As you, my dear reader, will have noticed, I finally came around to comment a bit on the Tea Party. Following yesterdays State of the Union, much ink has been spent on the Tea Party-rebuttal, delivered by Michelle Bachmann. Michelle Bachmann, who has been to Iowa just the other day, testing soundbites for a potential presidential run (I'd sure welcome that, splitting the Tea Party/Social Conservative field between Huckabee, Palin, and Bachmann, the Republicans might eventually end up nominating someone at least a bit serious - though I've no earthly idea who that would be). Testing Iowa, Bachmann made some nonsense remarks on American history, basically suggesting something along the lines of equality was written into the constitution and ever since only had to be conserved. Chris Matthews of MSNBC's Hardball rightly ripped the Tea Party apart for that:
But it appears to me that - I know this might sound silly - that Matthews is not taking the argument far enough. History is more than some facts neatly arranged on a timeline. History, as every historian will agree, is about competing narratives. And the Bachmann narrative fell remarkably short of making any sense whatsoever. American history is a constant struggle toward more equality, a sense of equality enshrined in the constitution but never actually reached or achieved. This constant struggle is what made America the exceptional power and is arguably the most potent narrative in history. It gives meaning to the struggle of Union soldiers, GIs fighting on Iwo Jima, civil rights advocates and finally those soldiers constantly protesting against Don't Ask Don't Tell. My point is this: If you don't perceive American history as the struggle toward more equality and if you don't want to contribute to that particular struggle, why in the world would you want to run for president?