Saturday, June 30, 2012

Armed Insurrection?

But when a long train of abuses … evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Declaration of Independence

After Thursday’s decision by the United States Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the Health Care Reform Act, there has been some talk from our brothers on the right that armed insurrection is the only way to deal with this development. Some of our friends on the left have responded with levity suggesting that those violently opposed to health care reform are in need of mental health services or that if they don’t like it they should move to some other country. This maven, however, cannot treat these things lightly. For one thing, advocating armed insurrection against the United States might be considered treasonous. On the other hand, perhaps the Federal Government is tending toward tyranny and we should not ignore it. After all, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

To sort all this out, I thought it would be useful to compare American grievances in 1776, when we actually did engage in armed insurrection (at least as the British saw it), with the grievances of today. I include only some of the British offenses set forth in the Declaration of Independence.

            British offenses of 1776                                  Federal Government offenses of today

Forced us to quarter troops in our homes
Forced us to buy health insurance
Cut off our trade with other parts of the world
Forced us to buy health insurance
Imposed taxes on us without our consent
Forced us to buy health insurance
Deprived us of trial by jury
Forced us to buy health insurance
Took away our charters, abolished our laws and altered our form of government
Forced us to buy health insurance
Suspended our own legislatures
Forced us to buy health insurance
Plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns and destroyed the lives of our people
Forced us to buy health insurance
Introduced armies of foreign mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny
Forced us to buy health insurance

Trusted reader, although it is close, I am sure you will agree that the complaints of our forebears in 1776 were slightly more serious than of those who are willing to overthrow the government in order to eliminate health care reform. So what is this totally out of proportion reaction to a court decision upholding a statute enacted by the Congress?

This maven lays the blame at the door of the Republican leadership in the Congress and their tea-drinking allies. These gentlepeople are so intent on recapturing control of the Federal Government that they will do or say anything to make President Obama appear to be an illegitimate president. Thus the accusations that Obama is not a native born American. On top of that they must show that even Obama’s legislation is illegitimate. So, after Health Care Reform passed, the Republican leadership refused to acknowledge that it was actually a Public Act, passed by the Congress and signed by the President. Immediately, they declared it not only to be terrible legislation, but invalid. They declared it to be the single-most dangerous expansion of federal power in history. They declared it to be a CLEAR violation of the constitution. They declared it to by tyranny and thus its removal as essential to the country’s survival. They declared it to be the end of life as we know it. In short, they declared their battle to destroy Health Care Reform to be Armageddon.  

Unfortunately, our Republican and Tea-Party cousins believe their own rhetoric. And worse than that, there are some pretty volatile, armed people out there who have come to believe it too. When you repeat that message over and over again, is it any wonder that people start suggesting that only armed insurrection against the Federal Government will save us?

It seems to this maven that those who opened this Pandora’s box and let the crazies out need to be the ones to recage them and lock the door. I call on John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul and Mitt Romney to make it clear that although they consider the Health Care Reform Act to be bad policy they do not consider it to be grounds for rebellion against the Government. Let them each announce that even suggesting armed insurrection as a solution for disagreeing with government action is not patriotic but rather is un-American. John, Eric, Mitch, Rand, Mitt it is time to call their dogs off and to declare that we are a country that resolves political dispute at the ballot box, not at the point of a gun.