Archive for the ‘paul revere’ tag
This has to be one of the most bizarre news articles I’ve read in awhile. It’s about a radical right sect called “sovereign citizens,” which, as it happens, does not recognize the United States as legitimate and only answers to the authority of heaven. Which is, itself unfortunate, for them, since heaven has been silent for at least 2,000 years. But, no matter. These folks persist in their delusions:
His name is Craig Douglas Fleshman, though he won’t answer to that, just as he no longer carries a driver’s license or pays taxes. Pastor Paul Revere doesn’t recognize the authority of the State of Oregon, the United States of America, or anyone else that presumes to have some command over him. He answers only to God.
Revere and his “Embassy of Heaven” church in the foothills of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains are more seasoned examples of a growing movement of Americans who wish to wipe their hands of their government—not by secession, via those petitions filed in several states since President Obama’s reelection—but by declaring the whole system null and void. …
Of course, what Revere is missing here is that Jesus actually recognized the authority of the existing government — the carnal government — when he said to render unto Caesar that which was Caesar’s. He was saying, in essence, to obey the laws of the land; God’s supposed law is a separate matter altogether.
In reference to an earlier post in which I made light of Sarah Palin’s gaffe about Paul Revere riding through Boston to warn the British, not the colonists, about the former’s movements, I need to make a concession, but only a minor one. It is true that when and only when Revere was confronted and captured by the British, he indeed told them
there would be five hundred Americans there in a short time for I had alarmed the Country all the way up
in his letter to Jeremy Belknap.
Either by accident or a stroke of luck, Palin was technically correct that at some point along his ride, Revere told the British about the American troops.
But she remains solidly wrong in suggesting — and she unequivocally does — that warning the British was the main point of Revere’s trip. The main objective of his trip was to warn the American colonists. Presumably, getting captured by the British was not part of Revere’s plans that day, since he tried to elude them. Seeking out the enemy just to warn them of the American militia would have been silly. One can imagine the conversation going something like this:
Revere: Here ye! Here ye, damned British! The American militia is just up the way, and it is going to deal you a decisive blow!
British officer: That’s great, mate! You are now a prisoner of the British army. Answer my questions or I will blow your brains out. (Indeed, a British major did tell Revere that he would shoot him if he didn’t answer his questions)
We can only assume Revere was bright enough to know that actively seeking out enemy forces just to warn them of their impending demise would be counterproductive at best, and I doubt he much enjoyed being told he was under the gun if he didn’t cooperate.
While militia did fire off some rounds that Revere said startled the British, there’s no record that Revere himself fired any rounds, and there’s no mention of “bells” in Revere’s letter. Revere and other riders warned the colonists quietly with lanterns, not with guns or bells. Again, the idea was secrecy. Town bells did ring once the British were near Lexington, and one of the captured riders (not Revere) did say:
The bell’s a’ringing! The town’s alarmed, and you’re all dead men!
The British then turned back to warn their commanders. In my last post on this topic, I noted that Revere indeed told the British there were 500 Americans on the way, but I just wanted to clarify the point since some historians have now claimed that Palin was indeed correct. My contention remains. While she may have been correct that Revere warned the British at some point that night, warning the British couldn’t have been farther from Revere’s goal, but a residual effect of him getting captured. Secrecy was the game.
I know I’m being a little dated here, but I wanted to briefly address this Sarah Palin/Paul Revere business. For anyone unfamiliar with the story, here’s the incriminating video:
Here, Palin indicates, while on a stop in Boston no less, that Paul Revere rode through town to
warn the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding through town (bizarre change in pitch) to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free.
She later defended her comments on FOX News (appropriately, the only news channel to which she will grant interviews) with this retort to critics:
I know my American history … part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there, that, ‘Hey, you’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms. You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual private militia that we have.’ He did warn the British.”
Sure. She knows her history. After more than one nudging by Glenn Beck (Glenn Beck no less!), she couldn’t name one of the Founding Fathers outside of George Washington and said that all of them were her favorite (I doubt she would have agreed much with Thomas Jefferson). She also gave the same ludicrously broad answer (“All of them”) when Katie Couric, again more than once, asked her to name just one newspaper or magazine that she regularly consulted. Further, she couldn’t name one Supreme Court case other than Roe v. Wade with which she disagreed:
Back to Revere, here is a letter written by the rider himself to Jeremy Belknap. In it, Revere tells of how he was trying evade the British while warning the colonists of their movements. Conspicuously absent from the letter is any mention of him ringing bells or firing shots to warn the households, as per Palin’s account. He was part of a committee with
the purpose of watching the Movements of the British Soldiers, and gaining every intelegence of the movements of the Tories. We held our meetings at the Green-Dragon Tavern. We were so carefull that our meetings should be kept Secret; that every time we met, every person swore upon the Bible, that they would not discover any of our transactions …
Later in the letter, he recalled how he narrowly escaped some British soldiers but was eventually captured. He then told the British how 500 Americans were on the way after he had warned the colonists of British actions. This L.A. Times article asks whether this is what Palin meant:
So was Revere warning the British that he had warned the Colonists? Is that what the prospective presidential candidate meant? Was Revere serving notice (at gunpoint)?
But Palin was clearing talking about Revere’s ride in the above quote from the FOX News interview (“part of his ride was to warn the British”), not whatever Revere said after being captured. Some Palin supporters have went so far as to erroneously modify Paul Revere’s Wikipedia entry to more closely reflect Palin’s cartoon-like account. Palin’s followers will seemingly do anything to make sure their star stays above board intellectually. But it’s really too late for that. She has disgraced herself repeatedly, and I hope that a majority of Americans understand the kind intellectual absentee that she is if she becomes an official candidate for president.