I’ve thought a lot lately about Representative Lauren Boebert’s (R-CO) tweet on January 6, 2021, saying, “Today is 1776.” It’s clear that those sympathetic to stealing the 2020 election for Donald Trump over the will of the majority of Americans thought they were bearing witness to a new moment in our history.
Your ability to summarize hundreds of years of our history, in engaging and understandable language, without losing the string, and in just enough words, is not only amazing but a gift to us and to history. Thank you for sharing it!
Your wonderful sweep across history in response to Lauren Boebert’s comment “Today is 1776” brought to mind a comment made by One of my astute black friends early in the Trump years, just as our heads began to spin with the Republican chaos.
“Republicans don’t govern and no one expects them to. Republicans start wars.
The Democrats get stuck with all the governance, and if there are any problems left behind by the Republicans, the Democrats are expected to fix them. The Democrats are the only ones who govern.
This idea shocked me at the time but I have been thinking about it ever since. After all, I spent most of my adult life voting Republican. Never once did I question if Republicans “governed.” I had been taught that Republicans “stood for what was right”, lowered taxes, got rid of onerous regulations that hindered all of us from starting our own businesses …
But did they govern ? Did they make their states a better place to live & work? Did they increase opportunities for all, believing a rising tide lifts all boats?
The longer I pondered the question the more I realized my friend’s observation rang embarrassingly true. The answer was no. The Republicans did not govern.
The Democrats govern, while the Republicans deregulate, posture about ideals, and start wars. It’s a simplistic view, but your history lesson today gives it context. 1860 indeed. Your closing paragraph says it best. ❤️
And to think, somewhere there are some old Soviet generals and leaders looking at themselves in the mirror and thinking, “We spent all this money on weapons to defeat the Americans when all we had to do was surreptitiously take over one of their political parties and make sure that a dictator-wannabe wins a presidential election there. Then the Americans will do everything else on their own and we won’t have to spend money on a single gun!”
I can’t be the only one thinking this, can I?
States' rights do not exist. States' rights are a fiction created in the constitution to protect slave owners from a federal government that would possibly outlaw slavery. The same reason we have an electoral college, and a senate. Neither have anything to do with democracy, and everything to do with slavery. Both should be abolished. The legislative branch does not need any more than the House of Representatives, which is democratic, and named for what it is supposed to do.
We never have been a "united" states of America. We have always been fifty divided states with fifty set of rules for voting, for educating our children, and for the rights of women. And damned few states are doing any good in any of this.
Senate.gov says : "The framers of the Constitution created the United States Senate to PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF THE INDIVIDUAL STATES and to SAFEGUARD MINORITY OPINION in a system of government designed to give greater power to the National government."
The Fourteenth Amendment went a long way in the acknowledging what our rights actually are and who is protected, but the 14th is far too often being ignored for states' rights. Any one that supports states' rights is against human rights.
States don't have rights. People do. And in a democracy the majority rules for a reason.
We needed this refresher history lesson. So thank you. Those seeking to take the nation backwards care nothing about achieving a more perfect union. Their quest is unfettered power to wield as they see fit, especially against people of color and other minorities. As the professor shows us, they are forever relentless. And as the The Big Lie and coup attempt show, they will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. The Boeberts of the world are mere pawns utterly clueless about the principles on which the nation was founded.
I can't escape this idea that there are the "me" people and the "we" people. Lauren Boebert and Ronald Reagan are the poster children for the "me". Christians embracing the Anti-Christ.
I have mornings when I readily embrace the idea of overcoming the selfish, frightened "crazies" - win the elections, return to sanity, embrace empathy. Save the Earth!
And then I have mornings when I feel as if the "me" folks should just have their own country where they can be what they want to be: haters and phony bible thumpers. We'll never bring a greater understanding to most of these radical right wing bigots. Boebert will always be a bonehead.
But then I ask what part of this beautiful country...what states...should they consolidate into? Is it possible we should have let the South secede? Of course not. There are too many fine folks there that would have suffered the persecution.
