I’m working my way through AMC’s “Turn: Washington’s Spies” through the 4th of July weekend. I’ve been remiss in never seeing it before as it’s actually pretty fantastic and, well, I’m a huge fan of that period of history. But it’s got me thinking about revolution and the comparisons people make between the antifa/BLM protests and occupations and the early battles of America’s revolutionaries as they fought King George’s forces in the colonies. And I just want to put to rest the notion they are in any way comparable, save for the fact they both involve skirmishes against the power base (real or imagined because I’m fairly certain small business owners in Minneapolis only hold limited amounts of community power).
It also took me back to several discussions I’ve had recently in a fellowship program I joined at the beginning of the year that was intended to examine the founding and what we called the “constitutional character” of the American revolutionaries and framers of our system of government. Within those discussions we uncovered why it’s absurd to compare the Marxist revolutions (of early 20th Century Russia or the modern flaccid attempts in American cities) to what ultimately became a fight to create an American republic. In short: the American Revolution wasn’t seeking overthrow of anything, and certainly wasn’t intended to erase the past. The truth is almost exactly the opposite.
The founders were disgusted with the monarchy because they believed they were being treated unfairly under centuries of codified English law. They believed they were seen as dirty little colonialists and were therefore abused in violation of the great English legal treatises. And their goal was to let George know he was violating old, good laws in his abuse of them. They respected and revered the past (as evidenced by the Greco-Roman architecture we still favor in Washington, DC), and had no wish to destroy anything but a political bond that kept them from self-governing and prospering.
I was again reminded of all that as I watched “Hamilton” (trailer below) on Disney+, a nice nod to the past with a foot in the increasingly diverse future. I encourage everyone to watch because in the Cancellation Age we must find ways to unite and celebrate our shared history before the destroyers can be convinced all vestiges of it need to be erased. And if we can keep “Hamilton,” it makes it harder to argue that we can’t keep “Gone With The Wind.” And we’re better off if we keep it all.
Oh, and I also need some help on the NFL Black National Anthem debate. I’ve some concerns and would love to be disabused of them. Let me know if you can help.