For Americans over 19, today’s “Russia-gate” headlines harken back to a bygone era of the 2015 “Benghazi-gate” scandal and a time of hot yoga, iPhone Sixes, John Green novels, and a guy named “Jeb!” captured the hearts of dark money donors everywhere.
Hard as it is to believe, it’s been almost two years since the email scandal and “Benghazi” hearings that so closely echo the Russian election tampering news of today. But for Americans who were born then, the similarities are eery.
* With ‘fake news’ being the new rage on social media, The More Perfect Union website has decided to cash in on the clickbait jackpot. While we vehemently defend our reporting on this story, we acknowledge that some ‘facts’ in our reporting may be less than fully accurate.
Shocking official transcripts released today dispute the public accounts of a controversial 1969 meeting of the Harper Valley PTA. In a stunning development that has rocked the town of Harper Valley, Ohio, documents released today under a Freedom of Information Act court order show that contrary to reports at the time, town resident Stella Johnson did not sock it to the Harper Valley PTA.
Indeed, the new FOIA document dump appears to show that all the claims made in the eponymous song and historical TV movie reenactment starring Barbara Eden seem to be at odds with the newly released evidence.
While the story told in the song describes a highly contentious meeting in which Johnson pointed out the various scandalous hypocrisies of the seemingly upstanding townspeople, the documents released today show a rather benign, uneventful PTA meeting where donuts and coffee were served between mundane discussions of upcoming school events and fundraisers.
Original eyewitness reports from the event contended that Johnson, the single mother of a teen daughter, appeared at a meeting of the H.V. Parents-Teachers’ Association to respond to a letter that had purportedly been written by the PTA’s secretary. But in a startling revelation, the so-called “letter” was actually a mimeographed PTA flyer for a junior high hootenanny dance, with a hand written addendum to all PTA chaperons about the dress code. There was no reference to Johnson in particular nor to her drinking habits or rumored “running ‘round with men and going wild.”
According to PTA member Shirley Thompson, accounts of Johnson confronting the assembly and attempting to “sock it to” the hypocritical parents attending the meeting were false. “Bobby Taylor was not even there that night,” explained Thompson, who had allegedly been confronted about her drinking habits. “And as for me having a nip of gin on my breath, I have ulcerative colitis, so it would’ve been impossible for me to consume alcohol and still be alive.”
Contemporaneous claims thatTaylor’s wife uses a lot of ice whenever he’s away were explained by her anemia deficiency, which typically causes the patient to crave chewing ice chips. Similarly, nothing in the FOIA document dump shows that PTA member Kirby Baker’s secretary, Gladys Wilmont, had to leave the town for a rumored abortion (illegal at the time). Ohio court records made available to the Washington Post show that Wilmont left Baker’s employ after being called up by the Ohio National Guard. And contrary to Johnson’s allegations about town resident Willa Mae “(“widow”) Jones alleged exhibitionist behavior, the New York Times has spoken to two sources who say the young widow’s single family residence was being remodeled at the time, with no window shades available for her to pull completely down.
Since Johnson ran for town mayor on a platform of “draining the Harper Valley swamp,” a posthumous recall effort has been launched to rescind her mayoral pension and her mini-skirted statue has been removed from the town square. Her then-teenage daughter, who attended Harper Valley Junior High when she made the false claims, was convicted years later as an accessory in the Manson Family murders and was unavailable for comment.
One-time presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who had defended Johnson’s role in the controversy, expressed shock at the new revelations. Kellyann Conway, a spokesperson for President-elect Donald Trump, said the document leak exposing Johnson’s lies “is just one more example of liberal social values being rejected by rural voters who want to sock it to the corrupt D.C. power establishment.”
Rev. Al Sharpton said he still believes many of the charges about the town’s caucasian residents were “essentially true in spirit if not in fact.”
In the 1979 movie Americathon, a fictional U.S. president decides to hold a telethon to pay down the national debt. That was a satiric look into the “future” of 1998. But just decades later, what seemed like satire then now seems all-too-real. America has become a telethon.
It’s everywhere. On my newsfeed. In late-night comedy shows. At the dinner table and dentist office. Even coming from my kids. The world is now a 24/7 presidential election. They might as well call it an Elect-A-Thon.
Ever since the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation decided to end it’s annual 21-hour charity telethon, America has been in search of it’s next “thon” fix. Sure, there’s still the Boston Marathon, the Penn State “THON” charity dance-a-thon, the St. Jude Trike-A-thon (a real thing), and the “Surf Dog” Dog Surf-A-Thon (I kid you not!).