I hope that my fellow Americans had a merry day of blowing stuff up. Independence Day is always fun, since it’s one of the few holidays where you’re not being pushed to feel bad for veterans or worship a particular deity. While you should always do the first (the second… heh), it always feels like it is never enough. Thus, the enjoyment is cut back. However, the Fourth of July is simple, you just need to be an American.
It also amuses me how Americans treat the American Revolution as such a crowning achievement in the history of the United States. Yes, we know the story. The oppressive British were taxing the hell out of the poor colonists and the colonists got sick of it and dumped some tea and the British retaliated by killing a bunch of folk and Paul Bunyan teamed up with Paul Revere to have a machine gun shootout on the Rocky Mountains while Bacon sang the Star Spangled Banner, yaddah yaddah yaddah.
However, ask yourself this: Why don’t normal enlisted men get tried for war crimes? Unless individual soldiers are found doing heinous acts above and beyond their orders, only the generals and officers are tried and hung. This is because the military forces the normal man to obey any order given to him, regardless of what it is. It’s hard to be a hero if you’re dead, and a bullet in the head is what the normal reward for defiance is.
I’ve always regarded the American Revolution as the single largest episode of “shooting the messenger” in the history of man. The villainous tax men and soldiers were simple workers, paid to do a job in the colonies. Regardless of their personal ideas and feelings towards the colony’s men and women, they worked for a wage that they desperately needed to stave off starvation.
The tax men were subjected to tarring and feathering, a punishment that would cause severe skin damage, much like an actual fire would. These are the men that were paid to go from house to house, collecting the amount of money that they were told to by the governor.
The soldiers were in place to fight off inter-city battles and stop Native American attacks, but they mostly kept the general peace. Lacking an organized police force, the colonies relied on these soldiers to keep murder and theft from being widespread. When the colonists completely lost their shit over tea, of all things, and started attacking the soldiers, they had to do the one thing that they could do: attack back.
Hell, the constantly mentioned Boston Massacre was only made famous because Paul Revere had to latch on to any event that shone a bad light on the British. The event did result in five colonists dying, but the shooting was brought on by the colonists pelting the guards with rocks. What were they supposed to do, politely ask them to stop? Fire hoses and tear gas wasn’t around in those times (looking at you, G20 policemen. I’m not saying that you could use more force, but I’m heavily implying it).
Of course, the governors were at fault for all of this, but they weren’t the ones who were getting punished in such horrible fashions. They were treated diplomatically…mostly.
In short, a bunch of men working for a buck got killed or seriously injured because the governors were stingy with the tea. And we’re oh so proud of it. USA! USA!