Declaring Our Independence, 2010
When Tom Adkins, speaking at today’s Morristown Tea Party, exhorted the crowd to show our genuine anger and shout out that “We are the Tea Party!” I at least took him seriously. Because, Jesus Christ, goddammit, leapin’ lizards (!), I am angry.
My reward was frozen stares and sneers from some female neighbors in the crowd. My companions chided me for overreacting and I was properly put in my place. I was silenced – and castigated - by the majority. Nevertheless, I don’t take back a single, passionate word.
The crowd wasn’t as large as last year, as was to be expected. Some of the novelty has worn off. My friends and I were late because we’re musicians and we’d been in a parade that was luckily only a short distance away in a neighboring town.
But if the attitude of those quizzing, snooty females and my own friends are any indication, not to mention the ameliorating non-actions of moderate Republicans who wither at the notion of repealing Obamacare, they’ll be back.
Sometime in January, when they see their taxes skyrocket, when they find they now need a license to buy or sell a house, when they’re denied medical care they once could have gotten, and when there are no businesses left to employ them, they’ll be back.
The scramble will be something like the scene out of 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure where the passengers refuse to follow the Rev. Scott up the Christmas tree until the ship starts exploding and the water begins pouring into the ballroom.
Tomorrow, a New York Times columnist is expected to predict the demise of the Tea Parties. If Tea Partiers adopt a lukewarm attitude instead of a boiling tea kettle, we will soon be iced tea, frozen into a socialist economic nightmare.
Apparently, they don’t get it, or the crisis hasn’t quite reached its peak. Every one of Obama’s reforms have been passed, in spite of polls to the contrary. They’ve got the power and they intend to use it. It’s always the way, just before war breaks out.
Only a few daring voices are willing to shout out that we’re in trouble and we’d better start getting really mad, really soon, and they get stared down by feckless Mrs. Grundies. Let us be angry, but let us be fashionably angry.
Adkins made reference to tin foil hats. There weren’t as many signs as there have been at previous rallies and no funny hats, except my own. My tricorn is no mere decoration. Well, not exactly. It was part of my junior year high school band uniform. The year was 1976 and we were celebrating the Bicentennial.
That was the year some of my classmates and I rebelled against a communist teacher who decided to hijack our U.S. History course and teach us the glories of communism instead. We vowed to fail his class, take the F, rather than submit to his teachings.
He took the fight out of two of the five, but the rest of us went on to a glorious failure. I consider my tricorn hat a symbol of that victory and I defy anyone to knock it off or otherwise “shame” me into not wearing. They can laugh at it, not knowing the story. But I wear it with pride.
Part of today’s festivities included a reading of the Declaration of Independence. I’m sorry to report that some party goers, albeit very elderly ones, chose that moment to leave. They’d been there since the beginning – 11 a.m. – and it was getting hot.
One thing I love is how our elders bring their lawn chairs to the event. They, at least, are in it for the long haul. It’s a lucky thing the Morristown Green is a tree-lined, shady spot, with some sunny spots. The eldsters camped out around the trees.
In listening to the reading – the Declaration is a long work and it took three readers to accomplish the task – I noticed some parallels to today’s political environment.
Among the charges against King George III listed in the Declaration:
• He has made judges dependent on his will alone
• He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance
• He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws
• Imposing taxes on us without our consent
• For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases.
• He has excited domestic insurrection amongst us and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers
“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that government long established should not be changed for light and transient causes” – though the socialists certainly don’t take their transformation of our government lightly.
Here's more: “Experience hath shewn that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed.” Mrs. Grundy, take note.
There’s still time this weekend to listen again to a reading of the Declaration of Independence. There should be a reading at Washington’s Headquarters in Morristown, N.J., tomorrow. Read it, listen to a reading, and don’t just pack up your lawn chairs and decide it’s time to go home because you think you already know the Declaration.
Goddammit, Christ Almighty, Leapin Lizards (!) – it’s what the Fourth of July is all about – the signing of the Declaration of Independence!