Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Tea Party corruption of history

When, on December 16th, 1773, a group of 116 colonial Americans boarded the Dartmouth to dump 342 cases of East India Company tea into Boston's harbour, they were dumping a product which, even with taxes in, was considerably cheaper to buy than the Dutch black-market stuff they had been drinking.

Many will point at that event and suggest that this was the trigger for the civil war that would come to be known as The American Revolution; a tax revolt led by patriots who only wished direct representation in the British parliament. The residents of the American colonies on the day of the Boston Tea Party were paying one-fiftieth of the taxes levied on equivalent British subjects in Britain itself.

Good propaganda, but not the reason a small group of rebels decided to push against British governance. The history is long and rather more complicated, and most of it has been consigned to the dustier parts of the stacks because it just doesn't make good patriot reading. Perhaps we'll go farther down that road in the future.

The party that boarded the Dartmouth disguised themselves as "indians", quite probably Mohawks, since the warriors of that aboriginal nation had become something of a symbol for the Sons of Liberty. It was neither the first nor the last time that rebels would disguise themselves as indigenous peoples. (There is still controversy as to whether the group which attacked and burned the revenue schooner HMS Gaspee off Rhode Island in 1772 actually disguised themselves as Narragansett indians). That, and subsequent acts, would long haunt the aboriginal populations of the US North America.

The American Revolution, despite some of the legitimate grievances of American colonists, had more to do with removing the limits of westward expansion and the preservation of the power of the southern rice baron. No matter what got written into the Declaration of Independence, the words in that document did not apply to all who resided in the American colonies.Without spelling it out, the lofty words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," placed a certain restriction on who constituted "all". And by the end of the Revolutionary War, the southern rice planters had seen nicely to that.

Less than 100 years later the descendants of those southern planters were back at it. No less than they had embraced the rebel-patriot side in Revolutionary War to preserve their wealth, the move by the southern rice grandees to secede from the greater union of the United States was fueled by greed.

And today's Tea Party movement? Same thing. Dennis at Balloon Juice explains:
Now some think the goal of the Astroturf TeaTards is to roll things back to pre-Obama. Other think pre-Clinton or pre-LBJ or pre-FDR. And yes, they would like to roll past all of the laws, rules, traditions and regulations of all of these guys. But the real target is Lincoln.

It was Lincoln changed the term “United States” from a descriptive term about States sometimes working together into a proper noun that named our Nation. It was Lincoln who began the move away from gold and issued paper money. It was Lincoln who could multi-task with an eye to the future. While he was kicking Confederate ass he also financed a transcontinental railroad, land grant schools and education and land for homesteaders. It was Lincoln who worked to protect free labor and to end slavery. Ending slavery, he also set up the first government run welfare effort to help former slaves transition to freemen. And it was Lincoln who led our Nation to soundly defeat the Confederacy and deliver to these traitors a well-earned ass whopping. Their ideological descendants are still holding a grudge towards the America that Lincoln shaped.

In all of these efforts and many more, Lincoln changed the rules of the American economy to favor the working class, the poor and to create new entrepreneurial opportunities. He totally screwed the Southern oligarchs who were used to running the Country. To protect their power, those Southern planter oligarchs created the Confederacy. The modern oligarchs in America have created the TeaTards to protect them from market forces. Then as now, the appeal to the gullible is racism, fear and the promotion of ignorance as a source of strength.

When I listen to these fuckers these days all I can hear is the echo of Confederate bullshit in their every statement, their every word. Their understanding of the US Constitution is a Confederate understanding. Their understanding of the Founding Fathers is completely informed by Confederate myths, memes and spin. When they wrap themselves in the American flag you know that they would rather wrap themselves in a Confederate battle flag snuggie. And when the chant USA! USA! USA! USA! you can be sure that they really mean CSA! CSA! CSA! CSA!

It is a common line of these wankers to state that “We need to take our Country back”. I believe them, but the Country they seek to rescue is the Confederate States of America. As for the United States of America, they are always quick to tell you that that government is their enemy. It is ironic that this group of neo-Confederate deadenders have captured Lincoln’s Party and killed it. Now they seek to do the same to the Union and Nation Abe gave his life for.


Alison said...

Toon at North of Center and

Crowd interviews at Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor Rally

geoff said...

Glad you've pointed out the errors re conventional wisdom & the Boston Tea Party and the faux Mohawks supposedly involved. Yes the USAs revolution was started by one capitalist pissed off by another having obtained an advantage re the East India Company. And now we have endless war from the exceptionals below us on a usual western oriented view of the world.