“As I recall in my history…”

Teabagger and Super-DUPER, Very. Serious. Ultimo Patriot J.D. Hayworth made a huge fool out of himself a few days ago by blustering on and on regarding the unimportance of Congress’s stipulated duty to officially declare war before the start of major military engagements. And then going absolutely out of his way to add this (via TPM):

“But I would also point out, that if we want to be sticklers, the war that Dwight Eisenhower led in Europe against the Third Reich was never declared by the United States Congress,” said Hayworth. “Recall, the Congress passed a war resolution against Japan. Germany declared war on us two days later. We never formally declared war on Hitler’s Germany, and yet we fought the war.”

Of course FDR and the United States Congress did declare war on the Third Reich.  But that didn’t stop Hayworth from digging a deeper hole by subsequently stating “but as I recall in my history, Germany declared war on the United States, not vice-versa.”  A textbook example of the conservative assault on history.  The levels of arrogance and ignorance displayed by this telling peek behind the curtain into an uber-conservative psyche is instructive, informative and terrifying. The pushback must begin.  You are not entitled to subscribe to, and perpetuate, your own version of history, Mr. Hayworth.   Real facts corroborated by real historical documents prove unequivocally that the United States did officially declare war on Germany.

Conservatives, particularly Tea Partiers like Hayward, are always the ones who cloak themselves tightest in patriotism (a narrow, warped conception of patriotism to begin with), and conversely they are always the first to question and demean the level of patriotism exhibited by others.  Yet here this man is, a former U.S. Congressman running for the Senate, failing miserably to understand basic, easily accessible facts of recent American History; a recent chapter of American History that has been celebrated, written about, taught in schools, dramatized endlessly in films etc. When confronted with his abysmal grasp of the basic history of U.S. involvement in World War II, Hayworth did us a favor by outlining the contours of the conservative assault on history.   “In his history” the U.S. never did declare war.  This is the new paradigm they are brazenly trying to construct.  History, you see, is something that they own.  Something they are exclusively entitled to shape, expound upon and omit unpleasant facts and events from at will according to their whims and needs.   History is what they say it is.  Facts be damned.  People need to understand this.

Their follow-up was even more trite and sorry (if possible).  The Hayworth campaign issued a press release that said, in part, “the real question is not who misspoke about an event nearly seventy years ago.” Notice the smug condescension and arrogant dismissal of World War II, as the Hayworth campaign seems to be implying that some vague, ill-defined “event seventy years ago” isn’t important enough to remember.  Not when there are immigrants to bash and imaginary communists in the White House.  This has to be the first time in recorded history that a conservative (not named Pat Buchanan) publicly dismissed and downplayed the importance of World War II.  Bravo.

Another more tame example of this insistence on dismissing facts and the history they supports as irrelevant, when they don’t fit your personalized version of history, comes from this hapless, Palin-endorsed empty suit running for the seat in Idaho’s 1st Congressional District.   The candidate (who shall remain nameless) referred to Puerto Rico as a “country”, when, of course, it is actually a United States territory.  Confronted by this unfortunate fact the man threw a tantrum wherein he said “I really don’t care what it is. It doesn’t matter.”  His campaign, like Hayworth’s, also miraculously managed to find a way to make things more pathetic by issuing a ‘correction’ that said “He clearly knows Puerto Rico is an American territory. He served in Guantanamo for awhile.”  Clearly.

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