We Wouldn’t Be Americans If Not for “Thugs”

To make sense of our present, perhaps we should understand our past.

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Photo by Nicole Baster via Unsplash

Yesterday, shortly after midnight in Washington D.C., in a tweet flagged for glorifying violence, the president referred to the protesters in Minneapolis as “thugs.”

It’s a heavy term to be used, especially as we saw a video of one of the first acts of destruction occur by the hand of a white man dressed in expensive protective gear. Not what usually comes to mind when one thinks of a thug.

I have watched and read as people all over the country clutch their pearls, gasp and ask what happened to our country. The answer is nothing. Nothing happened to our country. We were raised like this. We’ve always been this way. We just forgot.

We’ve redefined patriotism so many times it now only applies to our own personal beliefs. We’re selective when it serves our purpose. Everyone that defies our selective beliefs is an unpatriotic heathen.

As we can’t seem to make sense of where we are now, perhaps we should go back to where we came from.

Exactly 250 years ago, citizens who were frustrated and tired of being oppressed and treated unjustly, rioted in the streets. They had no guns but the officers sent there to keep them in line did. One officer shot into the crowd, killing a black man who carried a stick. His name was Crispus Attucks.

It was the Boston Massacre. It was one of the defining moments in our country’s history that helped pave the way for the American Revolution. We called those citizens in the streets patriots. Today, we call them thugs.

One man made an image depicting the scene and it spread around the country inciting outrage. That was the man’s intent. His name was Paul Revere. We called him a patriot. Today, we’d call him fake news media.

Three years later, a group of radical citizens called the Sons of Liberty broke into ships and threw cases of British tea in Boston Harbor as an act of rebellion. We called them patriots. Their names are on our Declaration of Independence. Their leader was later elected as Governor of Massachusetts. His name was Samuel Adams. Today, we call them vandals.

The irony is that many of the people that are disgusted by the riots breaking out across the country seem to be the same ones crying over the infringement of their rights in being forced to stay at home during a pandemic. They considered themselves patriots and invoked the Constitution at every turn.

They protested and carried signs saying, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Covid,” ironically citing the famous quote by Patrick Henry, who helped organize the Boston Tea Party. He was one of the leaders of the Sons of Liberty.

I’m not saying I condone what’s happening in Minneapolis. I’m not suggesting our government be overthrown like the British rule. But, you can’t say we don’t have a historical precedent for what’s happening now. And you can’t say it hasn’t worked. Our first president said that same historical precedent was the cause of our country. We wouldn’t be here without it.

I am, by no means, calling for a revolution but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it happened. We have a history of it.

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Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, I won’t stop taking pictures of my drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre

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