Ode to Bulldogs

“The people who do not revere the deeds of their ancestors will never do anything to be remembered by their descendents.”

So said British historian Lord Macauly. It is notable, then, that history so well favors Samuel Adams, Boston’s unyielding bulldog of American independence. Two and a half centuries ago Adams turned colonial anger at unfair taxation into full-blown American independence. Three recent patriots, Utah County’s homegrown Senator Mike Lee, along with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin recently invested themselves in a modern crusade against repressive taxation, as well.

On May 24, 1764, Samuel Adams took to the rostrum in Boston’s Faneuil Hall to instruct new representatives to the Massachusetts provincial legislature. That day, Adams, the consummate politician so at ease in Boston’s political arena, lit the bonfire that ultimately chased the British from colonial America. A fundamental transformation had been foisted on the colonists, as British Parliament declared its intention to violate colonial charters and tax American prosperity to enrich British coffers. Adams said, “If our trade may be taxed, why not our lands and everything we possess or make use of? This…annihilates our charter(ed) right to govern and tax ourselves.” The rest is history. Samuel Adams drove his principles to national independence as those who could hear the infant chant of freedom responded to his clarion call.

Over the last few weeks a similar refrain echoed through the United States Congress as three legislators put themselves on the political grill to plead freedom from unethical taxation. While Cruz took to the Senate rostrum in a marathon filibuster, Lee and Ryan worked the partisan crowd. They also fought fundamental transformation that will enslave one-sixth of the American economy to total government control. Like Adams, their past experience with myopic, runaway government fueled their fears.

Samuel Adams fought the Sugar Act, a seemingly benevolent law the British claimed would increase colonial prosperity by reducing taxes to half the amount of previous policies. The problem, however, was that this tax would be strictly enforced rather than universally ignored, as was its predecessor. Our recent legislative triad fought the ill-named Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare), a supposedly benevolent policy to bring health insurance to the uninsured. Its problem is 2500 extra pages of pork barrel, government imposed fee structures, reduced availability of medical care, an open format that allows endless additions to the law, and a legion of add-ons that have nothing to do with health care.

Both Adams and our current legislators feared the precedent set by federal appetites—what will come next if we permit this power grab? Both responded to the bullying of federal authorities—Adams to Parliament’s scorn of the colonists; our modern legislators to the resentment of Americans who watched the ramrod passage of an oppressive law by extortion, bribery and outright lies.

Political forces moved against Samuel Adams in the aftermath of his stand against tyranny. British Governor Bernard and British-loving Tories clamored for his removal, and those who later embraced his activism initially viewed him with skepticism. So, also, forces within their own party turned against the modern trio of legislators. For Senator Lee, within his own state under the Count Your Vote initiative, powers are at work to unseat him for his stand against bureaucratic health care.

The more things change the more they remain the same—in history, in politics, in leadership. Repressive governments seek control; patriots seek liberty. Party leaders can shamefully turn on their own who take the moral high ground. Unfair taxation leaves welts on the backs of those who suffer under the political lash. The ledgers of history record that Samuel Adams, the bulldog of American freedom, never gave up. Is there more our modern bulldogs can do to derail Obamacare, this fast track from partial to full socialism? Pray that there is. If not, another major segment of liberty has become history.