With the exception of some diehard fans of conspiracy theories and QAnon addicts, there are few, if any, celebrations of the cacophony (perhaps magacophony is better) that presently envelops our civil discourse. Especially since the advent of universally available social media opportunities, the volume of communications, in total and in tenor, is literally overwhelming, distressing the cognitive senses.
Myth and fact are being conflated, sometimes given identity with one another, too often in the service of political ideology. Traditionally esteemed avenues of inquiry, especially history, are routinely corrupted by assertions of myths as reality and the conversion of facts into convoluted expressions of opinions steeped in an effort to score a political point. It may be too much to hope such presentations are having the effect of boring the reading public and encouraging it to be more selective, discriminating.
Myth and fact are being conflated, sometimes given identity with one another, in the service of political ideology. Traditionally esteemed avenues of inquiry, especially history, are routinely corrupted by assertions of myths as reality and the conversion of facts into convoluted expressions of opinions steeped in an effort to score a political point.
So-called conservative ideologues seek to be influencers in pursuing this inanity, inundating the market place of communications with putrid punditry. Recently, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), apparently smarting from his several recent run-ins with Dr. Anthony Fauci, published a fundraising email with the following message:
Friend, the COVID hysteria has already gone on too long…. And these power-hungry bureaucrats don’t want to let go! That’s probably why we’re hearing a lot about this new spooky “delta variant.” Don’t let the fear mongers win. New public England (sic) study of delta variant shows 44 deaths out of 53,822 (.08%) in the unvaccinated group. We must stand strong on the side of science and refuse to allow another lockdown, more regulation, and more useless rules.
Consider the choice of verbiage: “COVID hysteria” replaces pandemic and health safety regulations. “Power-hungry bureaucrats” that are not named, not to mention the powers they are alleged to seek. A virus that has caused the deaths of more than 600,000 Americans has become a “spooky” variant. A misattributed study demonstrates only a small fraction of deaths due to the “spooky” virus. For that reason, “We must stand strong on the side of science” argues Mr. Paul. Resist “another lockdown, more regulations, and more useless rules” that might save lives.
Elmer Fudd and Senator Foghorn Leghorn are far more eloquent and precise than the batch of buzzword gobbledygook produced by this US senator. It may be that the Bluegrass Senator is smoking too much grass. Perhaps he believes that his message is so amusing that readers will pony up contributions for its entertainment value. And that by using the Fauci exhortation to believe in (“stand strong on the side of”) science, folks will believe he is actually on that side.
In a similar vein very recently, the former press secretary to the former president, Kayleigh McEnany, appearing in a Fox News segment, proclaimed that, “We know most of our forefathers, all of our main Founding Fathers, were against slavery, recognized the evils of it.”
Pretty much gobsmackingly incorrect as a matter of historical record, as most high school students could vouch. While our textbooks may laud the accomplishments of the nation’s colonial leaders and authors of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, for the most part, they also acknowledge that many of them were slave owners. History records that 41 of the 56 signers of the Declaration were slave owners. Thomas Jefferson, surely a “main” Founding Father, alone owned more than 600 slaves. Et tu, Kayleigh?
It is difficult to square McEnany’s astonishing assertions with her law degree from [elite?] Harvard (!). It may be possible that her employment with Fox News justifies explanation for her blather. Whatever the explanation, in this instance the “facts” are wholly fabricated, then woven into an ersatz version of historical myth. Compared with Senator Paul, McEnany’s pronouncement is blatantly incredible. It is uncertain whether her words are even acceptable as propaganda.
On another front, the conservative intellectual machine has raised the consciousness of millions of citizens to the topic of critical race theory (CRT), an academic paradigm generally taught in law schools. This “spooky” (to parrot Senator Paul) virus has been manufactured by opposition ideologues to be invading the public school system across the country, arousing the ire of parents.
In Texas, CRT was detected in a variant strain to be introduced at a museum lecture about a book on the Alamo. The work by a team of academics examines the role slavery played leading up to the Battle of the Alamo, and was to be previewed at a Texas state history museum.
In Texas, CRT was detected in a variant strain to be introduced at a museum lecture about a book on the Alamo. The work by a team of academics examines the role slavery played leading up to the Battle of the Alamo, and was to be previewed at a Texas state history museum. Hours prior to its scheduled start, the event was canceled by the state’s lieutenant governor, a member of the institution’s board, who proudly tweeted his cancellation of the lecture, offering, “This fact-free rewriting of TX history has no place @BullockMuseum.”
Indeed, no “fact-free” material in Texas is to be heard, much less tolerated. Spooky facts are as deadly as spooky virus variants. The book’s publisher countered:
Just as the site of the Alamo was left in ruins for decades, its story was forgotten and twisted over time, with the contributions of Tejanos–Texans of Mexican origin, who fought alongside the Anglo rebels–scrubbed from the record, and the origin of the conflict over Mexico’s push to abolish slavery papered over. As uncomfortable as it may be to hear for some, celebrating the Alamo has long had an echo of celebrating whiteness.
Whatever the facts are about the Alamo and Texas history, political leadership in the Lone Star State decided that the absence of any new views of that period in its history is a better choice. Senator Paul and former press secretary McEnany asserted a somewhat different approach to myth and fact but, in the end, achieved a similar result—confusion and ignorance in the service of some politically correct ideology.
A recent poll indicated that 63% of Republicans (i.e., conservatives) believe the 2020 presidential election was “stolen.” While that result may be a fact, it is one cultivated by myth. Time will tell whether the 2016 margin of 190,000 votes that propelled the election of the 45th president might be mitigated by the 7 million margin that elected number 46. History thrives on facts while ideology succeeds more through myth and fiction.
There is apocryphal material that promotes that Davy Crockett, the Tennessee icon, perished at the Alamo on behalf of liberty against an evil Mexican empire. Others maintain that Crockett was executed after capture at the fort.
At VoxFairfax, however, we shall always remain convinced of the words in 1954’s The Ballad of Davy Crockett, wherein the legendary hero “Killed him a bear when he was only three.” No political ideology can erase the myth-fact of that accomplishment.