In a recent article in The American Scholar, Jill Lepore argues that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” was more about slavery than it was about Paul Revere.
What is perhaps most interesting about her piece is the way she shows how Longfellow’s poem was appropriated by Martin Luther King Jr., Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd and George Pataki. Here is the passage on Pataki:
Last year, on the anniversary of Paul Revere’s ride, George Pataki turned up in Boston. Pataki, the former Republican governor of New York, was thinking about running for president; in this, the age of the Tea Party, Pataki was in need of a Founding Father. In the North End, he positioned himself in front of an equestrian statue of Paul Revere. He was there to launch “Revere America,” a nonprofit “dedicated to advancing common sense public policies rooted in our traditions of freedom and free markets, and that will once again make America secure and prosperous for generations to come.” Its goal was “to harness and amplify the voices of the American people to give them a greater say in fighting back against the threats to freedom posed by Washington liberals.” Mainly, though, Pataki wanted to gather signatures on a petition “to repeal and replace Obamacare,” which you could sign at the Revere America website by clicking on an icon of a quill and inkwell on a piece of parchment. “We’re standing near where Paul Revere, on this day, 235 years ago, began a ride,” Pataki said. “He was looking to tell patriotic Americans, ‘Our freedom was in danger.’ We’re here today to tell the people of America that once again our freedom is in danger.” From health care.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.