Revisiting “No Taxation Without Representation” and the American Revolution

The Boston Tea Party (from National Archives and Records Administration)

How ironic that the Republican Tea Party is now trying to pass this “tax reform” lie.  The Tea Party political movement became so named in 2009 when Rick Santelli referred to the Boston Tea Party in a response to Barack Obama’s mortgage relief plan.

The Boston Tea Party occurred in 1773 as a protest against unfair taxation by the British.  That is, taxation in which they had no voice.  True patriots, led by Samuel Adams (one of our founding fathers) and the Sons of Liberty, threw 342 chests of tea overboard from three ships into the Boston harbor as a protest against the taxation.  (The Sons of Liberty patriots disguised themselves as Indians in order to identify themselves as Americans as opposed to being British subjects in America.)

The rallying cry prior to the American Revolution became “No Taxation without Representation”.  The phrase was coined by  James Otis in 1761 and the full phrase was “Taxation without Representation is Tyranny”.

Now we have a Congress run by Tea Party Republicans who came to control all three branches of government because of partisan gerrymandering (and possibly illegal gerrymandering) of congressional districts.  Not only did they obtain their offices through unfair means but they refuse to work with Democrats in enacting or shaping legislation.  We have essentially become a country that is governed by a tribe that is foreign to most of us.  The Republican Party has changed dramatically in a very short period of time.  It went from one that seemed to have a moral code to one that promotes pedophiles and sexual assaulters to high office.  The list of immoral actions it has taken and promotes seems endless.

A recent Gallup poll indicates that among voters “46% are either “Democrats or Democratic leaners” and 39% are either “Republicans or Republican leaners” when Independents are asked “do you lean more to the Democratic Party or the Republican Party?”.   This means that unless the Republicans work with Democrats in a bipartisan manner on this “tax reform” we again have taxation without representation since only a minority of Americans identify as Republican.

How far have we come?  We can not even laugh at a senator without being tried and threatened with imprisonment.  Photojournalists are being tried for taking pictures of protests.  Well, there are still plenty of patriots to go around.  Threats of imprisonment for no good reason have strengthened our resolve to fight what’s happening, but can we recover and rebuild our democracy without another war?  With the theft of the supreme court seat by Neil Gorsuch and the Republican party, thereby tilting the balance towards the Republicans, it won’t be easy.

Given the mood in this country, if this “tax reform” bill passes I suspect there will be events on a par with the Boston Tea Party happening again.  “No taxation without representation” may become the rallying cry.

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