THE BLOG
11/30/2010 09:57 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

How to Turn Anything Political

A week ago, Republican Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO) stood on the House floor and lied about the Bible and so much more in a ham-fisted attempt to politicize Thanksgiving, the most graceful and introspective of American holidays.

In one noteworthy passage, he sermonized about the pilgrims --

"They came here with the idea that after trying socialism that it wasn't going to work. They realized that it was unbiblical, that it was a form of theft, so they pitched socialism out. They learned that in the early 1620's."

Forget for a moment that Mr. Akin just demonstrated that he would be a losing contestant on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? That this is, after all, the very core of U.S. history he's mangling, the nation's birth, trying to corrupt a solemn national day of thanks into a far right polemic, even while the rest of us all know -- all -- that the reason the pilgrims came to America was (let's say it together now, on three...) to escape religious escape persecution.

Forget for the moment that these pilgrims were called "Separatists" because they wanted to separate from the Church of England -- not the British Crown -- wanting to practice their faith freely, however with there being a national religion, the Act of Uniformity in 1559 legally required attendance at Church of England services.

(Sorry to throw in these boring details, I know that pesky facts muck up a good, fake story, even if delivered from a real congressman, but it creates a starting point and at least I told you that you can forget them.)

Just as you can forget too that because what the pilgrims were separating from being, a religious faith tied to the Church of England, it was not "unbiblical" but the very definition of biblical.

Forget even that since the goal of our founding pilgrims was to be allowed to practice their personal religion freely, without laws or persecution requiring them otherwise, that means America is founded on this very principal, and that whatever your religion -- Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, Jewish, Mormon, Hindu, Zoroastrian, or yes, Islam -- you should be free to do so without any oppression whatsoever. The cherished principle of freedom of Religion comes directly from that. But forget that, too, just like all those who question that the exact phrase isn't in the Constitution forget it.

Forget too that this is just another effort by the far right to move the bar and "create our own reality," as a Bush aide told Ron Suskind. Forget, as Daniel Moynihan said, that "you are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts."

Forget it all. Forget that socialism wasn't developed for a century-and-a-half after the pilgrims. Forget facts, forget reality.

Forget it because there is proof that refutes the political lies of Todd Akin (R-MO).

Mr. Akin shamefully chose to bastardize the birth of American history to make a political punching bag out of Thanksgiving. But unlike Rep. Akin, my words aren't empty prattle without substantiation. They are supported by evidence -- the diary of someone who was there. The famous Hapgood Cavendish. A pilgrim who came to America on the Mayflower.

Todd Akin believes he can say whatever he wants, and that makes it so. But that works two ways. Because fake facts are available to everyone.


The Diary of Hapgood Cavendish

November 3
Received an invitation from Reverend Chestnut for dinner in three weeks. Also have four other requests that same night. I knowest not what I'll do. Big conflict. O the burden of being popular. Ha ha.

November 8
I asked Dorthea Worster to join me for dinner on the 24th, but she hath plans with John Alden. Sigh. Womenfolk do oft prefer the scalawags.

November 12
The home of Silas Ford near burned down today, but all united as one to extinguish the blaze. 'Tis a fine way to live, a fine way for the town to operate. As the Good Book says, "Do Unto Others." It was very biblical.

November 17
Sanity reigns. No conflict of parties. The whole town is joining together for one big dinner. Heaven's grace, I'm very thankful. A fine way for the town to operate. As Jesus said, "Love Thy Neighbor." Very biblical. Had we but lived this way in England, we might have stayed.

November 20
No idea what I'll bringeth for Thursday's banquet. Needst figure it out later. Too busy today dealing with all the accursed wild turkeys overrunning my property. What to do with them?!

November 23
Dorthea is free to join me tomorrow. She hath broken her plans with John Alden. It seemeth he had besides asked Priscilla Mullins for the same night, and when caught he claimed 'twas on behalf of Miles Standish. How tomfoolish doth he take people?! He tried the same tale last Micklemas!

November 24
A bountiful feast. Pie from pumpkins, who'd have thought? Someone brought a lovely new song for the throng to sing. I hope no one ever changeth the words, but knowing the passage of time, they will. For posterity, here are the original --

We gather together
To ask the Lord's pardon;
He hastens to chastise
The blind who won't see
That viewed through a prism
What some call Socialism
To Jesus is a name.
"Love thy neighbor - and Me."

November 25
We left England to escape religious persecution.