Michele Bachman proves to us that you don’t need to know a lot about American history to work in the American government. She typifies the “fake it till you make it,” ethos of young professionals, except when she fakes it she gets it all wrong, making you wonder if she really just believes the things she says. At a meeting in Iowa on tax relief Bachman went into why she loves the United States so damn much saying,
“How unique in all of the world, that one nation that was the resting point from people groups all across the world. 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?”
What here is truly remarkable and unique is that we live in a nation where elected officials can forget or revise details in history like how slavery was overcome or the subpar treatment of immigrants and people of color that worked and built the very infrastructure of this society, with little to no credit. I know it would be a massive stretch to also acknowledge that the original settlers “settled” through mass warfare and genocide of indigenous populations, but that would require actually reading more than what you learned in history class. But we learned about slavery in history class, she knows we were far from equal “once we got here” and in an effort to correct her faulty statement she asserts that the “very founding fathers that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more.” That’s strange, considering the founding fathers were dead by the time the Emancipation Proclamation rolled around.
Here’s the full video, the remarks start after the 9 minute mark.
Revisionist history in the service of nationalist rhetoric is one of the most violent tactics of the right. It denies what actually happened, it reframes the past using imagination instead of act and it allows for history to be driven by fantasy, nostalgia and ideology as opposed to factual storytelling. It also paves the way for retrograde legislation that doesn’t take into account the ways historically disenfranchised people are still suffering from harmful policy. The United States is one of the most diverse nations in the world, that is one of its greatest boones, but it was not founded on the strength of this. And people that are getting here today are still fighting for equal rights, that are being denied to them even when they serve our very great nation.