Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sarah Palin wins another U.S. History contest against the smug morons in the media

Since I have not been blogging much of late, I haven't had the chance to throw in my two bits about Sarah Palin's awkward explanation of a little-known aspect of Paul Revere's famous Ride of April 18, 1775.

While visiting Boston, Palin had this to say about Revere's famous feat:
"He who warned uh, the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms, uh by ringing those bells, and um, makin' sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed."
Was Palin's explanation awkward? Yes. Giving answers off-the-cuff can be a bit scatterbrained sometimes; just ask our Teleprompter-in-Chief who "Uhh's" and "Ahh's" his way through statements that are not scrolling before him on little glass screens. However, despite her tortured syntax, Palin was historically correct in her statement. While Revere's main purpose that night was to warn the militia scattered throughout the countryside between Boston and Lexington/Concord, he did have opportunity to tell some of the British soldiers that night exactly what was awaiting them.

Even the Vicar of the Old North Church (from which hung the "one if by land" lantern) says that Palin not only got her statement correct, she got much of the information from him!

But the lesser-known tale of Revere warning the British of the American response to the march from Boston to Concord is nothing new. I just happened to find out just how not new the story is, and I found it purely by chance.

As I mentioned in my previous post, my family and I are currently staying with my wife's sister and her family in San Diego. I was perusing their bookshelf and came across a rather old-looking book that was given to my brother-in-law from his mother. The book is called Paul Revere and the Minute Men, by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. It was published in 1950 by Random House - New York. I flipped through the book to see if it mentioned anything about Revere warning the British, and lo and behold, starting on page 162, I found the following passage (emphasis mine):
Paul and [William] Dawes turned their horses towards Concord, and a young Dr. Prescott rode along with them. He lived in the district, knew everyone and all the lanes and byroads.

This time, halfway to Concord, there were not two, but four British officers suddenly blocking the way. the Americans were forced into a field where six more British were waiting. In the darkness and confusion Dawes slid off his horse and managed to hide in the bushes. Prescott jumped a stone wall and rode off. But Paul was squarely cornered with a pistol cold against his forehead.

"Who are you? Where did you come from?"

Paul thought quickly. Someone might recognize him. Boldness was his only hope. "My name's Revere," he said. "I left Boston about ten o'clock...."

Then a bell, quite near, started ringing. The British looked at one another, worried. they quieted down and one of them, remembering orders, tried to explain why they were here. "We're only out after deserters," he said.

Paul saw his chance. "I know better. I know what you're after. But you won't get it. The alarm has been given everywhere. And it's spreading."

The British put their heads together and talked in tones too low for Paul Revere to hear. Then they took the reins out of his hands and led his horse in their midst back along the road to Lexington. the major waved his pistol and said, "As for you, Paul Revere, don't try to escape or I'll blow your brains out. You go back with us. We'll send you to England to be tried and hanged for treason."

Paul answered briefly. "Do as you like about that. But what chance have you to get to Boston? There are only ten of you. Your troops are hours away. There are at least five hundred Minute Men heading here at this minute. In an hour, there will be thousands more."

It was slow work leading Revere's horse. the road was dark and lonely. The Englishmen got uneasy and alarmed. With good reason. what chance did they have against a whole countryside swarming with armed men who hated them?

All at once a gun was fired. In the darkness, it rang out very loud. The officers drew their horses sharply to a halt.

"What was that?" the British major snapped out.
"Only another alarm gun. They're being fired like that everywhere from here to Connecticut. You've a mighty slim chance of getting back to Boston with whole skins." Revere spoke out boldly though he knew he was still in mortal danger.

The British officers had another short whispered talk. "Dismount," they told him. As Revere had hoped, they began to see that they had a better chance to escape without being burdened with a prisoner.

They mounted one of their sergeants on Paul's horse and, spurring their mounts to a run, vanished down the road.
So what do you think? Did Revere also warn the British about anything that night, as Palin said? Remember, this book from which I just quoted was published in 1950. Palin's assertion is not some new knowledge. Instead, people have just remembered what they want to remember, and then in their ignorance, belittle anyone who mentions something not commonly known.

Speaking of which, a classic case of the media morons who displayed their own ignorance in their attempt to showcase Palin's can be summed up by Daniel Kurtzman, who writes for Kurtzman had this to say about Palin's statement:
As any elementary school student can probably tell you, Paul Revere was not attempting to warn the British when he rode around crying, "The British are coming." Nor was he ringing bells and trying to protect gun rights.
Looks like you need to go back to elementary school Mr. Kurtzman, because in your attempt to show us how brilliant you are compared to Sarah Palin, you got at least four historical facts wrong in that one short little missive.

First, we have already established that Revere did warn the British (some, not all, obviously) about what they were facing that night. Second, Revere did not yell, "The British are coming!" as Kurtzman states. That little canard was put to pasture a long, long time ago, yet Kurtzman still clings to it. Revere yelled, "The Regulars are coming!" or "The Regulars are out!" Third, Revere wasn't ringing bells, but as his warnings and those of the other riders blanketed the countryside, church bells did begin to ring as a signal for the militia to grab their weapons, as did warning shots being fired, as is mentioned in the book excerpt above. And fourth, the Battles of Lexington and Concord were all about gun rights. One of the primary missions of the British that day was to seize and/or destroy the militia's munitions caches which had been hidden in Concord. Yes, that is correct: The very first battle of the American Revolution was about gun control, and it was Paul Revere who is the most famous of the messengers who warned the militia about the British soldiers who were were on the way to seize that militia's means of defending itself and the colonies. Even the textbooks from which I teach my 8th graders do not shy away from explaining this. Yet, the smug (and very wrong) Mr. Kurtzman somehow missed something that elementary and middle school students are taught every year.

You know, the funny thing is that Sarah Palin is not even my first choice for the Republican presidential nomination, nor my second choice. Heck, she is not even running for President right now! Yet, I cannot help but chuckle in amusement at this obsession the lamestream media have with Palin. What is it about this woman that causes these media morons to make themselves look like utter fools in their vain efforts to discredit her? Remember when Palin rightly referenced that the Boston Tea Party took place in 1773? The media morons got that wrong too, even though they were convinced that they finally nailed her.

Right now, they are still poring over the 24,000 emails from her time as Alaska governor that were recently released. If only Barack Obama had received just one-quarter of the scrutiny that Sarah Palin has received from the lamestream media.

And Mr. Kurtzman, my sign-off quote is written especially for you:

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

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