Most of my immigrant ancestors came here from Germany in the 1860s and 1870s. I have no idea why they came. They probably wanted to make sure their descendants were fully ensconced by the time Funyuns were invented.

No doubt they also saw opportunity here, so they moved to Wisconsin (whose name is derived from a Native American name) to a little town called Manitowoc (ditto), where they likely gorged themselves on potatoes and maize every Thanksgiving. 

I’m glad they immigrated because I like my local Trader Joe’s, but I doubt they were coming here for religious freedom. Maybe one of them lived next door to a Drumpf. Who knows? It’s moot, because what they contributed to American culture was no more or less significant than what any other immigrant—from any country—contributed. And it was certainly far less than what our Native American friends gifted us. But folks like former U.S. senator and current CNN contributor Rick Santorum are intent on whitewashing our history.

At a Young America’s Foundation event on Friday, he said this:

x

SANTORUM: “You think about this country, I don’t know of any other country in the world that was settled predominantly by people who were coming to practice their faith. They came here because they were not allowed to practice their particular faith in their own country, and so they came here, mostly from Europe, and they set up a country that was based on Judeo-Christian principles. I say Judeo-Christian, the Mosaic laws, the Ten Commandments, and the teachings of Jesus Christ. The morals and teachings of Jesus Christ. That’s what our founding documents are based on. It’s in our DNA.

You know, if you think of other countries like Italy and Greece and China and Turkey and places like that, they’ve all sort of changed over time. They’ve been there for … millennia in many cases, and their culture has sort of evolved over time; but not us. We came here and created a blank slate, we birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here. I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture. It was born of the people who came here pursuing religious liberty to practice their faith, to live as they ought to live, and have the freedom to do so. Religious liberty. Those are the two bulwarks of America—faith and freedom. You hear it all the time, faith and freedom, faith and freedom. But it is what makes America unique in the world.”

Yeah, I don’t really think Jesus or Moses contributed all that much to our Constitution. For instance, look at the Ten Commandments. The first four—don’t worship other gods, don’t make graven images, don’t use the Lord’s name in vain, and keep the Sabbath—have basically zero to do with our system of government and are straight-up antithetical to “religious freedom.” If you can only worship Yahweh, that kind of paints you into a corner. And Jesus Jumprope-Skipping Christ, using the Lord’s name in vain is protected free speech, you dunce. You can thank our First Amendment for that.

The Fifth Commandment, “honor your father and mother,” is a nice idea, but by no means required. Most of the rest of the commandments—like don’t steal and don’t murder—are just common sense, and are far from unique to Judeo-Christian societies. Also, the whole “do not covet your neighbor’s wife, ox, or donkey” shtick is way, way offensive, man. 

So the whole “we built this country based on the Ten Commandments” line is clearly bullshit.

So where did the venerable ideas behind our Constitution originate? Well, that’s a really interesting question, and the answer is even more interesting: To a significant degree they came from Native American culture. Whoa! Who’da thunk? Other than anyone who’s ever studied American history, that is.

PBS.org:

The Iroquois Confederacy, founded by the Great Peacemaker in 11421, is the oldest living participatory democracy on earth2. In 1988, the U.S. Senate paid tribute with a resolution3 that said, “The confederation of the original 13 colonies into one republic was influenced by the political system developed by the Iroquois Confederacy, as were many of the democratic principles which were incorporated into the constitution itself.”

Holy shit! It’s almost as if this country wouldn’t exist in its current form at all without Native American ideas and principles!

Oh, and then there’s that whole part about, you know, Native Americans being here first—but we really should downplay that lest someone bring up all that awful genocide.

x

x

x

Rick Santorum is a senior political commentator for CNN. Not sure how he got that gig, but maybe it’s about time he loses it.

”This guy is a natural. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry.”  Bette Midler on author Aldous J. Pennyfarthing via Twitter. Need a thorough Trump cleanse? Thanks to Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, Dear F*cking Lunatic, Dear Pr*sident A**clown and Dear F*cking Moron, you can purge the Trump years from your soul sans the existential dread. Only laughs from here on out. Click those links, yo!

Liked it? Take a second to support Community on Patreon!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here