Kenneth Gladney: 21st century Crispus Attucks

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) thugs beat Mr. Gladney during a recent St. Louis town hall meeting. His crime in the eyes of a "service" employee was selling paraphernalia celebrating and advocating freedom. For his transgression, Mr. Gladney won a two-day stay at the hospital and the indignation of a racial epithet delivered by the perpetrators of the beating. Mr. Gladney was beaten protesting for freedom from coercion at the hands of a powerful government.

Mr. Gladney is a black American. Crispus Attucks, a black American, was one of the first men killed by the British at the Boston Massacre. Attucks fell fighting for freedom from coercion at the hands of a powerful government.

President Barack Obama, a black American, is the hand of a powerful government attempting to coerce Americans into accepting health care legislation. He is fond of comparing himself favorably to predecessors like Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. Yet he combines the worst aspects of their successors: The ignorance of Andrew Johnson with the dictatorial instincts of Lyndon Johnson.

In the last few days, the Obama Administration publicly encouraged citizens to turn on one another and report opponents of health care legislation directly to the White House. The president himself damns his enumerated powers when saying of the legislative process he "doesn't want to hear any talking" about his intentions, and demands that citizens and legislators who differ with him to "get out of the way." President Obama is unable or unwilling to grasp that the United States is not a direct democracy, and that his election in November was not a unilateral grant of all-encompassing power.

Likewise, Members of Congress who have been greeted by raucous citizens hurl accusations against them or refuse to even attempt defending a government takeover of the health care industry on the merits. Protestors are accused of disseminating misinformation about the bill, though perhaps Members of Congress and the administration are simply astonished by a rapidly established trend that is just as quickly crystallizing into fact: The citizens know more about the contents of the bill than those who promote it and are to vote upon it. It is highly offensive.

These citizen activists have more respect and reverence for the founding documents and foundational law of the country than the officers of the government. We the Rubes still read a document like the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence and take it for what it is. We divine no magical penumbras or mystical nuances. If we need answers as to intent, we do not conjure them out of thin air. We consult Madison's notes on the Constitution or the Federalist Papers. As such, we utilize the First Amendments protections from government to assemble, speak, and petition that government. We now find ourselves under direct assault in word and, as Mr. Gladney learned the hard way, in deed for deigning to do so. Such actions against these citizens offend patriots' sensibilities:

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

In 1888, the poet John Boyle O'Reilly took part in ceremonies honoring Crispus Attucks and the other men who took the first hits from the British on American soil. Of them he wrote:

And to honor Crispus Attucks, who was the leader and voice that day:

The first to defy, and the first to die,

With Maverick, Carr, and Gray

Call it a riot or revolution,

Or mob or crowd as you may

Such deaths have been seeds of nations

Such lives will be honored for aye

Thankfully Kenneth Gladney is still with us. Hopefully legal action against his attackers will result in jail time. With Eric Holder as Attorney General that may be an unlikely outcome.

Unlike the perpetrators of violence against him, Mr. Gladney is a man of the mind - his own. He suffered for his ability and willingness to think on his own. Like Attucks, he has taken the first hit for the resistance. Mr. Gladney peaceably warned - on behalf of himself and countless millions - those who would attempt to stifle the First Amendment and ensnare citizens with all-powerful government: Don't Tread on Me.

Mr. Gladney's beating and the subsequent outrage over it should remind patriots and oppressors alike not only of Crispus Attucks, but also George Washington's conclusions regarding the key factor behind the Continental Army's defeat of the most powerful force in the world: "The unconquerable resolution of our citizens." Call these contemporary citizen activists what you will. Those who feel justified in squelching the voice of the sovereign through brute violence or official intimidation do so at their peril.

Matthew May welcomes comments at matthewtmay@yahoo.com

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) thugs beat Mr. Gladney during a recent St. Louis town hall meeting. His crime in the eyes of a "service" employee was selling paraphernalia celebrating and advocating freedom. For his transgression, Mr. Gladney won a two-day stay at the hospital and the indignation of a racial epithet delivered by the perpetrators of the beating. Mr. Gladney was beaten protesting for freedom from coercion at the hands of a powerful government.

Mr. Gladney is a black American. Crispus Attucks, a black American, was one of the first men killed by the British at the Boston Massacre. Attucks fell fighting for freedom from coercion at the hands of a powerful government.

President Barack Obama, a black American, is the hand of a powerful government attempting to coerce Americans into accepting health care legislation. He is fond of comparing himself favorably to predecessors like Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. Yet he combines the worst aspects of their successors: The ignorance of Andrew Johnson with the dictatorial instincts of Lyndon Johnson.

In the last few days, the Obama Administration publicly encouraged citizens to turn on one another and report opponents of health care legislation directly to the White House. The president himself damns his enumerated powers when saying of the legislative process he "doesn't want to hear any talking" about his intentions, and demands that citizens and legislators who differ with him to "get out of the way." President Obama is unable or unwilling to grasp that the United States is not a direct democracy, and that his election in November was not a unilateral grant of all-encompassing power.

Likewise, Members of Congress who have been greeted by raucous citizens hurl accusations against them or refuse to even attempt defending a government takeover of the health care industry on the merits. Protestors are accused of disseminating misinformation about the bill, though perhaps Members of Congress and the administration are simply astonished by a rapidly established trend that is just as quickly crystallizing into fact: The citizens know more about the contents of the bill than those who promote it and are to vote upon it. It is highly offensive.

These citizen activists have more respect and reverence for the founding documents and foundational law of the country than the officers of the government. We the Rubes still read a document like the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence and take it for what it is. We divine no magical penumbras or mystical nuances. If we need answers as to intent, we do not conjure them out of thin air. We consult Madison's notes on the Constitution or the Federalist Papers. As such, we utilize the First Amendments protections from government to assemble, speak, and petition that government. We now find ourselves under direct assault in word and, as Mr. Gladney learned the hard way, in deed for deigning to do so. Such actions against these citizens offend patriots' sensibilities:

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

In 1888, the poet John Boyle O'Reilly took part in ceremonies honoring Crispus Attucks and the other men who took the first hits from the British on American soil. Of them he wrote:

And to honor Crispus Attucks, who was the leader and voice that day:

The first to defy, and the first to die,

With Maverick, Carr, and Gray

Call it a riot or revolution,

Or mob or crowd as you may

Such deaths have been seeds of nations

Such lives will be honored for aye

Thankfully Kenneth Gladney is still with us. Hopefully legal action against his attackers will result in jail time. With Eric Holder as Attorney General that may be an unlikely outcome.

Unlike the perpetrators of violence against him, Mr. Gladney is a man of the mind - his own. He suffered for his ability and willingness to think on his own. Like Attucks, he has taken the first hit for the resistance. Mr. Gladney peaceably warned - on behalf of himself and countless millions - those who would attempt to stifle the First Amendment and ensnare citizens with all-powerful government: Don't Tread on Me.

Mr. Gladney's beating and the subsequent outrage over it should remind patriots and oppressors alike not only of Crispus Attucks, but also George Washington's conclusions regarding the key factor behind the Continental Army's defeat of the most powerful force in the world: "The unconquerable resolution of our citizens." Call these contemporary citizen activists what you will. Those who feel justified in squelching the voice of the sovereign through brute violence or official intimidation do so at their peril.

Matthew May welcomes comments at matthewtmay@yahoo.com