The knife edge between the rhetoric of rebellion and inciting rebellion is sharp, ragged, and stained with the blood of the innocent; the severing blow comes all too often from a hand unexpected and beyond the control of those speaking as the Advocates for that Rebellion’s Agenda.
Read this interview exchange between Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), who is the Republican Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, and Jeffrey Brown, of PBS’s The News Hour on September 17, 2009:
REP. JOHN BOEHNER: Well, I think — you’ve heard me over the last several months make it clear that we want Americans to involve themselves in this discussion, but it ought to be civil. And, by and large, almost all of it is. Oh, there’s going to be someone now and then who’s going to get out of control or yell, but we are in the middle of a modern-day political rebellion in America.
JEFFREY BROWN: Rebellion?
REP. JOHN BOEHNER: Rebellion. I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve been around the country in a number of members’ districts, and I’ve been watching this grassfire grow all year.
And the American people, they’re concerned about what their government is doing. They know that these trillion-dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see, this is not sustainable. And they’re concerned that government here in Washington is getting too big, getting too much control, and they’re making their opposition to it known. And all of my colleagues have encountered their citizens more engaged than they’ve ever seen them.
Now, I went to a tea party in West Chester, Ohio, on September 5th, Labor Day weekend, along with some of my colleagues; 18,000 people were there. And there were some Democrats there and some Republicans there. But three-fourths of the people there were people — average Americans who’d never been engaged in the political process, really didn’t know much about it, except that they were concerned about where our country was going.
And so this conversation that’s underway is healthy for our democracy. It was Thomas Jefferson 220 years ago who said, “A little rebellion now and then is good for our democracy.”
Are Rep. Boehner, and the Republicans who advocate this language, rebelling for something or against something? Are they fanning the flames of anxiety by the use of such words to what end? I honestly can’t tell. They cry “Give us back our country!” but what do they cite as evidence the country has been lost? They cry “Don’t take away our guns!” and make threatening inferences, “We came unarmed…This time.” They cry “Our constitutional rights are being squashed!” but I cannot remember a time when our constitutional rights were more protected.
What is the rebellion? What is truly the word “rebellion” being used to communicate?
John Boehner, will you tell us the truth why you are using the word “rebellion?”
And here is why I make this demand: The Declaration of Independence sets the standard for initiating rebellion against tyranny. Rebellion is a just cause when a people are under the yoke of a government that deprives them of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The advocacy of rebellion for any other reason cannot meet that standard.
The advocacy of rebellion as a political means to bring down a legally and constitutionally elected president and government, because you refuse to abide by either the law or the Constitution as the Loyal Opposition, is not justifiable by the standard set forth in the Declaration of Independence, and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America.
That is not rebellion, Mr. Boehner, that is revolution. I pray that is not your true agenda. For that you cannot control, and it will exact a cost you and all who follow you cannot pay.