A disturbing development.

Politicians are people, just like you and I. Given that, it is not a shocking idea that they might occasionally screw up. How they respond when they screw up says a lot about them. What’s more important, though, is how the folks who support them react. Take Sarah Palin as for instance.

As you know by now, while on her non-campaign bus tour, she in Boston, where someone asked her about Paul Revere. Almost everyone knows the poem, and many of us know the actual facts of what happened that night on the eve of Concord. Ms. Palin, though, either because she does not know, or because she suffered an all-too-human ‘brain cramp’, managed to make a total muck of telling what happened. All well and good, she proved she’s human and made a mistake. However, she made that mistake in front of a TV camera, and it was all captured for broadcast. Again, no big deal, politicians have shot their mouthes off in all manner of different and “creative” ways in front of cameras since, well, there have been cameras capable of capturing those foul-ups. What happened next, though, is the story that has to be remembered.

Ms. Palin, as you no doubt know, is also a television personality, specifically, a commentator on Fox. That means she has access to the media that a lot of former politicians would not have. That would be a great avenue for her to admit her mistake and explain how it came about. Instead, she has used her media platform to deny that she screwed up, and to insist that all the history books are wrong, that her version of “history” is, in fact, the real one. That she is so unwilling to admit error is a dangerous hint at what sort of mindset she possesses, and should give pause to anyone who’s watched these events unfold.

An even more disturbing outcome of this, though, has been the reaction of the people who support Ms. Palin and her political ambitions. There are confirmed reports that Wikipedia, the online information site, has seen numerous attempts to change it’s entry covering Paul Revere. Those attempts to rewrite history have, almost universally, been attempts to portray Sarah Palin’s telling of the story as the “true” one. What does it say about a group that it will willingly attempt to change the past so that what we think of as “truth” is merely a reflection of a politician’s mistaken pronouncement?

Hubris, that most dangerous of all afflictions that politicians can fall victim to, has brought many political careers to an end. By her actions, Sarah Palin is demonstrating that she is already deeply in the grip of hubris. That those who follow her are willing to do anything to make her look good speaks less of a political movement, and more of a cult. Which one is more of a danger to America and our body politic, I am not sure. That they are a danger to those institutions, I have no doubt whatsoever, because when any politician is placed above the truth, then we are all in danger.


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