Get your political fix from an unrepentant political junkie.
Paige “Duffy” Lewis
MAY 14, 2015
In response to Shay’s Rebellion in western Massachusetts, iconic revolutionary and political philosopher Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1787 that it is healthy for a society to have a rebellion about every twenty years to keep alive the tree of liberty. “It is its natural manure,” Jefferson wrote from Paris to Col. William Stephens Smith, son-in-law of John Adams.
Shay’s Rebellion, following on the heels of the American Revolution, erupted over the Commonwealth’s excessive taxation, which harshly overburdened the barter economy of western Massachusetts farmland.
Political rulers need to be reminded that the people reserve the right to rebel.
In 2009, when the Tea Party movement was brewing, Democrats seemed confused and somewhat dismissive of the mild-mannered protests throughout the country.
Even hospitable Charlestonians assembled on a beautiful April day at the U.S. Custom House to express their ire over ruinous fiscal policies and government largesse. As tea-drinking Southerners and descendants of the historic 1773 Charleston Tea Party, dumping cartons of fresh, delicious Wadmalaw tea into the harbor was out of the question. So, we made cardboard signs, wore t-shirts with slogans, and chatted on East Bay St. sidewalks with each other and passersby who paused to inquire.
One Democratic friend suggested I give up drinking iced tea in support of the protest. Give up my sweet tea? No need for radicalism.
More seriously, he confessed, “I just wish I could see the point of the protest — beyond the ‘what’s mine is mine’ thinking.” I attempted to explain why big government was anathema to freedom.
American political philosophy is rooted in the sanctity of protecting one’s property. Hence, ”what’s mine is mine” is a God-given right. First, take care of your own — yourself and your family. Then, spread out into the community, state, and nation with charity.
We all recognize that taxes are necessary. Taxes: In moderation, necessary. In excess, oppressive.
The Tea Party rallies were a protest against the humongous waste in government, especially at the federal level. The money they waste — like it’s Monopoly money — could go back to the people to support themselves, buy their own health insurance, invest for retirement, contribute to local charities, or expand a business. The waste and corruption in government is immoral, because our political leaders are abusing their power and responsibility to their constituents.
Democrats support big government and high taxes in the name of helping the poor through income redistribution and social programs. Republicans believe a smaller government is more efficient and economically advantageous, and that charity is a more benevolent and efficient way to help the poor become economically independent.
Conservatives pay their taxes AND give to charity at twice the rate than do liberals, the so-called socially conscious and compassionate. Vice-Pres. Biden donated .2 percent of his income to charity over the past decade, while Pres. Obama’s charitable giving rose from 1 percent to 5.5 percent 2000-2009, then jumped to 21 percent in 2011. Mitt Romney donated an average 13.5 percent over twenty years. The national average for charitable giving is 10%, a tithe.
Charity isn’t always about monetary giving, but of your time and talent. Sometimes charity is a simple act of giving a homeless man an apple. It’s the human connection more than the apple. It’s looking into the face of another person and the simple gesture of giving an apple saying, “I care about you.”
Government bureaucrats follow policy to keep their jobs, even if they are sincerely compassionate. Too often, bureaucrats become hardened and cynical because their customers expect to receive. The more they get, the more they expect, and the less they do for themselves. This is the demoralizing cycle of the welfare state.
Society’s working segment pays those expenses hoping to break the cycle. Sometimes it happens, but nothing the school or community does will have nearly the impact as what that mother and father teach those children about work ethic, dignity, and self-sufficiency.
So, we come full circle: take care of your family first. If you earned it, it is yours to do with as you choose. That is freedom and the basis of our nation’s heritage. To all those Democrats who vilify Republicans for being uncaring, cyclical demoralization of the poor is not compassion; it is enabling dependency. We are becoming a nation of co-dependents. That is a worthy cause for a rebellion.