Monday, September 15, 2008

Fun Facts: The War of 1812

© 2008 Stan Spire

-- Francis Scott Key plagiarized the tune from an English beer drinking song to write the “Star Spangled Banner.” The original song, “To Anacreon In Heaven,” has pagan lyrics referring to Olympus, “The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’ vine." The perfect source for the national anthem of a “Christian” nation. So the next time the SSB is played, stand up, hand over your heart, and think about Venus’s “myrtle.”

-- The British invaded Washington DC and set fire to the place, burning the White House. Those bastards! (Ignore anyone who tells you that previous to this event, America invaded Canada and set fire to York, Upper Canada. No enemy has the right to imitate our unjustifiable actions during a war. Especially torture.)

-- The War of 1812 is hardly remembered in Britain. It’s overshadowed by the fun the English had with Napoleon Bonaparte at the same time.

-- The War of 1812 is hardly remembered in America. More people on the street know more about the latest Hollywood scandal with some strung-out actress in rehab than they do the history of their country. (That’s why so many morons vote Republican.)

BOP: What Were You Celebrating?

© 2008 Stan Spire

So another Battle of Plattsburgh (BOP) celebration has come and gone. But what was the point?

Remembering and honoring those who fought in a decisive battle on Lake Champlain during the War of 1812? Making people aware of the historical events, the forces that brought the United States into conflict with England?

Or was it just an opportunity to get money out of wallets in downtown Plattsburgh to boost the economy? With each celebration, what is more important: promoting history or hawking greasy Italian sausage sandwiches?

It’s a tired but true cliché: Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

In the run up to the War of 1812 war hawks in congress wanted to do more than just make the British back off and leave American sea vessels alone. Some saw this as an opportunity for expansion to the north: Canada. Why, American soldiers would march in and be greeted as liberators from the big bad British.

It didn’t work out that way, even though former President Thomas Jefferson had stated "the acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighbourhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching.” A cakewalk. Mission accomplished. The French people of Quebec obviously didn’t love the British but they were suspicious of American “liberators.”

Of course, history never repeats itself.