Before we begin — a brief biographical note.
I grew up in Massachusetts. And as with most schoolchildren of the day those of us who went to the public school system were schooled — OK awash in — Massachusetts history. Life began not with Adam and Eve but the Pilgrims and the Red Sox. In between there was that small event called the American Revolution. You learned all about the latter — physically by walking the Freedom Trail and going to places like Paul Revere’s home — and in literature. This meant every fifth grader (and I could be wrong but I think this was literally a standard across the state) had to memorize Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s classic poem: The Landlord’s Tale: Paul Revere’s Ride. At the least it was a standard in Mrs. Nagel’s classroom and woe betide if you were unprepared on recitation day!
Now it seems that our liberal friends over at Think Progress are pulling the latest Sarah Palin-is- dumb-routine over her reference to Paul Revere’s ride (the same “this Republican is dumb” routine they have been pulling on Republicans since the days when they called Lincoln a “baboon.” One could ask how dumb is it in America to have a 9.1 unemployment rate, but I digress).
So everybody at Think Progress is having a nice chortle at Palin’s expense for supposedly screwing up her history. Or, as Think Progress says, “Sarah Palin Flubs American History.”
Wait just a minute here. What is it that Think Progress writes?
The site says this — and I have placed the bad history of Think Progress in bold print:
Seemingly moved by the historic importance of Boston, Palin decided to recognize the city’s own Paul Revere and his famous “Midnight Ride” in which he hung two lanterns and rode to Lexington to warn Patriot leaders that the British army was arriving “by sea.”
Paul Revere did not hang any lanterns at all. While I could tell you plainly, or you could check here with the Paul Revere House website let’s let Longfellow do it in his legendary verse that I still remember. To double-check I have relied on The Poems of Longfellow as published by Modern Library — the very book which I was given to memorize the poem. And to help the historically challenged at Think Progress who think Governor Palin is historically illiterate, let me again put the appropriate — and accurate — historical fact in bold print.
He said to his friend, ‘If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light, –
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm.
In other words, Paul Revere didn’t hang a solitary lantern in the belfry arch of the North Church. That assignment was given to “his friend.” Why? Because Revere could not possibly be in two places at the same time. He couldn’t “hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch” while at the same time “on the opposite shore will be, ready to ride and spread the alarm, Through every Middlesex village and farm, For the country-folk to be up and to arm.”
What’s the real news in this little reality check?
Think Progress…well…ah…flubs American history.
And these people think Sarah Palin is dumb?