In a recent move the President ordered 4,000 National Guardsmen to the city of Boston, Massachusetts, to work in conjunction with local government and law enforcement officials to restore order after tax protestors engaged in a series of violent protests in response to recent tax laws. These protests have resulted in vandalism, destruction of government and private property, and assaults upon those charged with collecting the taxes imposed by recent changes in the tax code.
Now before you run off to Google this to learn more about it, realize that it did not happen yesterday, it did not happen a week ago, and it did not happen within the past year; it happened in 1768 when King George deployed 4,000 British Regulars, (otherwise known as Redcoats), to Boston to restore order after protests erupted after the passing of a law that imposed taxes on all printed goods–The Stamp Act.
I wrote that in the manner I did to prove to you that how you feel about certain events is based upon your perspective of the event itself. None of us were alive in 1768, so all we know about what occurred back then is what we have been taught in our history books. We view those who protested against these taxes, (ultimately leading to America gaining her independence), as patriots; our Founding Fathers. Yet if similar tax protests were to erupt today we would view those protesting as anti-government protesters, or the actions of some sort of radical right wing extremist group.
Can’t you see that those protesting against the Stamp Act, those who participated in the Boston Tea Party, and those who stood their ground at Lexington and Concord were all violating the laws enacted by their government–yet we call them patriots today? But if some group were to take similar action in protest against our existing government today we would call then lawbreakers and side against them.
What was the American Revolution if it was not a small percentage of the population of the Colonies rebelling against the established authority; effectively telling the English Crown, “We don’t need you anymore; we can govern ourselves quite well without your interference.” However, for someone to stand up today and say that our government has gotten too big, too powerful, and that we should rise up and smack it back down to size; Oh dear, the people get their feathers all ruffled and call them some sort of nut job and a danger to society. After all, what would the people of America do without government?
Anti-government protests are the seed from which our American Revolution sprouted. Yet today any kind of protest is strictly confined to the left right paradigm; meaning you can protest against one candidate or the other; the agenda of one political party over the agenda of the other, but not against government itself; that’s simply not tolerated. Did our Founders say to themselves, “Let’s hope that once the Whigs take over in Parliament things will get better; or maybe that when the Tories regain control things will improve for us?”
NO, they didn’t. Thomas Jefferson stated it best in his Summary View of the Rights of British America, “Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate and systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.”
I could forgive my government today if it passed a law out of a simple misunderstanding of the powers given it, or the nature of my rights. But I cannot forgive them for passing law after law after law which prove a clear design to destroy the liberty that government was instituted to protect; and I don’t care whether these laws are passed by Republicans or Democrats; it is GOVERNENT that is passing and enforcing them!
Most people I know are stuck in the two party paradigm of arguing against the ‘other party’ while not seeing the danger posed to their liberty by government as an entity. They argue and fight with each other while their government steadily grows larger and more restrictive of the freedom it was established to protect.
Just look at what happened to the career of comedienne Kathy Griffin after she posed for that photo shoot holding up a faux severed head of Donald Trump; her career was effectively over after the backlash from Trump supporters. Yet if I were a betting man I’d say that privately some of these same Trump supporters chuckled inwardly at the images of Barack Obama dangling from a noose that made their way around the internet while he was President.
Were these political protests in poor taste–probably–but it is still the right of those protesting to make their views known in whatever manner they want as long as they don’t physically threaten the life of a sitting president.
The use of effigies to express unhappiness with the actions of those in power dates all the way back to the American Revolution when an effigy of Andrew Oliver was hung from the Liberty Tree in Boston. How many of you know that the Liberty Tree was an actual tree located in Boston, and not just a political metaphor used by Thomas Jefferson?
Located at the corner of Essex and Orange Streets in Boston The Liberty Tree was the site which the Patriots would gather to foment political discord and acts of civil disobedience against the established authorities.
