BOBBY HARRISON: Tone of anti-tax rallies affirms we're living in strange times

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
all right, all right
– Lyrics from “Revolution” by Paul McCartney and John Lennon

JACKSON – It was a sight to behold on the south grounds of the Mississippi Capitol last week, covered with people on tax day at one of the nation’s many “tea bag” events.
The crowds that assembled at the Capitol in recent years to support public education could not match last week’s gathering nor could the group rallying for changes in law to make it more difficult to file lawsuits.
It was an impressive crowd. The organizers should be proud. Heck, we all should be proud to see people taking advantage of perhaps our most precious right – free speech.
The only time a comparable number of people – estimated at 2,500 or more – have been on the Capitol grounds in recent years was during gubernatorial inaugurations.
Public demonstrations are a healthy thing. The 1st Amendment provides us free speech and it is a right we should cherish and use whenever we see fit.
People who are upset with the current state of affairs and with the political environment should take to the streets.
People upset about the debt the nation has built during the past eight years have a legitimate reason to take to the street. People who oppose abortion rights and are upset with the direction that issue probably will take in the coming years also have reason to protest. People upset with our military involvement in Iraq or anywhere else may also want to march.
Still, some of the signs on the grounds of the Mississippi Capitol last Wednesday were a little bewildering.
Some of the protesters called for revolution. Others demanded “no taxation without representation.” Others complained of “tyranny.”
And of course the most bizarre signs were those waved by those questioning President Barack Obama’s authority because they said he was not born in the United States.
Obviously, the original Boston Tea Party was held to protest the fact that citizens of this North American continent were subjected to the laws of King George and the British Parliament even though we did not have representation in that legislative body.
No taxation without representation is a catchy slogan, but it really does not apply in today’s United States of America unless, perhaps, when uttered by a citizen of the District of Columbia.
We get to vote at least every two years in this country. We definitely have representation.
And, of course, it is hard to ascertain where there is tyranny in today’s United States of America.
As far as revolution, Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States and in many ways the heart and soul of the American Revolution, once wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants” and he also said “every generation needs a new revolution.”
A peaceful revolution can be a good thing. Some would argue we had a peaceful revolution this past November. Some would disagree.
In many ways, we are living in strange times.
Last week Texas Gov. Rick Perry uttered the word secession when talking about the response to federal policies with which he disagreed. Now Perry quickly backtracked and said he had no plans to advocate that Texas leave the union.
Despite Mr. Jefferson’s call for the occasional blood, hopefully today when we go to the streets to protest we do so to try to influence public opinion and politicians to our point of view.
That is a healthy thing. But if you are talking about something else “you can count me out. Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right, all right, all right.”
After all, we live in the United States of America.
Contact Capitol Bureau Chief Bobby Harrison at bharrison@djournal.com or at (601) 353-3119.

Bobby Harrison