December 16th, marks the 235th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.
As many of us struggle to make the most of the holiday season, this major event in the history of the creation of our nation will go unnoticed.
Trying to cope with the troubling economy makes it harder to afford the newest wii or xbox for our children before Christmas day rolls around. While we cope with it, we will not be thinking about the individuals who, 235 years ago, were more preoccupied with their rights than their Christmas gifts.
Yet, in the spirit of the holidays we should take at least a moment to reflect.
Not only should we reflect on what we have and be grateful for it but we should also take a moment to reflect on those who came before us and whose plight made life better for us . Those who helped to define our nation and shape it’s future.
235 years ago the residents of the American colonies had enough. They could no longer quietly tolerate the oppression of a ruling authority that dictated too much. They were tired of the majesty’s demands upon them and it all came to a head in Boston when the cry of “taxation without representation” resulted in a tea party that was anything but sedate or civil. Back then, American colonists were developing a sense of independence that wanted government out of their lives. They wanted to make their own wages without a ruling authority limiting how much of it they could earn. They wanted the right to have a say in the way their territory was run. This spirit led to the Declaration of Independence and eventually it led to the birth of what the world would came to know as the freest, most innovative and powerful nation in the universe.
Today, we still hold that impressive title but many of us see it being lost.
That greatness is a bi-product of freedom. A freedom that has allowed individuals to flourish well beyond the limited framework that any one established authority could set it’s people on. The diversity of thinking, and goals has created the greatest pool of ideas known to man.
Our freedom and individuality has been the key to our greatness but unlike the people of colonial America, today, Americans are giving up their freedom and relinquishing their individuality to a controlling authority that they want to give greater control to.
Instead of demanding “no taxation without representation” we are accepting of the practice.
If you live in New Jersey but work in New York, in addition to a litany of federal taxes and state taxes, you have to pay a commuter tax. Does paying that tax give New Jerseyans the chance to vote for leaders and representatives in New York? Heck no! But without any representation for them in New York, they are forced to pay taxes to New York.
This scenario is not limited to New York. It exists almost everywhere in the nation but that does not make it right. It is simply an indication of the spirit that has been lost since days of old.
Further indication of this is made in other areas of government.
Instead of that sense of responsibility that the colonists had, today we look towards government for everything. Where the colonists wanted less of the majesty’s governance, we want more of the federal bureaucracy’s governance.
Have a business that isn’t successful? Let the government bail you out.
Want to start a business? Let the government give you a grant to do it.
Lost money on a business deal or investment? Let the government give you the money back.
Let the government do everything and pay for everything, right?
The money the government gives you is not theirs to give away. It is your money, it is our money. It is the tax dollars we let them take from us and the more we refuse to do for ourselves, the more money they take from us.
Economically, that doesn’t sound like a bad thing but in reality it is anything but a good deal.
When the bureaucracy of government does something, they do so in a way that costs much more than any individual or private sector institution can. So by letting the government do more, is allowing more money to be wasted. If you needed a hammer would you buy one for 8 bucks at Home Depot yourself or would you buy the same one from the Pentagon for 108 dollars?
The government needs to get out of our business and Americans need to recapture the independent spirit that founded this country and made us the great nation that we are.
We need to start doing for ourselves what we have come to expect government to do for us. Our reliance on a controlling authority has taken control of our lives away from us. That reliance has created a dependency that has led to the growth of government and that growth has created the need for more money. Money that is raised by increasing the taxes that the people have to pay.
The Boston Tea Party may not have been a cozy afternoon gathering but it was a good thing. It signaled our deep rooted yearning for our God given freedom and believe it or not, freedom is still a good thing.
235 years later Americans are far removed from that fact. Instead of demanding less government and more personal freedom, we ask for more government and more government action. Instead of protesting excessive taxation we just held an election that endorsed more taxes and “spreading the wealth around”.
Maybe we will have to lose some of our freedom in order to realize what all the hullabaloo in Boston was about.
Slowly we already have lost some of our freedoms but apparently not enough. Not enough to select candidates who want to limit government. Not enough to force representatives to stop trying to solve problems by restricting our freedoms and creating more problems.
Just how much freedom we must lose before we begin to miss it, is quite important.
That freedom made us the great power and people that we are and the more of it that we lose, the further from greatness we shall fall.
So today, before charging the spouses gift on that past due credit card, take a moment and reflect on the participants of the Boston Tea Party. A bunch of colonists who saw more value in their freedom than any Christmas gift. A group of soon to be Americans whose desires for a better life led them to renounce the authority of a government for the sake of their freedom and the eventual freedom that we have come to take for granted and whittle away.
A man took a trip out West after a harrowing IRS audit. He stopped in a bar, and after a few drinks, stated to no one in particular, "IRS agents are horses' asses."
One of the locals spoke up on hearing this: "Mister, you'd better watch what you say. You're in horse country."