Andrew Oliver was the Colonist who was chosen to implement the taxes imposed by the Stamp Act upon the people of Boston; therefore he was wildly unpopular. On August 14, 1765 an effigy of Andrew Oliver was hung from this elm tree in protest against both him, and the taxes he was charged with imposing. But, it didn’t end there. A few days later they took the effigy down and marched it to Oliver’s office, which they tore down and symbolically ‘stamped’ the embers. They then marched to Oliver’s home where the effigy was beheaded and burnt; while his home was looted and ransacked, while his coach house and stable were burnt to the ground.
About a week later these same angry protestors marched upon the house of the Governor of Boston, Thomas Hutchinson, and looted and ransacked it as well; forcing Hutchinson and his family to flee for their lives.
I’m certain the authorities called them rebels and outlaws; but we call them the Son’s of Liberty, or Patriots today. You see, it’s all a matter of perspective. It is simple to call those who participated in these acts of civil disobedience patriots when they are not affecting your lives, or threatening the government you continue to support; but woe to those who choose to cherish their rights as much as our Founders did and take similar actions against their government today.
Did you know that the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay, was either hung or burnt in effigy numerous times? In fact, Jay once commented that he could travel from one end of the country to the other by the light of his burning effigies.
But that’s not a president you say. Okay then, what about George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford Jimmy Carter, and George W. Bush; all of whom were hung or burnt in effigy?
On August 18, 1841 a drunk and angry mob formed outside the mansion of President John Tyler, throwing rocks at the President, firing guns into the air, all while an effigy of the President was hung outside in protest of his veto of the charter for the Second Bank of America.
As recently as the presidency of George W. Bush, a 12 ft tall effigy was taken out on tour by Ben Cohen, one of the Founders of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream in which the presidents pants were set afire; referencing the old “Liar liar pants on fire” rhyme sung by children.
But then when the Dixie Chicks opined, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.” they effectively sealed their own doom; much the same way that Kathy Griffin did with her act of protest against Donald Trump.
I’m not trying to take any sides in this, I only want to show you that how you react to these people who perpetuate such acts is based upon your perspective. If you support the actions of a president then these acts are an offense to your beliefs; but it you oppose a president then these are simply someone exercising their freedom of speech or expression.
But you see, it all boils down to that two party paradigm; the Democrats protest against the Republicans and the Republicans protest against the Democrats. Yet if someone protests against government itself, then the whole world aligns against them and calls them unpatriotic and a danger to society. Forgotten is the fact that our government was established to preserve and protect our liberty; that government was created with specifically enumerated powers, and that when it exceeds those powers it becomes our right and our duty to resist.
That’s why the Civil War, or at least those who fought on the side of the Confederacy are condemned and denigrated today; it was not because they were slave holders, it was because they exercised the same prerogative our Founders did, “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
It is perfectly acceptable to protest against government within the confines of the two party paradigm, but step outside that paradigm and being protesting against government as an entity and you have crossed the line of what is considered acceptable, and you become un-American or unpatriotic.
Yet that is exactly what our Founders did; effectively telling their government to go to hell, that they chose not to be ruled by tyrants anymore. They knew and understood the nature of their rights and they would not sit back while their government stripped those rights away from them; not without resisting that is.
I don’t know what lies in the future for this country; as much as people would like to think that I do. I do know, however, which side I shall take should it ever come time to stand up for liberty once again, as did the patriots of 76. Government is not my god and I don’t worship at its altar. My God is in Heaven and my rights come from Him; and woe to those who try to deprive me of those rights; for I am not alone in feeling that way; I may just be more vocal about it than others.
Do not let the two party paradigm enslave you; step outside the confines of your party for just a moment, if you can, and take a look at your government as a whole and tell me, with an honest face, that it is abiding by the limits to its authority and passing laws that preserve your liberty.
If enough people could do this, then maybe their perspective will change and we can make some honest to God efforts to make America great again. Until that happens, however, we will still see more of the same and nothing, and I mean absolutely NOTHING is going to change.