Felonial Williamsburg

August 14th, 2010

Another entry in our historical revisionism series, inspired by History is their cup of tea (Washington Post 8/01/10) and Williamsburg chosen to host 2012 national governors’ meeting (DailyPress.com 8/11/10).

“General, when is it appropriate to resort to arms to fight for our liberty?” – Teabagger tourist at Colonial Williamsburg

“Only when all peaceful rememdies have been exhausted. Or if we are forced to do so in our own self-defense.” – unfortunate response from the reenactor portraying General George Washington

“The friends of Government were insulted, abused, and overawed into silence or an apparent acquiescence; and to yield to the treasonable fury of so small a portion of the United States would be to violate the fundamental principle of our Constitution, which enjoins that the will of the majority shall prevail… If the laws are to be so trampled upon with impunity, and a minority (a small one too) is to dictate to the majority, there is an end put at one stroke to republican government; and nothing but anarchy and confusion is to be expected hereafter. Some other man or society may dislike another law and oppose it with equal propriety until all laws are prostrate, and everyone (the strongest, I presume) will carve for himself.” – the real George Washington


Our Founding Fathers rebelled against a far-away government

That acted without their participation or consent.

“No taxation without representation” was the rallying cry,

Only half of which today’s Teabaggers apply.


Today, we have the same Constitutional Republic that the Founders established,

Thought not the President or Congress that the Teabaggers wished.

Their policies don’t meet with Teabagger approval,

So the Tea Party (“if necessary”) counsels forced removal.


The Father of Our Country would never countenance such action

And would vigorously oppose any such faction.

Teabaggers might find one of his most important acts as president surprising:

He dispatched federal tropps to crush an armed uprising.


Washington himself also proposed the first federal tax

Which the aforementioned armed rebels wanted to ax.

They sought to win with arms what they had lost with their votes,

Behavior which a democracy’s health rarely promotes.


But the real crime perpetrated here

Is coating misguided ideology with a historical veneer.

In this way Teabaggers hope to claim the mantle

Of those who created the system they want to dismantle.


And those Williamsburg reenactors that support that attempt

Prove they regard our true history with only contempt.

Their mission is to entertain and enlighten,

Not misinform, incite, and frighten.


I emailed the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to protest

The view which their faux-Founding Father had falsely professed.

It’s not that I was trying to get the guy fired,

Just asking their reenactors to be by actual history inspired.


After all, those who don’t understand history shouldn’t publicly bleat it,

Because otherwise, we’ll all be doomed to repeat it.

And the history we’ll repeat isn’t the Revolution any more:

The history we’ll repeat is the Civil War.


But Teabaggers can’t learn about that in Williamsburg

They need to visit a little town called Gettysburg.

It was a bloody battle in a bloody war,

The likes of which the world had never seen before.


The South fought nobly for an ignoble cause

Which the death of many hundred thousands did cause.

That’s what happens when you use bullets to obtain what ballots could not,

At that’s what Faux George unfortunately forgot.


What then should be his punishment

For hinting at violent overthrow of our legitimately elected government?

No, not a punishment per se,

Just more attention to what reenactors say.


Faux George should learn some real history before reenacting it,

And learn more about our Constitution before attacking it.

He needs to better inform himself before making another speech,

And go back to school before he can teach.


Later on, Faux George did redeem himself,

(Politely) smacking down a Teabagger a little full of himself.

So I think he can be forgiven this time,

But to let his earlier statement stand would be a historical crime.


And though it’s common in politics to disagree,

Giving comfort to those who wage war on the US is still a felony.

***

Here’s Rachel’s 8/02/10 report on the Teabagger attraction to Williamsburg. While she portrayed the reenactors as innocent victims of Teabagger attempts to embroil them in modern-day politics, it appears that at least one of them (the actor purporting to portray the Father of Our Country) is a fellow traveler.

 

From: Newsericks@gmail.com
Sent: Saturday, August 14, 2010 5:50 PM
To: ‘tsutphin@cwf.org’
Subject: Historical accuracy complaint
  
To T. Sutphin
Manager of Historical Reenactments
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
 
Dear Sir/Madam:
 
I am writing in response to the article about Colonial Williamsburg which appeared in the 8/01/10 Washington Post, “History is their cup of tea” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/31/AR2010073103051.html). The article reports the following exchange between a visitor and the reenactor playing George Washington: “General, when is it appropriate to resort to arms to fight for our liberty?” – tourist at Colonial Williamsburg “Only when all peaceful remedies have been exhausted. Or if we are forced to do so in our own self-defense.” – response from the actor portraying General George Washington
 
I have visited Williamsburg in the past with my family, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. I also believe that Colonial Williamsburg performs an important function in educating Americans about our colonial and revolutionary history. For those reasons, I would like to express my regret regarding the above response by the reenactor portraying George Washington.
 
As President Washington’s response to the Whiskey Rebellion demonstrates, Washington would not countenance any use of violence in response to policies adopted through the democratic process he helped establish. The American colonies’ justifiable response to “taxation without representation” by the British Crown and Parliament was a far cry from current Tea Partier opposition to healthcare reform and other policies adopted by our democratically elected government. Washington’s writings show conclusively that the real George Washington would have emphasized that distinction, and it would therefore be more historically accurate for your reenactor to do the same.
 
I believe that the reenactor’s other responses reported in the article were consistent with Washington’s historic beliefs, but that a correction is in order for the response quoted above.
 
Thank you for your attention in this matter.
 
Sincerely,
Ray in DC
www.Newsericks.com
 
PS: You can read my blog post on in which I discuss this issue further at www.newsericks.com/felonial-williamsburg. Please feel free to comment if you have differing views on the subject, or reply by email. I’ve also written another Williamsburg-related blog post at http://newsericks.com/Back-to-Your-Vision-of-the-Past, so feel free to read and comment on both of those. Please also note that my purpose with these comments is not to criticize Williamsburg per se, but to raise this as an issue of political accuracy. (Also, to in part make up for my satire, I’ve included multiple links to your website, so please consider that free advertising…)

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