Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Someone Blunder’d

The tea-baggers had a huge — if “dozens” counts as huge — rally on Capitol Hill yesterday and were exhorted by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to emulate the Charge of the Light Brigade.

As Alfred, Lord Tennyson noted so well, they lost.

Half a league, half a league,
  Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldiers knew
  Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.

Back in April, Glenn Beck held a tea party rally at the Alamo. Which makes me wonder; if these people are going to evoke heroic images of small groups taking on overwhelming forces, can they at least come up with a historic precedent where they actually won? Comparisons to wholesale slaughter, even if it’s immortalized in poetry, aren’t exactly encouraging.