I Could Say I’m Tea’d Off…

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!

…but it’s more that I’m just confounded.

Thom Wade has conveniently linked to a couple of ads for a guy named Rick Barber, who’s running for Congress in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. In the June 1 Republican primary, he got enough votes to force a July 13 runoff. (Expensive runoffs – a good reason for Instant Runoff Voting.)

In the “Gather Your Armies” piece, Barber complains to the “Founding Fathers” that IRS taxation and the health care bill are equivalent to ire they must have felt over the “tea tax” that led to the Boston Tea Party. The tiny difference? It was not the tax, per se, that was the source of the ultimate rebellion; it was that the tax, and other activities, were imposed by the British without colonists’ say-so. The rallying cry wasn’t “no taxation”; it was “no taxation without representation.” Representation such as from the very Congress for which Rick Barber, ironically, is running. Now, if he were living in Washington, DC, he might actually have a point, since the district has no voting member of Congress.

In the “Slavery” video, “Abraham Lincoln” confirms that taxes used to pay people welfare is the same thing as people taken from their homeland often treated cruelly, and forced to work for no pay. Barber’s video is particularly mortifying because there is still REAL slavery in the world.

The “Slavery” piece also features a gentleman singing the fourth and final verse of The Star-Spangled Banner, a stanza I’ve memorized since I was 10, or earlier. The notion of “conquer[ing if] we must, when our cause it is just” I suppose I would find more palatable if the country had not participated in recent wars of dubious justification.

So as I read The Declaration of Independence again this year, as I do every July 4, I must be mindful of those who would distort the intention of the document. Specifically, “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to 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” gets thrown around a great deal. But remember the very next sentence: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.”

How far is it from this type of rhetoric to the Sovereignty shootings of police officers in Arkansas last week? A stretch, perhaps, or maybe not.

So when you’re eating your blueberry and strawberry shortcake with whipped cream, check out the founding document.

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