Tuesday, September 8, 2009

You're Not the Boss of Me! (Larken Rose)

I'm surprised I hadn't run across this great speech by Larken Rose, which he delivered at a July 4th "Tea Party" in Philadelphia, but I'm glad I found it and highly recommend checking it out (you can also watch it here):

Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, in Philadelphia, a bunch of guys got together and wrote a letter to their king. The letter was very eloquent, and well thought out, but it basically boiled down to this:

"Dear King George,

You're not the boss of us!


A Bunch of Troublemakers"

That's essentially what the Declaration of Independence was: a bunch of radicals declaring that they would no longer recognize the right of their king to rule them, at all, ever again. They went on to create a new boss, which turned into a new oppressor, but we'll get to that in a moment. First, let's consider the essence of that attitude: "You're not the boss of me!"

This July 4th, like every year, millions of Americans are celebrating Independence Day with various parades, picnics, fireworks, and so on. But how many of those people celebrating have ever actually considered what the Declaration was actually about, and what the colonists actually did? The colonists did not merely beg the king to change his ways. In fact, the Declaration explains how they had tried that, to no avail. Instead, the colonists were doing something far more drastic.

In short, they committed treason. They broke the law. They disobeyed their government. They were traitors, criminals and tax cheats. The Boston Tea Party was not merely a tax protest, but open lawlessness. Furthermore, truth be told, some of the colonists were even cop-killers. At Lexington, when King George's "law enforcers" told the colonists to lay down their guns, the colonists responded with, "No, you're not the boss of us!" (Well, that was the meaning, if not the exact verbiage.) And so we had "The Shot Heard 'Round the World," widely regarded as the beginning of the American Revolution.

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