It’s really odd, actually, how the myth of the American founding that I learned in elementary school is reasonably transparent about the fact that this country was founded by thugs who had no respect for the rule of law or other people’s property.
The canonical example is the Boston Tea Party — Americans (disguised as Native Americans as they were too cowardly to show their faces) boarded British ships in the dead of night and threw their cargo into the harbor. In other words, rioting thugs destroyed an innocent capitalist’s property to advance their radical (maybe even revolutionary!) political agenda.
But turns out that’s not the only example. There’s also this lovely case of Americans literally burning a merchant’s ship in Maryland for trying to bring British Tea to shore (“The Annapolis Tea Party”).
Here’s a list of about ten other such incidents in which American rioters vandalized tea merchants. From Charleston to Maine to Maryland to New York City, the American way was to disobey the law and smuggle tea from the Dutch and loot and burn the British boats.
Also, there’s the whole, George Washington and the Continental Army crossing the Delaware to kill British soldiers while they celebrated Christmas. I remember learning this fact more or less as a testament to the cunning and bravery of Washington. But it’s hard for me to imagine that a person who really believed that Jesus’s Birth was the transformative moment in human history could disrespect Christmas so much.
(Godless thugs, I reckon.)
There’s a Facebook meme going around about white people’s attitudes towards destruction of property in reference to the Boston Tea Party, which of course prompted me to write this. I’m not really sure what the political ramifications of this are. I think riots are scary as hell, but they are also a foreign language to me. I don’t want anyone’s boats or CVS’s to be burned. But God damn, surely Black Bodies are worth some tea.