Chris Hayes writes about how the common slogan regarding police violence against Blacks is, “Why don’t they just do what the cop says?” The tariff the Crown placed on the colonies was not unreasonable at all. It was the way they went about it that angered enough people to reach critical mass. Low taxes, too low, and evading tariffs via smuggling had been allowed to develop in the colonies just like people slipping across the border with Mexico without proper documents became a way of life for employers looking for good, cheap labor. Then when someone says, Hold up! This situation needs to be corrected, those benefitting from the situation cry foul.
Nevertheless, we are left with the simple fact that our ancestors, the subjects of the Crown, defied the law. Why didn’t they just obey it? They thought the law unreasonable. They could send their elected representative to England to plead their case just like the Black people in Ferguson could plead their case against unreasonable search and seizure. But the colonists had no representatives just as the Blacks in Ferguson and most other places do not have representation. The reasons for that are complex and require a knowledge of history and law, but our self-righteous folks crying, “Just do what the cop says” have no intention of understanding anything.
The big difference is that England as a long distance away and the colonists’ guns were as big as theirs. Here, “the man” is right next door with bigger guns. And (at least for now), we still have courts with more respect for the law than for a wanna-be tyrant. So it’s not enough, in my opinion, to denounce the “just obey” voices. We need to help the oppressed learn safer and more effective ways to effect change. If all the protesters get killed in the process of confirming the oppressors’ stereotypes, then the situation will be worse than before.
A major part of my Magnum Opus bent toward showing how the past bequeathed us the present, i.e. the systemic oppression in Ferguson did not come out of nowhere, is not the result of hiring bad cops, and does not result only from poor leadership. The roots are deep and until we know what the roots are we cannot apply the proper poison to kill them. In the meantime, everyone (just about) is responding on an ad hoc basis.