I recently started, and abruptly stopped, a reading of American Sphinx, The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis. It wasnâ€™t long into the book that something struck me as odd for a historian to put in an account of Jeffersonâ€™s life. The thought that struck me was on page thirteen of the paperback. While summarily dismissing the book Revolution Song, which Iâ€™ve never read, he boldly espouses the idea that
â€œcommunism since 1989 was an ideological lost cause, loitering on the world stage only as an object lesson in political and economic catastrophe.â€
This statement is what troubled me. How could a Pulitzer Prize winning historian, a winner of the National Book Award, for the very book I held in my hand, miss this point so utterly? Communism is dead? What? Did Reagan so thoroughly defeat the USSR as to eradicate the communist ideology from the planet altogether? Even a lowly naÃ¯ve Robot knows better than that!
Obviously, I had to know more about whoâ€™s words I was reading. Who was this man who held the brush and painted this portrait of one of the most beloved founders in our history? I was astounded and taken aback to learn that Mr. Ellis, as a Professor of History, has been reprimanded for lying about his service during the Vietnam war. He has since regained his chair but for me, the stain remains. His words and depictions of Jefferson and the founding fathers may very well be true, but I simply cannot take the word of an army officer who would lie about having been in combat in Vietnam when, in fact he was not. Granted, this particular biography is at Wikipidia, but the information appears to be valid.
As a secondary exhibit, also referenced at *yecchk* Wikipidia, an article praising the political rhetoric of then candidate Barack Hussein Obama as a man of the people., a great joiner, not a divider. I almost barfed on my keyboard to read the article published in the LA Times penned by Mr. Ellis. Grossly ignoring the ties to any and all of his communist and radical friends like Bill Ayres and Reverend Wright and so forth.
If only Mr. Ellis would have opened his eyes a little wider, maybe he could have seen through the lies and clearly communist ideological thought that Obama holds dear.
The next question that occurred to me was, if Mr. Ellis actually thinks of communism as â€œan object lesson in political and economic catastrophe.â€, then how in the world could he possibly support Obama, who even at that time, to anyone with half a brain, could see as socialist or communist leaning. Was Mr. Ellis engaging in a bit of sleight of hand? Donâ€™t worry about the communist, they are not the problem, how can they be, they donâ€™t exist anymore!
Poppycock! (Always wanted to use that word.)
I am lead to conclude that, unfortunately, Mr. Ellis is possibly nothing more than an agent of subterfuge, an eloquent author yes, but one who uses his power of the pen to muddy the waters of our history with subtle doubt as to the real Character of Thomas Jefferson and the other founding fathers. I wonâ€™t be having any of that, thank you very much, no.
Revisionist history is not history at all.