I will post more on the book as I work my way through, but found this great line from her introduction on the perils of fundamentalism.
Historical fundamentalism is marked by the belief that a particular and quite narrowly defined past--"the founding"--is ageless and sacred and to be worshipped; that certain historical texts--"the founding documents"--are to be read in the same spirit which religious fundamentalists read, for instance, the Ten Commandments; that the Founding Fathers were divinely inspired; that the academic study of history (whose standards of evidence and methods of analysis are based on skepticism) is a conspiracy and, furthermore, blasphemy; and that political arguments grounded in appeals to the founding documents, as sacred texts, and to the Founding Fathers, as prophets, are therefore incontrovertible.
That very accurately describes what we see around us, I think, and explains how conservatives can assert that this is "their country," rather than "ours." None of that makes me feel better, mind you, but it is good to see a historian stepping into the public sphere to discuss how history is written and understood. And, if I understand her argument, she also is critical of the profession for not helping craft the narrative around the Bicentennial when the nation needed one.
Speaking of that, btw, though I didn't watch the rally, I took great pleasure in reading about Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's "Rally for Sanity" yesterday. Especially welcome were the wonderful signs. A few of my favorites:
- "I spell check my political rage."
- "I'm generally okay with this administration!1! I just have points of disagreement I'd be happy to talk calmly about."
- "Please STOP Trying to Take Back 'Your' Country. It's MINE Too! How 'Bout We SHARE?"
- "Hitler was a total Nazi."
- "GOD HATES FIGS."