fathers who, of course, were men with real faults.

[Jefferson] may have written the Declaration of Independence, but were he around today Thomas Jefferson wouldn’t have a prayer of winning the Republican nomination, much less the presidency. It wouldn’t be his liaison with the teenage daughter of one of his slaves nor the love children she bore him that would be the stumbling block. Nor would it be Jefferson’s suspicious possession of an English translation of the Quran that might doom him to fail the Newt Gingrich loyalty test. No, it would be the Jesus problem that would do him in. For Thomas Jefferson denied that Jesus was the son of God. Worse, he refused to believe that Jesus ever made any claim that he was. While he was at it, Jefferson also rejected as self-evidently absurd the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, and the Resurrection.

(The emphasis is so we can stop fucking talking about was he or wasn’t he an apostate and hopefully no one will ever put these inane misquotations on billboards again*)

And that’s just the first graf. Read on and be rewarded with the confluence of Sarah Palin butchering Paul Revere and Michele Bachmann totally forgetting about the three-fifths compromise.


*Said misquotation billboard organization is now defunct. Hiyo. But my story is still a great read!


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