In 1786, the farmers of western Massachusetts were angered by the denial of their right to vote in the new republic and by the neglect of the veterans of the revolutionary war. One farmer, Daniel Shays, with his band of farmers and veterans, marched toward Boston.
Sam Adams, who earlier instigated the Boston Tea Party against the British, was then Senate chairman and he signed a Riot Act and sent General Benjamin Lincoln to crush the revolt. Many protesters were arrested and in a trial, some of the captured rebels were put to death.
America’s ambassador to France (later to become president) Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison (also to become president) about Shays’ rebellion: “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” This also applies to the current rebellion against the excesses of the bankers and financiers whose greed and incompetence nearly bankrupted America.
With a shrinking middle class and growing concentration of wealth in the hands of a small number of super-rich, even members of that hallowed class no longer feel comfortable. As Warren Buffet, one of America’s richest man, recently wrote in theNew York Times: “While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. …
These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel as if we were spotted owl or some other endangered species.” To share the burden, Mr. Buffet has called for raising taxes of those earning in excess of $1 million a year. Now is the time for the richest one per cent to show their solidarity with the 99 per cent.
MAHMOOD ELAHI – Ottawa, Ontario
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