What to do, what to do, what to do—when you are at that annual, obligatory holiday gathering, surrounded by family, friends, and neighbors who are devout Republicans, and you hear them talking about the racist shenanigans that have been ravaging the year of 2015. (And oh, sorry to be posting this so late into the holiday season, but I had to experience a couple such soirees myself, before I could formulate this answer.)
…So you’re mingling, and you overhear a gaggle of folks screeching about unruly Negroes.
REPUBLICAN: …and why do they need to get so uppity, anyway? What do they expect from all this marching in the streets, smashing windows, and looting, and setting things on fire? So destructive!
AND YOU SAY: Oh goodie, we’re talking about the American Revolution! I just love history!
REPUBLICAN: What are you yammering about? We’re talking about that crap that came down in Ferguson and Baltimore this year, not something that happened a quarter of a millennium ago, for Pete’s Sake. Pay attention; keep up!
AND YOU SAY: Oh. I’m confused, because it sure sounded like you were talking about the American Revolution. I was just thinking about the colonists setting fire to stamps in response to the Stamp Act, and burning government figures in effigy. And of course they set the HMS Gaspee on fire for no reason, other than the ship was holding men whose job it was to enforce the law. And what excuse did the colonists give? The commander, Lieutenant William Dudingston, would order his men to storm ships and search them without a warrant. Hmph. No measly warrant. .And then, of course, the colonists looted private homes like the one belonging to Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson, to say nothing of all the Native American tribes whose corn stores and wigwams that the colonists also looted. But they only did that because they had to survive, right? And don’t forget the Boston Massacre, dozens of Sons of Liberty assaulting a handful of British soldiers, sixty against nine, the colonists hurling bricks and jagged glass, all in the name of freedom. And those same colonists also tarred and feathered other government officials, tax collectors, who were just doing their jobs, and some of those poor folks died an agonizing death. That’s all pretty destructive, wouldn’t you say? And that is the noble history of the founding of our glorious nation.
REPUBLICAN: Well, that was different! Those government officials were the enemy. They were violating the Magna Carta! We needed to throw off the yoke of an oppressive government. And the militia and their leaders were corrupt bullies—just look at what they did to colonists in prisons. Beating them and torturing them. What we are talking about has nothing to do with history. We’re talking about today’s headlines, dammit. All those disruptive thugs burning and looting things, trying to stop traffic and commerce, and shut down government, disrespecting the authorities, all to no good end.
AND YOU SAY: I’m sorry. An armed militia enforcing the law by breaking it, abusing their power? Rioting in the streets and assaults on innocent people and destruction of property? I’m still baffled. That sure sounds like the Boston Tea Party to me.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY. YEAR. MILLENIUM.
When white men dump the tea into Boston harbor and protest and riot against a cruel and unjust militia, and against a government that has betrayed them, we call them “Patriots”. We call them “Founding Fathers”.
When black men protest a black man’s death at the hands of police, from the inner city to Baltimore Harbor, and when those riots spread from sea to shining sea, we call them “THUGS”. We call them “NIGGERS”.