OK, back to educating, marginalizing and just plain winning elections. And accepting that the balance between tolerance, love and inclusion vs bigotry, hate and oppression must be a forever struggle.
But if you have been worrying about and fighting for a better world for decades, doesn't it make you weary and discouraged? If you had told me in 1972 that this would be the political landscape of today, I would have been incredulous. I would call it a sick joke. We were to make progress...what happened?
And one more add: I HATE anytime those traitorous idiots invoke "1776" or their GD "Tea Party." It roils my blood every time. Yes, I'm from MA, so it enrages me when they deceitfully hijack those things for their infernal uses.
A quote from John Adams (made while commenting on the squabbles between revolutionary military commanders in 1777) that speaks so well to what rests in these peoples' hearts: "I believe there is no one principle which predominates in human nature so much in every stage of life, from the cradle to the grave, in males and females, old and young, black and white, rich and poor, high and low, as this passion for superiority."
If we do not STRIVE to make a society that is not based on this feral instinct, we will never achieve it. Certainly not through conservative osmosis.
Boebert and others throwing around "1776" and using the "Don't Tread on Me" snake flag really don't know what they are talking about. They have instead reversed the process...anyone supporting Trumps attempt to stay in power and/or storming the Capitol doesn't want democracy, they want tyranny, they don't want equality they want supremacy....and they certainly don't want to teach or learn accurate history.
I grew up in the South. You have the history exactly right of course. Our current crisis is indeed a re-run of Civil War motivations. Reagan began the present Republican Party era by declaring, in Mississippi, “I am in favor of States Rights” - which everyone knew meant opposed to civil rights and in favor of suppression of people of color. And the predictable resistance of wealthy business against all regulation further fuels the resistance to government “by and for all the people”. Thank you!
1860, not 1776. That is the crux and key to this.
I haven’t heard much from the “strict constructionists” on the SCROTUS regarding women and our rights since we aren’t mentioned in the constitution. Not even mentioned in the 19th: “…on the basis of sex.”
The word “woman” is not mentioned.
Professor, I also thought about Boebert’s battle tweet, and all I had was questions. No time to find answers. Your Letter today answered all of them, and much, much more. Thank you for using part of your Saturday to bring us the information we need. The more we understand, the more effective we can be. Please get some good rest and recreation on your one day off....
Lauren Boobert sounds like what she is - an uneducable high school dropout ignoramus and professional juvenile delinquent (who married her statutory rapist, also a juvenile delinquent). Raised in Nowhereville and soon to return to the obscurity from which she came. The perfect demonstration of the term "Deplorable."
My deep appreciation, Heather, for this piece of beautiful historical revelations that end with such characteristic distinction -- none of my immediate reaction: "the woman and her fellow insurrectionists haven't a clue about historical, watershed events," but rather:
"The insurrectionists’ cries of 1776 remind me not of the Founding era, but of 1860. In that time, too, people believed they were creating a new country and recorded their participation. In that time, too, the rebels wanted a country with a weak federal government, so they could be sure people like them would rule forever."
As always, BRAVA for your revelatory writing and your grace!
Certain states are passing laws to keep historical events and atrocities toward people of color out of school books and classes. They claim they do not want this pain of guilt to be handed to their children. Seems to me that what they want to keep from their children is the actions of their forefathers that were put upon these people. Hopefully their children will see them for who they are. Who were actually and are the shameful actors in Histoty?
Our sad and terrifying, racist, xenophobic, patriarchal story seems stuck on repeat due, it appears, to the construction of our constitution. ALEC would enshrine that story. And, we need a re-vision of the constitution to bring it, and our nation, up to speed in this era. Unable to imagine a safe constitutional convention at present...
Just taking a moment to let it sink in that most of this has happened and is happening because we white people (especially white men and white Christians) believe we deserve more than any other human. It’s hard to fathom when you think about it.