Saturday, July 2, 2011
Della and Michele
Speaking of conservative nutbags, Michele Bachmann has risen in fame thanks to her performance at a Republican candidates debate and her strong showing in the Iowa straw poll-second behind Mittens Romney, or as we like to call him, Guy Smiley. She's getting lots of attention and making lots of gaffes as a result. You probably heard about her saying John Wayne came from her home town of Waterloo, Iowa, and that she has his super-patriotic blood flowing through her all-American veins. Turns out Wayne's parents were from Waterloo, but the Duke was born in another Iowa town beginning with a W. Meanwhile, the only John Wayne who lived in Bachmann's home burg is serial killer John Wayne Gacy (pictured), who probably was named for the Duke. (Gacy was born in Chicago but moved with his parents to Waterloo when he was a child.) Evidently, Wayne's birth was a local legend no one on Bachmann's staff bothered to check. (I leafed through a Wayne bio at the Strand to get the right info.) But aside from the error, what crap is this broad selling? An illusion of an America that never existed. Wayne was a movie star acting in fantasies about the old west and World War II. In real life, Wayne never went to war like his contemporaries Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, and Clark Gable. Also in real life, her home town produced a murderer rather than a hero.
Bachmann is in the business of selling an image of America to those Tea Party people who want to believe we lived in a world of white picket fences and white, straight, Christian people, and want to live there again. No gays, no Muslims, no abortions, just Archie and Betty sipping malteds at Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe. She extends this illusion all the way back to the 18th century with her bogus history lessons about the Founding Fathers working tiredlessly to end slavery. George Stephanolous--that's a foreign sounding name, she probably thought to herself during the interview--grilled her on point. She responded John Quincy Adams (pictured) worked against slavery and though he was a boy, he worked as his father's secretary and was part of the revolutionary era. WHAT? First of all John Quincy did not work as his dad's secretary until John Adams went to France as minister to join Ben Franklin to get funds to support America's struggle against Great Britain. Young Johnny was at home with Abigail when John Adams was working on getting the Declaration of Independenance ratified. When the father and son were in Paris they were not working on ending slavery.
Many years later, JQ Adams became the sixth president and then a Congressman in the 1830s and 40s. That's when he worked against slavery, despite the strong opposition of Southerners. You couldn't even mention slavery in Congress for several terms. Adams did suceed in passing a law to abolish the slave trade in the District of Columbia, but he died many years before the Civil War.
George did point out JQ Adams was NOT a founding father. He should have pressed her and said, "Adams is a bit of a strecth, what other founding father worked tirelessly to end slavery?" But he moved on to other topics. The point is Bachmann is faciliatating this alternate-reality version of American history where the revolutionary generation is seen as god-like beings incapable of supporting an evil like slavery.
She also has a lesbian stepsister and despite this has campaigned against gay marriage. Her husband runs a mental health clinic which advocates and practices gay-conversion therapy. Again, this is supporting an illusion--that homosexuality is an illness which can be cured.