During his 1996 reelection campaign,famously recounted "vivid and painful memories of black churches being burned in my own state when I was a child." It was a moving story, and it helped shore up his sagging support among minority voters. It was also a lie. As the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and a variety of other publications pointed out at the time, no such atrocities had occurred in Arkansas during Slick Willie's formative years. Until recently, Clinton's church-burning whopper appeared to be the most egregious modern example of crass and cynical prevarication by a presidential candidate. It has, however, now been supplanted by President Obama's oft-repeated tale about his mother's fictional struggle with her health insurance company while she was battling cancer.
Throughout his 2008 presidential bid, Obama attributed his passion for health care reform to painful memories of his mother's battle with a health insurance company that allegedly tried to avoid paying her medical bills on the pretext that her disease predated her coverage. He used her image in a campaign ad as far back as September of 2007, and he often told the tale during his primary battle with Hillary Clinton. In a New Hampshire debate he phrased it thus: "When I think about health care, I think about my mother, who, when she was dying of cancer, had to read an insurance form because she had just gotten a new job and they were trying to figure out whether or not this was going to be treated as a preexisting condition and whether or not they would pay her medical bills."
Like Bill Clinton's anecdote about charred black churches, the story of Obama's mother was moving. And, like Clinton's tale, it was a work of fiction. Questions were raised about the accuracy of this tale as soon as Obama began peddling it, but the "news" media ignored them and he continued to repeat it even after he had been elected President. He included it, for example, in a 2009 speech to the AMA: "I will never forget watching my own mother… worrying about whether her insurer would claim her illness was a preexisting condition." And, during the height of the ObamaCare debate, he told the attendees of a town hall meeting, "I will never forget my own mother, as she fought cancer in her final months, having to worry about whether her insurance would refuse to pay for her treatment."Now, the President's veracity concerning his mother's dealings with her health insurance company has once again been questioned in a new biography of Ann Dunham. Author Janny Scott writes, in A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother, that there was never any attempt by Ann Dunham's health insurance company to deny payment for her medical bills.
“This is still very real to us,” said a Sons of Confederate Veterans Member.
That had become very apparent to me.
Last Thursday morning, I visited a cemetery that the Gaston County Sons of Confederate veterans are rehabilitating.
I had gotten the assignment earlier in the week. And was both excited and apprehensive about it.
I’m a New Yorker born and bred. Proudly. And I make no bones about the fact the slavery played a part in the Civil War.
Sure, it was in part about states rights and federal powers, but it also had a lot to do with slavery.
At the same time, I’m a history dork, and the idea of hanging out with other history dorks makes me happy.
The morning did not quite go as planned. My car wouldn’t start and I got lost, so I was late. And all the Sons of Confederate Veterans knew that I was from NY because they so my license plates when they came to check on my car.
One of them acknowledged that I was in for a bit of culture shock. I’d always been curious about how the Civil War was taught in Southern Schools. I was guessing a little differently than how I’d been taught.
I met Mr. Hamm, who put himself in charge of telling me the Southern story. He told me that was the group’s mission, was to make sure that Southern Side of the War for Southern Independence was told. Mr. Hamm has the distinction of being an actual son of a Confederate soldier.
When they told me this I had a hard time believing him. The math just didn’t add up. But it actually works. Mr. Hamm’s father served in the War in his early teen years. And then fathered him in his 80s. Obviously, this is unusual, but it’s true.
I knew a lot of what Mr. Hamm told me about. He mainly talked about Lincoln suspending Habeas Corpus. I had actually written a paper about that very topic in high school.
While I didn’t agree with the slant he was presenting, I couldn’t argue with his facts. Mr. Hamm and his fellow camp members are incredibly well-read. And I have a lot of respect for that.
And they do a lot of good when it comes to historical preservation. I’m not just talking about “preserving” the Southern story. They reason I met with them is for their cemetery rehab project. It’s a 18th century cemetery, filled with Revolutionary War vets.
Their commander explained that his group is a “historical honor society” and said restoring a cemetery is a natural extension of this idea.