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April 10, 2009

Sons of Liberty Then and Now

Joe Charlebois

A little over 235 years ago, the Sons of Liberty organized a protest – led by Samuel Adams of the New England resistance. He called a meeting near Boston Harbor to protest Gov. Thomas Hutchison’s refusal to allow several ships laden with East India Company tea to return to England without first unloading its cargo and paying the subsequent import duty.


The meeting’s purpose was to pass a resolution to urge the captain of the Dartmouth to return to England without paying the import duty.


At this point in the colonies existence, the crown had purchased the loyalty of some governors and judges through receipts garnered from the remaining vestige of the Townsend Acts – the levy on imported tea.


The prime minister, Frederick Lord North, refused to bend to the pleas of the colonies and members of Parliament sympathetic to the plight of America. He could not give in to the colonies or show any sign of weakness.


The people of the colonies were fed up. It wasn’t that the cost of British tea increased with additional taxes – the price actually dropped. It was the control that the crown exerted upon the colonies with that tax; it was the lack of representation in Parliament; it was the prime minister’s removal of colonial control over the governors and judges, and the installation of his control over their every move as the prime minister now held the purse strings.


The patriots of yesteryear fought for their future to become free and independent states. Only after several attempts to plead their desires to the crown to be treated in a fair manner did they respond so fiercely.


The patriots of today, the new Sons of Liberty, will not stand by and watch our freedoms be taken from us as if we were subjects to the crown in Washington.


It is true that we elect our representative officials; one member to the House of Representatives and two members to the Senate. However, since the start of the last century, we no longer have direct electoral control over those with the greatest power to affect the legislative process – the judiciary.


During the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Administration, the courts were filled with progressive justices that tended to hold that the federal government held sway over the states instead of the states granting power to the federal government.


The black colored threads that clothe these progressive justices continue to unravel the very thread of the U.S. Constitution.


The phrase “legislate from the bench” is not an inflammatory retort to illicit a certain response; it is, in fact, the way minority opinions make their way into law.


When a certain legislative package fails in session, or as a referendum at the ballot box, the next stop for the defeated is to shop their package to friendly judges to rule on the “constitutionality” of the legislation. Based on opinion not precedent in many cases, the ruling may become law.


Those shopping publicly unpopular stances have found their most effective way around the people and the people’s elected representatives.


We the people need to stand vigilant to this distortion of original intent.


On April 15 around the nation, men and women across the political spectrum will join together to protest the federal government’s intrusion into the private sector.


This generation is prepared to show their disdain for federal policies more reminiscent of an autocratic dictatorship than a true republic of representative government.


These new “Sons of Liberty” will be visible in towns across the nation as true grass roots protests – not funded by any political action group or partisan-funded organization – will speak out for a return of the government to “the people.”


These protests – called tea parties – will bring together like-minded individuals who will in city after city, in every state of the union raise their collective voices in dissent.


They will ask their representatives to quit funding private industry with ineffective bailouts.


They will ask that their representatives stop taxing their children and grandchildren with deficit spending and an ever escalating debt load before they are even born!


They will ask to be released from the bondage of unfair taxation.


They will ask that political official’s loyalty not be owed to those who fill the campaign coffers, but to those who have elected them.


This display of protest is a great start and should attract the attention of those inside the confines of the Washington Beltway.


But as a retired politician responded to me last week, he is not a fan of “street theatre,” no matter the party. He has a point. Public demonstration without follow up is meaningless.


Those who oppose the further encroachments of federal power need to do what they can to demand from their elected leaders a return to a republican form of government.


They need to bring all their collective power to bear, to once again throw the tea into the harbor if a return to a constitutionally true government is not restored – to The People!


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