The United States began to form after the rebellion against the King of England when the settlers in the colonies along the eastern coast reacted to the injustice of having to pay taxes without representation in Parliament starting on December 16, 1773, at Griffin’s Wharf in Boston.
Another big step in US history was the rebellion of workers in factories and the longshoremen on the docks which brought with it the establishment of unions and the protection of workers along with the eight hour, five day work week.
Now we are seeing another rebellion which I call the Citizens’ Rebellion because the people in the streets are citizens of all ages, races and religions who live in the US, pay taxes, work hard and have families. The majority of people are not “rioters” and these are not “riots”. These are citizens protesting the financial and racial inequalities that have plagued the nation for over 200 years and have now become acute with the actions of the corporate owned neoliberal “left” and the neocon right.
The inequality extends throughout the lives of most people in the US and affects everything from healthcare to education and housing. When you have almost 25% of children living in poverty in the world’s richest nation, that should say enough about the condition of the United States. When the wealthy continue to receive tax breaks, if they pay any taxes at all, when Amazon pays zero taxes in 2019 and the owner becomes the first trillionaire while abusive practices are being used on the employees who do not receive a living wage, there is inequality.
The 160 million people who live in the US have not seen their wages go up adequately for 35 years compared to the cost of living. Because of this, more people in a family need to work and credit has been the way to survive.
COVID-19 made it bleakly clear to all that the 99% had little compared to the comfortable 1%, that everyone was living on the edge of poverty, that there was no longer a middle class, only a working class.
The video that everyone around the world saw of George Floyd being chocked to death by a a man who looked at the world straight in the eye as he did it, lit the match. Personally, when I heard Mr. Floyd call for his “Momma” with his dying breath, my heart fell and I felt faint with a mix of empathy and horror, then outrage settled in and a feeling of not knowing what to do or how to express it. The powerlessness of the moment was overwhelming. Others felt it as well.
We had seen this time and time again and just like any human, there is a breaking point and that was it, for a nation.
With COVID, the wealthy few received their care packages, one after another, from Congress while everyone else, well, some received $1,200, if they were lucky, to tie them over for an indefinite amount of time, weeks, months, no one knows and no one in power seemed to care particularly the representatives who the people voted into Congress.
Taxation without representation.
My hope is that progress will come out of this. Just like a nation began in its embryonic stages with a small rebellion at Boston Harbor and labor unions came out of the clashes between workers and police in the streets of New York and Boston, we will see something begin to form that takes the US to another stage and a better one.
I don’t know but I hope. It can go many ways now. The US may become an outright fascist state or learn from its mistakes, and there have been many, and mature into a stronger country. Time and the people will tell the story.
To follow are photos of people in the streets, citizens of the United States, protesting the inequalities and then the reaction of the police.
To follow is a compilation of the police violence on people who were peacefully protesting and members of the press.
John Oliver is next asking the question of who holds the police accountable. It was produced three years ago. Then, “The Broken Policing System” with Hassan Minhaj filmed in 2019.
Things have got to change.