There is a fairly common assumption among Americans that their representatives in government have a certain level of competency and knowledge that qualifies them to govern and maneuver through the legislative process in order to serve their constituents. The expectation with most voters is that politicians are particularly knowledgeable about issues of the day and the legal ramifications of their decisions. For members of Congress who take an oath to preserve and defend the Constitution, it is expected that at least they have a working knowledge of the document that explains the underlying principles of the laws of the land. In order to understand the Constitution in the proper context as it pertains to lawmaking, representatives also need to have a rudimentary knowledge of American history.
One Republican representative, Michele Bachmann (R-MN), has displayed a high level of ignorance of the Constitution and American history and typifies the level of stupidity rampant in her group of choice, the Tea Party. Bachmann also has become a master revisionist historian who has crafted fantasies to fortify her ignorant views of the Constitution as well as American history. Pundits, historians, and constitutional scholars have debunked Bachmann’s statements as nothing less than absurd each time she opens her fallacious mouth, and many have stated that any reasonably competent high-school civics student is more knowledgeable than the Minnesota representative and lawyer. Three weeks ago, a high school sophomore challenged Bachmann to a “Public Forum Debate and/or Fact Test on The Constitution of the United States, United States History and United States Civics.” Based on Bachmann’s past displays of ignorance and lies regarding the Constitution and American history, it is a safe bet the 16-year-old will have little trouble outsmarting the 55-year-old lawyer and Congressional representative.
This past week, Bachmann’s teabag supporters lashed out at the high school sophomore with threats of violence, including rape, as well as being called “whore” for challenging the intelligence of Bachmann. There were also comments from Bachmann’s supporters on conservative websites threatening to publish the girl’s home address. The threats prompted the girl’s father to cancel a video interview out of fear of stalkers and violence from Bachmann’s supporters. The incident in itself demonstrates the vile nature of conservatives and their reaction to having revisionist history challenged, but speaks more to the desire to believe lies that support their twisted view of America. Apparently for Bachmann’s supporters, their view of America precludes the freedom of speech guaranteed in the Constitution that Bachmann claims to support and defend.
Bachmann is representative of neo-conservatives whose vision of America stands in stark contrast to the realities of history and the Constitution. To legitimize her fantasy vision of America, Bachmann has enlisted Antonin Scalia to teach the Constitution to the tea party caucus in the House in keeping with revisionist distortions that fit the teabags wishes and not reality. Scalia has went on record stating the 14th Amendment does not guarantee equality to women or gays and it sets a dangerous precedent for lawmakers who write and vote for laws dealing with women’s issues and equal rights for the gay community. Scalia’s originalist philosophy has led him to depart from precedent in many of his decisions, including placing the rights of corporations over individual citizens in the name of an ill-defined notion of the Founding Fathers’ intentions. Scalia is not the only Bachmann-appointed faculty member in her school of revisionist history and the Constitution.
Bachmann, like preacher Mike Huckabee, relies on the revisionist faux-historian and Religious Right mainstay David Barton to teach teabag members of Congress. Barton is a proponent of denying that the Founding Fathers meant to separate church and state as outlined in the Separation Clause of the 1st Amendment by going around the nation preaching and teaching teabag devotees that the founders meant the United States to be a Christian nation. Barton has included his own revisionist interpretation of the Constitution by teaching that it is unconstitutional for Congress to meet and conduct the nation’s business on Sundays. There is danger in teaching revisionist history concerning the Constitution because it lessens the hard-won amendments that have insured all Americans are treated equally.
When Republicans opened the 112th Congress, they read a bastardized version of the Constitution that omitted parts that counted slaves as 3/5 of a person, and it diminishes the sacrifices made to give full citizenship rights to all Americans. Bachmann herself gave a speech to a conservative audience where she described America’s beginning as colour-blind and claimed the Founders fought tirelessly to end slavery. The danger of a simplistic view of America is that it denies the struggles inherent in American history, and is an insult to the Constitution that is the template for 200 years of growth and strength that has made America into the great country it once was.
Bachmann is considering a run for the presidency and although she is a liar and a joke, her adherents believe her words as if they were uttered from the mouth of their mythological god. Teabaggers do not have the where-with-all to consult a history book or the Constitution to verify her comments as true or false, and instead believe her because it suits their distorted view of America. The main stream media does not have the integrity to call people like Bachmann, Scalia, or Barton on their revisionist lies, and perpetuates the fallacies by fault of omission. Republicans and conservatives of all stripes have learned well that if they repeat a lie enough times it becomes truth to stupid people and those yearning to return to a fantastical America that never existed.
Fortunately for most of America, the public school system that Republicans are desperate to destroy is teaching the reality of American civics and history. It speaks volumes that a 16-year-old girl has the courage to challenge Bachmann to debate the Constitution when the media will not. The conservative cowards who are threatening the young lady are not protecting Bachmann per se, but the ideas she espouses about the kind of country they want America to be. They envision America to be a theocracy where speaking against a liar in Congress is tantamount to heresy and it lends to their entitlement to threaten violence against a child who is exercising her equal right to free speech. However, according to Antonin Scalia, the Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights does not apply to women and the longer people like Bachmann, Scalia, and Barton spread their revisionist history, the more reasonable their lying assertions become until lies become truth and common knowledge regardless the Constitution or recorded history.
The young lady who challenged Bachmann is the prototype for Americans of any age who understand that America and its Constitution have grown and evolved into a country that affords equal rights to every citizen regardless of race, religion or sexual preference. Whether or not Bachmann ever debates the young girl or anyone else for that matter is not at issue, and based on her stupidity and profundity for fallacious statements, she would be ill-advised to expose her ignorance to an audience of critical thinkers; or graduates of the 8th grade. America does not need the likes of Michele Bachmann or her ridiculously stupid supporters, but because the Constitution really guarantees equal rights to even the stupidest citizen, they can continue their idiot assertions without penalty. It is too bad that Bachmann’s stupid supporters are not willing to extend the same freedoms to a 16-year-old child and it explains their violent-laden threats, but it certainly does not excuse them.