Friday, November 6, 2009

Boehner confuses Constitution with Declaration, and grievances within fouding document to current events

At a recent TEA Party protest in Washington DC, House Minority Leader John Boehner stood before a crowd of thousands. Encouraging him to stand against the proposed health care bill in the House (which is now endorsed by the AARP), he spoke of a great founding document, the U.S. Constitution. Holding his personal copy of the document in his hand, Boehner recited the Preamble to the crowd:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident," Boehner said, "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

Without a doubt, many TEA Party protesters at the event felt a sense of pride in hearing those words.

Some, however, probably felt a bit confused. Indeed, the document that Boehner was quoting was not the Constitution -- it was the Declaration of Independence.

That someone in today's world may confuse the two (both documents date back over two hundred years ago) is not surprising. Equally as unsurprising is that a person at a TEA Party event missed the mark (protesters within the crowds have spread lies and misinformation for several months now). But what should worry some is that a ranking member of Congress, the leader of the oppositional party in the House of Representatives, got the two mixed up.

Nevertheless, the sentiment is what matters more than the error. Boehner was articulating what many TEA Party protesters felt: that they had a right to protest this government, to bring it down, and to defeat Obama and his Democratic allies.

The Declaration of Independence -- the real document that Boehner had quoted -- justifies just that. When "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are deprived from the people, then "it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it (government), and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

The Declaration indeed is a very rebellious document. But it's purpose was to address the grievances against the King of England at the time. Comparing those grivances to today's, and you'll notice something: the grievances of today are squat when you look back at history.

Patriots of 1776 rallied against unfair taxation (without represenation in Parliament), quartering of soldiers in colonial homes, dissolving of "representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people," unfair trials without juries, and general disregard for the law made by King George.

TEA Party protesters today are rallying against...taxes, high spending at the federal level, Barack Obama's birth certificate, health care reform...hardly anything comparable to the grievances of the late 18th century.

Whereas King George took away the livelihood of the people, took away their just rights, took away their right to purue their own happiness, Barack Obama is asking the wealthy to pay a little bit more in taxes (something most Americans support, and that father of the Republican Party Abraham Lincoln imposed). He is asking that we not fear high spending. And he's asking that we use some of our revenue to help put in place a health care plan that will allow people to keep their insurance, or to purchase a public plan offered by the government itself.

Oppose these policies all you want -- that's an American ideal that we all can celebrate, even if we do disagree with one another. Comparing the grievances of conservatives today, however, to the grievances the colonies had with King George, and you're out of line.

Barack Obama has done nothing to constitute the removal of government as we know it, as Jefferson suggested we do in times destruction to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." We mustn't be hasty, and we shouldn't over-dramatize the grievances we may have with the president, with some of us proposing an actual revolution to deal with them.

Disagree with him. Be emotional about it. But don't compare apples to oranges.

1 comment:

  1. One thing... Judging from the couple of TEA partiers I know personally, they really do believe that their grievances are on par with those of the original patriots. They believe that there IS taxation without representation because of taxes that are being allegedly added to parts of the tax code that don't need legislative approval. They believe that their rights to life and liberty ARE being threatened by the threat of "government rationing" of health care.