Barack Obama gave the best speech of his presidency last Monday at the Inauguration. He put the Tea Party on notice that they don’t own the Founders or the story of America.
In today’s lead article, I’ll spell out the two main ways to turn history into a motivating myth. The Tea Party tells a fundamentalist myth about the founding of America, full of larger-than-life heroes and prophets whose achievement we have corrupted and degraded. Their program then revolves around repentance for our socialist sins in hopes of returning to the Founders’ Eden.
In the Second Inaugural, Obama told a progressive myth of American history: The Founders left us not a perfect Republic, but a vision that neither they nor anyone since has fully achieved. We are on a centuries-long journey towards that Promised Land, and our journey will not be complete until everyone has the liberty that the Founders managed to guarantee to straight white male Christian property owners.
In the weekly summary, I’ll also describe how the Senate wimped out on filibuster reform, and why that might have very immediate consequences. (That piece is still growing and may turn into its own article.) Also: a strange new legal argument against same-sex marriage, Kerry’s bold testimony on climate change, Republicans might fail to gerrymander the Electoral College, and Bad Lip Reading takes on the NFL.