As members of the Tea Party movement campaign enthusiastically ahead of this year's midterm elections, the political analyst Michelle Bernard and the national political columnist John Heilemann parse what members, supporters and scholars have to say about the Tea Party. Keli Carender is credited with organising one of the first Tea Party rallies - she reflects on how the movement has blossomed. The Tea Party candidate Joe Miller from Alaska explains his hopes for change in America. A Harvard University Professor, Jill Lepore, explains how she thinks the Tea Party has crafted a fable from American history in order to propel its message.
The rhetoric of the Tea Party is peppered with references to the American Revolution. And the eponymous event — the one that took place in 1773, when the Sons of Liberty emptied hundreds of crates of British Tea into the Boston Harbor — is just one such example. But the modern-day Tea Party is hardly the first political movement to use the past as political fodder. That issue is at the heart of a forthcoming book by Jill Lepore, the New Yorker writer and Harvard historian. In the “The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle over American History,” historian and writer Jill Lepore says the 1773 Tea Party has been a political device for many groups over the years.
Tea party activists and their leaders like Glen Beck claim they follow what the founding fathers intended. Harvard history professor and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore says 18th century history is a bit messier than they might realize. She talks about the battle over the meaning of history in her book "The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History."
Members of the modern tea party movement take their cues from history. The only problem is the history books they read are often wrong. But that's no reason to look down on them argues Harvard historian Jill Lepore. In fact, she says, most of us don't have our facts straight when it comes to the founding of this country. Most kids learn about the American Revolution in elementary school, and they rarely visit the subject again in college. The Boston Tea Party, the Continental Congress, the entire fight for independence and the creation of a new government — our versions of these stories are often legends filled with exaggeration and oversimplification. Lepore visited Seattle in October, 2010, to talk about her book "The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History." But her talk was not a condemnation of the far right wing. Instead, Lepore showed how both ends of the political spectrum have misrepresented history to further their causes, and she puts most of the blame on her own profession. If historians did a better job teaching this stuff, she points out, we'd all be better off.
A panel discussion on the Tea Party. The participants present their thoughts the Party's supporters, what they stand for and their potential impact to the upcoming 2010 mid-term elections. The panelists include Dick Armey, former House majority leader, chairman of FreedomWorks and author of Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto, Kate Zernike, national correspondent with the New York Times and author of Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America, Jill Lepore, history professor at Harvard University and author of The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle Over American History, and Tucker Carlson, editor in chief of The Daily Caller. The event is hosted by the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
Americans have always put the past to political ends. The Union laid claim to the Revolution--so did the Confederacy. Civil rights leaders said they were the true sons of liberty--so did Southern segregationists. This book tells the story of the centuries-long struggle over the meaning of the nation's founding, including the battle waged by the Tea Party, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and evangelical Christians to "take back America."
AMERICAN CHRONICLES about Robert C. W. Ettinger, a founder of the cryonics movement. Robert C. W. Ettinger is ninety-one years old and he is a founder of the cryonics movement. When he dies, the blood will be drained from his body, antifreeze will be pumped into his arteries, and holes will be drilled in his skull, after which he will be stored in a vat of liquid nitrogen at minus three hundred and twenty degrees Fahrenheit. He expects to be defrosted, sometime between fifty and two hundred years from now, by scientists who will make him young and strong and tireless. Ettinger has already frozen his mother and his two wives, along with ninety-two other people who await resurrection inside giant freezers in a building just a few blocks from his house, in Clinton Township, Michigan. The Cryonics Institute occupies a seven-thousand-square-foot warehouse in an industrial park. Past a shabby waiting room is the small office of Andy Zawacki, who constitutes half of C.I.’s full-time staff. He is also one of C.I.’s more than eight hundred members, which means that he plans to be frozen when he dies. The writer visited the freezer storage area. There were fourteen cylindrical freezers. Each held six patients, and all but four were filled. There were also three older, rectangular freezers. The writer asked if the corpses were put in canisters within the cylinders. “No, in sleeping bags,” Ettinger said. Ettinger was born in Atlantic City in December of 1918. His mother’s family came from Odessa; his father was born in Germany. In about 1922, the family moved to Detroit. When he was eight years old, Ettinger started reading Amazing Stories, a sci-fi magazine. Ettinger dates his interest in immortality to 1931, when he read “The Jameson Satellite.” Mentions Ted Williams’s head, which was frozen and stored at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, C.I.’s chief rival. “Neuropreservation” has a scientific attitude, but that doesn’t make it science. Credentialled laboratory scientists don’t generally think the dead will one day awaken. The consensus appears to be that when you try to defrost a frozen corpse you get mush. And even if, in the future, scientists could repair the damage done to cells by freezing and thawing, what they would have, at best, is a cadaver. Ettinger announced the dawn of what he called the Freezer Era at the height of the Cold War. His book, “The Prospect of Immortality,” appeared in 1964, the year “Dr. Strangelove” hit theatres. When the book came out, Ettinger became something of a star. The first human being was frozen in 1966; it went badly, and the body had to be buried a few months later. The following year, a man was frozen by an organization that later became the Cryonics Society of California. Ettinger’s father and brother were not frozen; they “were lost.” His first patient was his mother, Rhea, whom he froze in 1977. His second patient was his first wife, Elaine, who died in 1987. He remarried the following year. His second wife, Mae, suffered a stroke in 2000, and she was frozen as well. Ettinger finds nothing so uninteresting as history. Describes the writer and Ettinger going through his family photo albums.