You say you want a revolution? You can count me out.

No, you can’t blame the recent tragedy in Tuscon on Sarah Palin.  Or Glenn Beck.   Politicians who use heated rhetoric during their campaigns are not responsible for the actions of one sadly deranged young man.  Roger Ailes over at Fox News did not pull the trigger nor did he put the gun in Jared Loughner’s hand.

It is absolutely  true, that since our country’s beginnings, and not long after the Revolution was over, politicians have been smearing each other.  George Washington refused to have anything to do with his former friend, Thomas Jefferson, after Jefferson engaged in a campaign questioning the President’s intentions and his mental faculties.

What is different about today’s political speech is that there has never been such an abundance of language that invokes violent revolution, at least not since the Civil War.  In fact,  a lot of the talk coming out of the Tea Party not only expresses the ideals and actions of the early American rebels, it is often openly sympathetic with the Southern secessionists of the 1860s.

I think the comparisons are valid.  Long before civil war broke out, all the way back before the Constitutional convention in 1787 ( yet after the Revolution was over)  the language of rebellion was not uncommon in the halls of Congress.  Well before the shelling of Fort Sumter crazed ideologues, of which John Brown was the most notorious, took violent action against the government.  Brown was not a secessionist, though, he was an abolitionist.  The cause of abolition was undoubtedly noble, yet it did not sanction  Brown to take violent action against the U.S. government.

The Tea Party and friends are certainly entitled to criticize their opponents in the government as passionately as they would like.  They should even be encouraged to do so.  A lively and spirited public debate is essential to democracy.  And, of course,  all Americans need to understand that polemical language should not be taken too literally,  But, when such a large, concerted body of people hailing from the mainstream of America consistently use the language of revolution, consistently (and incorrectly) compare themselves to the colonial revolutionaries who founded our country, and consistently label their adversaries in the sitting government as traitors and murderous despots, then it only stands to reason that some of their less inhibited followers may decide to take matters into their own hands.

No matter how much we may be dissatisfied with the direction our country is headed, we are not under the thumb of a distant monarch.  WE have elected our government, our elected representatives are taxing us. No dictator is denying us our freedoms.  No one in the United States government is remotely analogous to Adolph Hitler or Joseph Stalin.  Our President is not an illegal alien Muslim infiltrator who’s plan is to create an American version of the Hitler Youth,  in order to confiscate our guns and seize control of our government.  There are no concentration camps being secretly built by FEMA, there is no secret Bilderbeger conspiracy for one world government  that extends back to Woodrow Wilson.  And so on and so on.

Remember the Boston Massacre of 1770?  Well, British soldiers were not to blame for that event (only 5 Americans were killed, by the way, out of a mob of at least 300).  It was the large, angry mob made up of normally peaceful citizens,  who advanced upon the few frightened soldiers that essentially pulled the triggers on their British muskets.  Today we blame the British for this “massacre” when the true culprits, no matter how noble their cause, were those myopic “patriots”, most not even on the scene,  who riled up the people with their incendiary rhetoric.   Patriots who would later  cry  “Give me liberty or give me death”.  Strong language for their time. Totally inappropriate for ours.

This kind of revolutionary  language today is sadly paranoid and needs to be self-regulated by the Right, before another sad, paranoid American decides that he or she is a 21st century  Minuteman.

You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know you can count me out

-the Beatles

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  1. #1 by Bill Samuel on January 10, 2011 - 11:24 am

    It was interesting you brought up that early American history. My wife and I visited up that way a few months ago, and learned what you reported.

    The USA was born in violence, and violence has marked it ever since. People will argue that it was necessary, but we didn’t try full scale nonviolent resistance. And our neighbor to the North never took up arms against the British, and they govern themselves.

    How do we exorcise the evil habit of violence from the American soul?

  2. #2 by Christian Beyer on January 10, 2011 - 1:37 pm

    Yes, we need to unlearn the populist history of the Revolution that we’ve been fed, from Paron Weems to the music “1776”.

    It’s interesting that Washington, having seen so much of the violence of the war, was a staunch isolationist, while Jefferson, who never experienced the horrors of war, was quite willing to ally France in their war against England.

    How can you expect violence to be anything other than the norm when American Christians believe in a violent God that is behind American victories?

    If I have but one life to give…

  3. #3 by logiopsychopath on January 10, 2011 - 5:12 pm

    Maybe we don’t have secret FEMA camps, but maybe you should re-think the denial of the “Money Masters” AKA Bildebergs–these people DO meet, and something is going on–just check out Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory show (seriously, I do believe in the Trilateralists and
    other elite power groups–and I believe the World Bank and IMF are used to keep people in abject poverty).

    • #4 by Christian Beyer on January 10, 2011 - 5:14 pm

      Ah, jeesh.

    • #5 by Christian Beyer on January 10, 2011 - 5:15 pm

      It’s the Masons.

      On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 4:14 PM, Christian Beyer wrote:

      > Ah, jeesh. > >

  4. #6 by logiopsychopath on January 10, 2011 - 7:39 pm

    Only the Fourteenth Degree Masons who are members of the Alexandria Lodge where George Washington was the Grand Poobah.

    Seriously, I don’t believe in conspiracy theories–the government and big business screw people in the open.

    Double seriously, just think about the catastrophic government plans, like the former shelter below the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. They had plans to save themselves, but the people would be left to duck and cover drills and jammed into inadequate fallout shelters.

    Yeah, I think the people WE have elected (if you want to call it elections) are out for themselves, but your optimism has a nice, folksy naivete.

    • #7 by Christian Beyer on January 10, 2011 - 7:50 pm

      And your sense of malaise has a refreshing, uplifting quality. In so much that I am happy that I don’t worry like you. How is it that you can think all these things and be so exuberant? Anyway, who wants to come out of a bomb shelter into a post-nuclear West Virginia? What with all the foliage being gone you can’t help but notice all the old dishwashers and AMC Hornets tossed in the woods.

  5. #8 by logiopsychopath on January 10, 2011 - 7:54 pm

    So people in West Virginia drive old dishwashers?

    The point is that THEY were planning for THEIR survival, not those of the people. I believe that when the founders wrote We the People, they meant that THEY, the framers themselves were the people, to the exclusion of all others. Kind of like Lenin, Trotsky, and company claiming to represent “The People,” when they moved into the plush apartments in the Kremlin, and proceeded to kill anyone who opposed their “people’s” revolution.

    I don’t know how I think these things, they just are. At the same time, I maintain my exuberance for proving I am always right.

    • #9 by Christian Beyer on January 10, 2011 - 10:27 pm

      And this time you might just be right. I wonder what these gophers were to govern, when the county’s entire infrastructure and industrial base (not to mention most of the citizens) were toast.

  6. #10 by logiopsychopath on January 10, 2011 - 10:46 pm

    Aha!

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