History of Rebellion

History is a story we are told and absorb as fact as children, or as accepting, believing, trusting souls. It is an entirely different thing than what happened in the past. In the shifting cultural definition of the entitled group and the serving remainder, the servers are written out of history. It makes the inculcation of the story more difficult if the entitled-bestowed characteristic, and justification, of “inferior” is shown to be inconsistent with observed facts indelibly writ. So, said facts are un-writ.

Take, for example, The Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 in Pennsylvania. The Revolutionary Army had been paid off — the officers in cash, and the servers in script promises from the new government. Except the women and black Americans — they didn’t even get the “not worth a Continental” paper.

The promises turned out to be singularly un-nourishing, and the servers sold them at 90% and more discounts, to entitled ones. Reflexively, the Congress wouldn’t accept these notes to pay for anything, not even postage. (By the 1790s the script could be exchanged for Treasury Bonds at a discount of 99% of their face value.) The entitled ones then pressured themselves, the government, to redeem the script at full value. In order to raise the funds to do this, the entitled government passed an excise tax on liquor. Large entitled producers in the east, who had no shipping costs, were assessed one rate. Server-group producers who lived west of the mountains, had small independent operations, and had to ship their product over the mountains, were charged a tax nearly twice as much. And not on what they produced, but on what they had the potential to produce.

This excise tax was designed to take care of two problems with one rock. Irritating small server-producers wouldn’t be able to compete with large entitled operators, and at the same time wealth would be transferred from whatever server funds had managed to be put by to entitled script-holding coffers —- at full face value. Thus enriched, these entitled ones would proceed to make the fledgling country, which was themselves –- in positions of political and monetary power –- an economic force to be reckoned with.

The western servers objected to this wealth consolidation scheme. They rebelled. They (pine) tarred and feathered the tax collectors, and ran them out of the settlements. Revolutionary unpaid war vets joined the push-back against the entitled wealth grab. The entitled representatives shot and killed the opposition leader under his truce flag. The servers torched the house the murderer shot from while concealed.

Alexander Hamilton, the new Treasury secretary who designed the lopsided tax gambit, caused an untrained army (the vets were on the other side) of 13,000 men to be drafted — that is, against their will — into a force to march against the rebellious. The demands of the servers were: 1) to get rid of the excise tax; 2) to have a role in governance — they were to have representation; 3) to have Freedom of Assembly; and 4) to have the Right to Petition reinstated.

When the federally impressed army finally arrived after a month-long march, the opposition faded into the surrounding countryside. A great historical victory was declared for the use of federal force over local disinclination. When Thomas Jefferson unseated the Federalist party in 1800, six years later, each of the demands of the rebellion was met: the excise tax and all other internal taxes were repealed, the people could play a role in government, and Freedom of Assembly and the Right to Petition were un-abolished. The Whiskey Rebellion successfully fulfilled its goals as of 1801.

We learned from our History instruction that it was a futile rebellion by misguided souls –- not that people working together can change things.

Elena Rae Bohannan
Eugene, Ore.

Next President

Our next president has already built the wall that he will most likely need in the months ahead. The sycophant cabinet he has chosen is the bulwark against any future criticism, litigations, impeachment or indictments that could result as he pursues this discursive shaky career as commander-in-chief.

By agreeing to join that absurd bait-and-switch Trump Machine, Gov. Pence has chosen what he assumes is power and prestige — over Christian ethics. He no longer needs to use provocative rhetoric against the LGBT citizens or various other modern liberal social tolerances — that have stirred up angry judgments — among hidebound fundamentalist evangelicals (voters).

The Trump-Pence campaign knew from the start just where to go to rally the most gullible voters: people with religious or political complaints — egged on by right-wing fake information entrepreneurs (for five or six decades) — profitably! But the main energy that drew them to frenzy was racial bigotry. The crowds were so eager to throw vengeful, heated spite at President Obama and his eight years in office, that they loved every bit of Trump’s filthy fits of rancor — and even the obvious lies. Islamic Americans also got a share of his malignant nonsense — issuing in more fear and xenophobia. Racial bigotry is not actually feeling hatred against a race. Organically, it is an internal psychotic disgust at one’s own confusions and deficiencies. To feel needy that way, the illusion of supremacy allows them to live easier with their counterfeit self-esteem. Whole communities thrive on that vitally detractive illusion. So, with many centuries of that entrenched tribal “custom,” it is slow to evolve out of, especially when so many power-hungry demagogues exploit that fake personal habit and keep it alive and useful to their schemes. Trump “won” only by a glitch in the rules. However, if the world stays in the crosshairs of the Trump-Putin fake male support system, their juvenile play with the nuclear arsonals might just give the Earth back to the cockroaches!

