SEVEN of my relatives, 3 of them direct ancestors and 4 their brothers, fought in the Revolutionary War. This is on both my father’s and mother’s sides of the family.
There are all these places in the US that are named for these people and others like them. Not because they did great things there, but because like all veterans, they were treated like crap by the government who left them stranded in the wilderness when the war ended. So, “Smith Bend” or whatever last names you see all over the 13 original states, are often the names of those who fought and managed to survive the aftermath. Who survived where they were abandoned.
I am a daughter of the American Revolution, though I wouldn’t join the group with that name, and what my ancestors did doesn’t make me special. Except for this: the Revolution isn’t ancient history to our family, to me. The Constitution isn’t some old document under glass. The fight, the revolution is never over. Ever. Because tyranny is forever trying to destroy it.
If we, not some elected officials, but WE THE PEOPLE are not willing to fight and die and end up with no reward but the fact that we will stand up for the idea of a place on earth where we will defend the right of some asshole to be an asshole, to believe some stupid shit and say it out loud—we don’t deserve freedom. We fail through cowardice and indifference.
That’s freedom. Not all thinking alike. Not hating each other because people with no interest outside their own power want to manipulate us into doing so.
We don’t wait for someone else to show up; we show up ourselves.
After the Revolution, nobody got paid. At least, no foot soldiers. The government was broke. Years later, they told veterans if they could prove they served, the government would give them land for free. They parceled out the Appalachian wilderness and gave it to these very poor men, who moved to what is now West Virginia and Kentucky and Tennessee. To mountainsides. To wilderness. It’s not like you could grow crops there.
But those mountains were covered with old growth hardwood forests and those trees were worth a fortune. So, the veterans stripped the mountains, the government paid a pittance and sold the wood to … wait for it … England.
They kept those Appalachian people poor. Turned them into coal miners who lived in shacks with no insulation, no schools for their children. They had to buy food and clothes from the “company store” and it took more than their salaries to survive, so they were always in debt and could not quit and died in cave-ins and from back lung and …
… and you sure y’all want to feel smug and superior? Sure you want to vilify people whose abject poverty has been ignored for centuries now? Are you sure you also wouldn’t be an ignorant person without three teeth in your head who would be a racist or believe anyone who came along and said you were finally going to get your due if you were born into this life?
When Americans turn on each other, only our enemies win.
Across the Ohio River in West Virginia
there’s a ridge with my last name, my family’s name. There’s a cemetery on that ridge also with my last name on it. Buried there is a veteran of the Revolution whose DNA I carry. Who doesn’t seem at all removed from me, but is my g’g’g’g’grandfather and his family and a few more generations of my relatives. Incredibly strong men and women some smug superior “liberals” of today have chosen to turn into a joke.
And all of those generations fought in every war and served their country with honor and still got screwed over when it was done.
Our job is to fight and bleed and die for our country which is the Constitution and that’s all it is. Our job is to stand strong together. Help each other. Because if we don’t, wtf did my family fight for?
Our enemy is not a guy in a MAGA hat. Our enemy is our lazy-ass selves who didn’t STOP the fucking unconstitutional Patriot Act when it was passed and march on Congress and say REPEAL THIS SHIT. Our enemy is ourselves, too lazy, too complacent to learn how our government works and be our Constitution’s watch dogs.
Civil Rights didn’t happen because lawyers went to court. They happened because Americans marched and protested and demanded and got fire-hosed and murdered. White and black.
You want the horror to stop? You want freedom? You go surround anyplace they hold children or immigrants. You go surround Congress and demand action, you sit in, stand up, sacrifice, and be prepared to fight a war for freedom and restore the Constitution. No “Patriot Act” and no “Homeland Security.” No blurred lines between separation of powers. No pawning off our personal responsibility on politicians.
The only people responsible for the security of our homeland are WE THE PEOPLE.