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Civil Disorder

July 29, 2020

Civil disorder has been all over the news for months. Disorder in Seattle and Portland being the most recent in prominence. Seattle and Portland. That is a surprise. Who would have thought there would be disorder and riots there, of all places. I was in Seattle years ago. It was a beautiful snd peaceful city. That was in 1961. A continent and a lifetime away. A lot has changed since then. In Portland groups want to burn down and destroy the federal courthouse. The federal courthouse. Who in the United States would want to attack and destroy a federal courthouse. That is nothing short of an attack on the constitution itself. An attack on our entire federal government. I find that astounding. Who are these people, what do they think and where do they come from.

When Washington was president farmers in Pennsylvania refused to pay a federal tax on whiskey that they made, traded, use for money, transported to market and sold. That was their main source of income. But the new country had debts it needed to pay and expenses that it needed to meet. So the tax was levied, and it was not popular. A group of farmers stmed themselves, attacked federal officers and destroyed property. Western Pennsylvania was deemed to be a state of rebellion. Washington led an army there and put down the disorder. Several people were killed in fighting before the army arrived. Arrests were made. Two of the leaders of the disorder were convicted of treason and sentenced to hang. Washington pardoned those convicted and no executions were carried out. Jefferson was against the tax. He ran for president with repeal as part of his platform and was elected. The tax was repealed after he was sworn in to office. The affair is known as the Whiskey Rebellion. The affair created political parties, established the tight of the federal government to maintain order, and recognized the right of assembly and petition as part of our culture.

I don’t know where this disorder will end. I hope it does soon, without the necessity of sending an army to Oregon. That could happen. There is precedent for doing so.

Disagreement with the federal government and its actions is not new. Neither is disorder, even violent disorder. It draws attention. Sometimes it results in change. Sometimes not. History will decide how this plays out. Whatever happens, whatever the legacy if this year’s disorders turns out to be, this year will be remembered in history.

From → Observation

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