Helen McKinney
Sapphire, N.C.

Trump’s Trail of Tears

President Andrew Jackson, when he decided to remove Native Americans from their settlements. ordered them to settle in lands west of the Mississippi. This was a heartless step and caused a lot of grief and pain — all remembered as the “Trail of Tears.” If the incoming President wants a similar action — in his campaign speeches he has promised to throw out the parents of Hispanic children, irrespective of the grief that such families will endure. Years from now it will be recorded as “Sendero de Lágrimas.” Must President-elect Trump take such drastic steps just because it is one of the promises he has made in order to muster up some votes?


G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.

Hitler’s Way to Power

I am fortunate enough to live in a country that has not been militarily engaged in a war for more than 200 years and luckily escaped the horrors of WW II thanks to the heroic British, American and Russian soldiers. When we saw and heard Donald Trump, we saw a demagogue as cunning and skilled as Hitler in seducing his voters. In an election in July 1932 Hitler’s Nazi Party got 37% of the votes cast. In the new election in November 1932 he got 4% less, only 33% of the votes, yet this was enough to enable him to manipulate the German democratic system to give him absolute power by a parliamentary majority approving the Ermächtigungsgesetz {Enabling Act] which enabled him to rule Germany unrestricted with its catastrophic consequences. 

How many percent of the votes cast did Donald Trump get? [Editor’s Note: Trump got 46.1%] More or less than Hitler? Has Donald Trump a parliamentary majority behind him? Beware United States of America! And the World!

My hope as a concerned Swedish citizen is that the American Constitution will prohibit a development similar to what happened in Germany 1932.

Jan-Axel Nyman
Stockholm, Sweden

August Watershed Coming

The Great American Eclipse will move across the US from Portland, Ore., to Charleston, S.C., on August 21, 2017. The moon will block the sun, just as our democracy has been obscured by recent politics and its aftermath.

Congress, with the help of Trump, will be busy in the next few months attempting to privatize Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, public schools and the Post Office. Our elected leaders plan to reduce taxes to the wealthy, engage in military adventures, and pay for the whole thing by selling off national treasures. Regulations on pollution will be jeopardized. Action to reduce world-wide environmental damage will be delayed.

By August, the word will have spread about the incompetence of the new President and the perniciousness of Congressional leadership. It will be an occasion to contemplate a better future, heralded by the re-emergence of the sun.

Please join me in celebrating the watershed moment by gathering with like-minded people to observe the eclipse. I will be wearing something blue to acknowledge the progressive leanings of most Americans, and I will drink something red (wine will do) to symbolize a mutual dedication to the return of our government to its role of serving its people.

If enough of us act together in this simple manner, news of the momentary event will remind our national leaders that there is a permanent majority that seeks: wages to meet needs, education without bondage, health care as a right, equality for women, fair business practices and regulation to cure the climate. Similar, less cosmic opportunities for reminding our leaders may also arise in the next few years.

At the national level, one step in restoring government to the people will be the election of a progressive Congress in 2018. A second step will be to elect a progressive President in 2020. Local actions with shorter time scales will be helpful in reaching these goals.

David Davison
Hopkins, Minn.

Lost Cause

I’m sorry that racist terrorist Dylan Roof got the death penalty. Consider first that Roof preferred this outcome. He will die, spirit intact, believing himself martyred to a cause.

The usual bleeding heart objections to the death penalty involve false verdicts and limits on authority. I happen to believe the ultimate penalty in a capital case isn’t humane death, but life stripped of hope.

Charlie Manson is approaching the end of his life sentence. I confess a vengeful impulse that he be sustained in infirmity to the last possible second, taunting this monster with release as with the biennial charade of his parole hearings.

Dylan Roof has a thick skull and a hard heart. It will take time for him to clue into his crime — and I have just the sentence! As an innocent prisoner is sustained by hope that the truth might yet emerge, inversely the self-appointed crusader realizes the permanence of his plight for the unviability of his cause.

Poetic justice is perfect justice. It delivers reform or revenge.

Minneapolis, Minn.

From The Progressive Populist, February 15, 2017


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