Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of this quote:
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants” – Thomas Jefferson.
It has been suggested that this is to be understood as a call to arms against an unjust government. That would be an incorrect interpretation.
The quote is out of context. Try reading the full quote:
“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive.
If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. …
And what country can preserve its liberties, if it’s rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.
The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them.
What signify a few lives lost in a century or two?
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure.”
– Thomas Jefferson, November 13, 1787, letter to William S. Smith, quoted in Padover’s Jefferson On Democracy, ed., 1939
The emphasis is mine. This is my take on the above quote, and what it means in the context of the changes going on in our country.
It is the solemn and patriotic duty of every American Citizen to loudly protest against any government action they do not understand.
It is the solemn and patriotic duty of every American Leader to engage with equal fervor and EXPLAIN COMPLETELY to the people the action being taken.
It is the solemn and patriotic duty of every American Citizen and American Leader to engage in this debate.
It does not matter that the communication of this information may take time, or expense, or that some people will never understand it.
It does not matter that the U.S. population is 100x greater now than when Jefferson wrote his words in 1787.
The people have a duty to protest, the leaders have a duty to explain.
If the current leaders are mystified at the reason behind the vociferous opposition to Health Care Reform, it is because they have done a PISS POOR JOB OF EXPLAINING IT!!
Barney Frank lashed out at a citizen during a town hall meeting recently because he believed her to be a nutball. I believe her to be confused.
The debate about health care reform is not going to be solved through ad homenim attacks on the proponents or opponents.
The questions remain:
Why do we – the whole country, not just the uninsured – need health care reform?
If health care reform is needed, why is THIS the best way to do it for the whole country?
Can ANYONE point me to a link where these questions are answered succinctly and completely?
Response to Lavender Liberal’s Follow-Up
I understand your concern about Kostric because you researched his background.
But I’m still amazed at the amount of fear one guy with a sign and a gun can create, by just having a sign and a gun!
I suppose it’s simply a difference in where you live and what you’ve learned constitutes a threat.
The presence of people carrying guns (both concealed and in the open) was a common experience for me. You couldn’t distinguish a threat by the mere presence of a gun.
You had to look to their behaviour. Was it suspicious, outrageous, or in line with the situation?
To me, Kostric – holding his sign, carrying his gun, standing where he was told, not shouting epithets – was participating in the process.
Out in the open where he can be tagged and cataloged. In my experience, the people you have to worry about aren’t the people on the radar, it’s the people off.
So Kostric and his ilk are not a “threat”, but a mere concern to be watched.
The problem with watching for people that appear to be the next Timothy McVeigh is that the people who actually are the next McVeigh don’t look like it.
The threat isn’t the coyote standing in front of you, it’s the scorpion behind you.
If we spend too much time and energy giving power to the “nutters” like Kostric, we’ll miss the real threats when they come
crawling out from under the rock.
Perhaps you’re right and we don’t have anything to discuss, because Kostric’s actions don’t generate the same concern in me that they do in you.
And that’s the problem with any discussion, you have to find a common root to start from.
Our country is so diverse and yet so homogenized. It gives the appearance of a baseline unity based on shared experiences, but in reality that baseline is pretty thin.