I saw a tweet or two on Twitter from Margo and Roger Ebert which intrigued me. They were about Congresswoman Michele Bachmann signing a pledge called "The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon MARRIAGE and FAMILY". But the tweets referred to slavery. Curious, I followed a link which led me to an article by Jason Linkins on the Huffington Post entitled: “Bob Vander Plaats, Iowa Social Conservative Kingmaker, Unveils A New Pledge For 2012ers”. I read it and was duly appalled by the entire outrageous “Vow” and in particular by the language quoted in Mr. Linkins article: Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President.
I wanted to send out a tweet about all this, but first I wanted to check out the “Vow” for myself. I went to the website of “The Family Leader” who wrote the “Vow” and clicked on the link which took me to the PDF. As I read it I couldn’t find the slavery reference. I did note that the URL had the date “7.9.11” in the address and yet the Huffington Post article was published two days earlier. So I copied all four pages into a Pages document and searched it for the key phrases. Nothing. Then I downloaded it as a PDF and did the same search in Reader. Again, nothing. So I logged onto Huffington Post and left a comment: “Has "The Family Leader" edited the pledge? I cannot find the 1860 slavery reference in the current pdf of the vow or the notes” I also put in the link to the PDF of the “Vow”.
Then I went back to Twitter and tweeted my query to Margo and to Ebert. Finally I tweeted it to Jason Linkins of the Huffington Post. In less than an hour Mr. Linkins tweeted back to me: “Thanks for the heads up!”. By 9:00 p.m. Mr. Linkins had posted a new article on the Huffington Post: “The Family Leader Drops Controversial Section Concerning Slavery From 'Marriage Vow' Pledge”. And there at the very bottom of the article he wrote: Hat Tip @pinkgranite The @pinkgranite was a link which opened to the relevant tweets I had sent out earlier.
Fortunately, the original version of the “Vow” - the one signed by Michele Bachmann - has not been lost to the ether. And the extant revised “Vow” still provides useful insight into the thinking of the right-wing. The 2012 presidential election is just 16 months away. Things won’t get prettier nor will they get easier as the calendar pages flip by. As I wrote to George Geder, who posted about the slavery version on his blog this afternoon: “We'll all have to stay vigilant!”
This post was edited and updated throughout the evening.