The Echo of Revolution

Posted on June 11, 2011


It was 1775 and British commanding General Thomas Gauge has 3,000 soldiers involuntarily quartered amongst rebellious citizens in Boston. Opposed to Gauge are tens of thousands of well armed minutemen formed into multiple militias statewide. It is April 1775 and Gauge is ordered to break the stalemate between Massachusettes colonialists and those loyal to the crown. The British act upon intelligence and send a detachment of 800 soldiers to march on Concord and sieze a large supply of the colonialists gunpowder.

While Gauge’s detachment was working on crossing the Cambridge river, hundreds of colonialists just like Paul Revere took off on horseback to notify all of the states minutemen militias of the British march on Concord.

At 4:30 AM on April 18th, 1775, the British would come upon their first American militia of 138 citizen soldiers half-way to Concord, in Lexington, Massachusettes. History does not tell us who fired the first shot but as those 138 citizen soldiers of the Lexington Militia fought the 800 British soldiers, the many other militias descended from the surrounding area. Not only would they begin to engage and block the British advance, but they managed to send them running in retreat down a path lined with snipers all the way back to Boston. Other militias began to lay siege to the city of Boston itself and the battle for America was on.

Several hundred miles to the south, a young continental congress would meet for only a second time. While the previous meeting was to coordinate a colonial boycott of British goods in response to the stamp act, this meeting would carry the news that the colonial militia had successfully engaged the detachment and sent them packing. This time they would be meeting to form a continental army from all thirteen colonies to supplement the militias and to declare their independence from British rule.

The American revolution had started and the word of the day was very familiar to the word of the day today.  What side of the argument are you on? Are you a loyalist or are you a colonialist? In a mirror echo of history, more than 50% of people did not wish to be a part of the argument either way. Out of the remaining 50%, 2/3rds identified as colonialists and 1/3 identified as loyalists to the crown – including Benjaman Franklin’s own son. Both the American revolution and the Civil War pitted family members agaist each other in battle.

Here in California’s judicial branch, the current dynamics echo times in American history. While today we would consider violence in such a situation repugnant, oppressed people can only tolerate so long before they push back any way they know how. How those people push back and how loyalists treat colonialists and address their concerns makes all of the difference in the world.

So far, resentment is growing. Militias of disgruntled judges, citizens and legislators have formed and they too are growing. In a democratic society, things may not always happen as fast as we would like but the difference is that in a democratic society, revolutions can take place without a shot ever being fired. And this is why the Judicial Council should consist of democratically elected members and not appointees of the crown because when you tap trial court funds or reserves, it is tantamount to taxation without representation.

That potential for revolution comes every time you review an initiative, canvas a precinct, support or oppose an issue or cast a ballot.  Get involved. Change your world.