Lessons From the Revolution

The American Revolution stands out in history as light stands out in darkness. Under duress, ad-hoc militias formed by Puritans and their pastors cried “No King but King Jesus” and fought to their deaths against a group of well-organized British regulars who sought to teach the colonists that the King’s edicts were binding on all. In the Chesapeake area, state armies found their rallying cry in Thomas Jefferson’s words: “Disobedience to tyranny is obedience to God.” The haughty Lord Cornwallis took it as an affront that he actually had to fight against such “rabble” and belittled the colonists by describing them as “farmers with pitchforks.” But our forefathers fought on, and, as they fought, they won. The names of the Patriots are rightly recorded in the books and etched in minds of American historians. There are lessons even now — perhaps especially now — that we should learn from their fearlessness in the face of tyrants.

In the years leading up the American Revolution, the British systematically increased their stranglehold on the colonists through the implementation of taxes and restrictions, among which were the Proclamation Act (1763), the Mutiny Act (1765), and the Tea Act (1773).

Through the Proclamation Act, the British government forbade the colonists to settle the western U.S. (at that time, this meant anything west of eastern Ohio). Thus, although the colonists could see the rich western lands and contemplate the promise such lands held, they could not benefit from them because of laws issued by a distant and capricious government. This was abusive to them in the same way that Harry Reid’s refusal to permit drilling for oil in ANWR is abusive to us; we too see a rich land, full of benefits, which is not available for profit or necessity.

With the Mutiny Act, the British government mandated that British soldiers be permanently stationed in the colonies and required colonists to help maintain the army. In some cases, this forced colonists out of their own bedrooms to provide British soldiers with a place to sleep. This was a direct assault on private property, which our Founders sought to prevent from ever happening again through Amendments 3 and 4 in the Bill of Rights.

Today, through the environmentalism-first agenda of Europhiles like Barack Obama and John Kerry, Democrats constantly attempt to pervert and destroy our right to do as we wish with our things.  What else keeps us from drilling for oil on our own land and at our own discretion? Only Congress.

Finally, after a decade of imposing rule after freedom-diminishing rule, the British passed the Tea Act. This act was actually a tax whereby Britain made it illegal for colonists to buy tea from any company other than the East India Tea Company, a British company not doing well on the open market.  The colonists were being forced to subsidize the failing company. There is not a lot difference between this and the fact that we are being forced to subsidize failing government enterprises today.

Think about it this way: How well would corn-based ethanol do on the open market? Corn-based ethanol could not survive without federal subsidies, and federal subsidies could not be given were not we, the people, taxed to fund them.

In response to the Tea Act, the colonists boarded one of the East India ships on December 16, 1773 and dumped the vessel’s tea into Boston Harbor. This event — the “Boston Tea Party” – was a watershed moment in the minds of New England colonists; they showed their fellow colonists and any member of the British government who would pay attention that they would abide tyranny no more.

On August 1, 2008, as Republicans in the House of Representatives stood in a darkened House Chamber — abandoned by Democrats unwilling to debate issues and uphold the Constitution — Representative John Shadegg asked, “How many of you remember the Boston Tea Party?” He then answered his own question, “This is the Boston Tea Party.” This was a watershed moment in the minds of conservatives; the Republicans in that dark chamber showed their fellow Republicans and any Democrat who would pay attention that they were not going to abide the tyranny of Nancy Pelosi’s demagoguery anymore.

After the colonists dumped the tea in Boston Harbor, things moved more quickly toward independence. In 1775, the Continental Congress assembled while the Virginia State House looked on, the latter knowing war was imminent but not knowing what action they should take. That is when a young statesman named Patrick Henry arose and urged his fellow Virginians on with these words: “Why stand we here idle? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

As the Republican rally continued in the darkness of August 1, Representatives Roy Blunt and Mike Pence filled in for Patrick Henry. Blunt proclaimed, “Our cause is the right cause,” and Pence repeatedly pointed out that the Republicans wanted to drill and increase our oil supply, yet the Democrats had fled town, offering but another proof that they were indifferent to the concerns of the people.

In 1775, the Virginia State House rose to the occasion after hearing Patrick Henry’s words. They were convinced that the only right course was independence, and they put their very lives on the line to secure it for their posterity.

In 2008, I am glad to see other Republicans rising to the occasion and supporting the “drill here, drill now” policies championed by Congressmen Blunt, Pence, and Shadegg in the House, as well as Republican presidential candidate John McCain in the Senate.

During the American Revolution, Lord Cornwallis laughed at the colonists for valuing their independence so greatly as to risk lives against British military superiority. But Cornwallis failed to understand that the revolution he witnessed was not so much a clash of armies as it was a clash of ideas; competing ideas that pitted free men against the tyrannical, overreaching British government.

When the Republicans stood in the darkened House Chamber and called for expanded domestic and offshore drilling, “Lord Nancy Pelosi” laughed at them for risking their political lives against numerically superior Democrats while saying the Republican representatives were “scared to go home” to their constituents because they supported expanding drilling instead of taxing oil companies. I say let her laugh. We must bear the burden of being “rabble” for a time, in the eyes of Democrats, if we are to see this through. For this is no less a of clash of ideas than the one our Founders embarked upon in 1776.

The Benedict Arnolds of the Republican Party — including Senators Bob Corker, John Thune, Johnny Isakson, Lindsey Graham, and Saxby Chambliss — have recently made “compromises” with the Democrats which will only result in greater restrictions on offshore drilling and increased taxes on oil companies. I am not surprised by this; for, where there are patriots, there always seem to be a few traitors as well.

Are we determined to be free, independent, and therefore strong? Or will we continue to place ourselves in a position of weakness by relying on other countries for the oil we need to fuel the very engine of liberty? We must set our minds on the pursuit of strength through freedom from foreign oil, regardless of what the tyrants and traitors say or do.

Thank God for men like Blunt, Pence, Shadegg, McCain, and other patriots, who, in the spirit of our Founders, have already determined that strength through freedom is the only acceptable course for us to take.