March 5, 1770.
On that evening, an angry mob gathered at the foot of the Massachusetts Town House in Court Square. It mattered not what the protest was about; as the symbol of the Royal Government in Boston, and enforcer of the Townshend Acts, this was the place.
The crowd grew, and taunted the lone sentry at the door. He called for reinforcements, and a handful more men from Castle Island arrived to back him up. The crowd grew as well, and then somebody had the bright idea of ringing a nearby church bell.
In colonial Boston, church bells only rang for two reasons - Sunday morning worship, or if there was a fire. Being a Monday night, there was no church to be had, so somebody yelled "FIRE!".
The British soldiers did.
In the carnage, five men lay dead or dying; the crowd only dispersed after the Royal Governor promised an inquest. It is now called the "Boston Massacre", yet was only a minor skirmish. Nevertheless - it's thought by many historians to be the first blood shed in the American Revolution.
Skipping forward to July 2020, we find angry mobs in many cities today. While there may not be a clearly-defined "Town House" for them to surround and make demands, those demands are no less important than the opposition of the Townsend Acts that led us down the road to Lexington and Concord.
The parallels are quite clear to me as a historic interpreter in Boston. While we don't have a new set of Townshend Acts to oppose, for many in the country it could be loosely interpreted as "Taxation without Representation". Yes, we have elected officials, but if they've got a "D" after their name, or even if they have an "R", if they're not part of the Trumpian Cult, anything and everything is marginalized.
The history of the present President of the United States is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
There's more, but it's not much of a stretch to imagine us upon the precipice of a new revolutionary war. Brownshirts, Jackboots, Thugs - these are all things we associate with totalitarian regimes. Yet today, you can find these things in many American cities.
Our military has long taken an oath to "Preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States". The President has circumvented that oath by sending in unmarked vehicles and mercenaries in uniforms without insignia to enforce his rule. It's unclear exactly what these 21st Century Hessians are defending, but it is not the United States I know.
But back to 1770. Two years after the massacre, the situation in Boston continued to degrade. Instead of us rolling over though, dissent only increased. A "Committee of Safety" was established, which in those days was a loose network of spies, local leaders, and military organizers. Their aim was to keep an eye on the Redcoats and alert their allies what they might be up to at any given moment so the resisting citizens of Boston could take the necessary steps to protect themselves.
Of course it culminated on the night of April 18, 1775 when the lead courier of the Sons of Liberty made his run out to the Hancock-Clarke house to alert John Hancock and Sam Adams that their lives were in danger and the army was on the way to capture them. That warning was successful; and we all know what happened to the army when they finally reached Barrett's Farm at the Old North Bridge.
We are familiar with the quote about ignoring history and being doomed to repeat it. Of course, in our day and age it's been reduced to an easily-recited snippet. The original quote is somewhat more detailed:
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
President Trump is both a savage and an infant. The history he has chosen to ignore is the history of this nation. While we tolerate them for a time, as Americans we don't suffer fools gladly, and once a tipping point is reached, there is no going back.