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JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY KONRAD YAKABUSKI IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Oh, please, any group which can become excited by a certified airhead like Sarah Palin is pathetic.The Tea Party is just one more in a long list of fad right-wing movements in America, most of them deliberately employing the language of revolution to make themselves sound consequential.

Well, they are all about as revolutionary, and as interesting, as the latest version of dish soap from Procter and Gamble.

And this author, Konrad Yakabuski, too, has a childishly limited understanding of the American “revolution.”

“…driven by the same distrust of the ruling class that inspired the Revolution.”

That statement is simply not true. It represents the American 8th grade civics-class version of the “revolution.”

Americans in the colonies were a pretty privileged group in the world of 1776. Everything we read from foreign observers tells us how good and healthy and free their lives in fact were. From life expectancies, smart people like Franklin calculated how quickly the population would become large.

Britain – in the Seven Years War (aka, French and Indian War) – had even eliminated the worrying threat of the French encroaching into the Ohio Valley.

But when Britain wanted Americans to help pay for that war with some new taxes – a perfectly reasonable expectation – we first saw Americans acting like rude kids being served spinach for dinner, a behavior which has continued down to this day.

Indeed, the financial crisis which just threatened the world comes from the same dark place in the American soul: “I want it all, and I want it now.”

Britain also irritated the colonists by keeping rules about land speculation and against disturbing the natives in the Ohio Valley, an unpleasant get-rich-quick practice in which George Washington was a leader, surveying other people’s land and later selling it to new immigrants from Europe.

And it still further irritated the colonists – actually infuriated them – by imposing the Quebec Act, arousing the ugliest anti-Catholic rhetoric you could imagine, truly gutter stuff.

These are the true origins of the American Revolution, an event which is far more accurately called a revolt since it was an effort to overthrow an imperial power, not local government by locals.

None of the rhetoric about liberty and justice had much to do with it, unless you agree that people who trade in slaves make any sense in talking about such concepts.

Selfishness writ large.

And just so now, the clownish Tea Party.

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