"Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people . . . . This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution”
We all know the story; the colonists, fed up with a distant superpower dictating their every action and sick of paying taxes without being fairly represented, grew alienated toward the monarchy. Gradually, the yearning for freedom grew into the seeds of revolution. This “change in principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people” prompted Thomas Jefferson to draft the Declaration of Independence and provided impetus to the framers of the Constitution. A war ensued, and a new nation was born.
The people who sought this radical change were the freedom fighters, and it was their footsteps that I followed on my trip to Massachusetts.
Rolling through the verdant hills and bucolic fields outside Boston, I traced the trail between Lexington and Concord, stopping where the “shot heard around the world” was fired; in awe that I stood at that very spot where history was made. In Boston itself, I walked the “Freedom Trail,” visiting The Old North Church, Faneuil Hall, and the site of the original Tea Party. These places are where the American system of justice had its beginnings.
And this is where our history, emanating from the simple desire to be treated as equals, comes to life. I felt both humbled and uplifted at the accomplishments of those who risked everything for freedom; recognizing that both the freedom fighters and their families made enormous sacrifices to ensure that today, we are a free nation.
But, the job of our early American visionaries is far from over. America still has citizens who are NOT equal. So, in the same place where citizens first organized to protest and rebel against an unfair government, Massachusetts was the first state to address the inequities we still face today. And, even though it took over 200 years, effective May 2004, all Massachusetts citizens finally had equal rights.
I went there to steep myself in history and to see if the new law had altered the lives of ordinary Americans. Were Bostonians changed by that landmark decision? Did the people of Massachusetts look or act differently from other Americans? I looked hard for any indications of a civilization in decline, but I didn’t find any. Nothing seemed unusual, alarming, or out of the ordinary. In fact, people carried on as if nothing monumental had occurred; they continued living their own lives.
And since 2004, the people of Iowa, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Washington, the District of Columbia, and New York, have also legalized gay marriage. And, based on my experience in Massachusetts and all the factual evidence, we haven’t seen a huge social upheaval, downfall of civilization, or harm to heterosexual marriages.
Yet, there are those who continue to fight hard to deny others their civil rights. They do not care that the “affections of the people” have changed, and that the majority of Americans are now in support of full equality. Much like the British Crown of the 1700’s, those who wish to maintain a separate and not equal status are living in denial; and, they too are provoking a revolution.
But today’s revolution is not a war against a distant superpower. It is a war against standards that are no longer relevant or consistent with our way of life. It is a war that must be fought in every home, on every street corner, in every village, town, city, state, and in our federal government as well. It requires dedication, sacrifice, and vision. And, in these respects, it does not differ much from the American Revolution. For, it is in the “minds and hearts of the people” that the revolution “is effected” and gains its strength. This war too WILL be won.
I went in search of the freedom fighters, and I found them. I found them, not only in Boston, but in every person who stands up for equality. Equality was the premise for this new country; and it should be our position now and forever. I conclude, as those American revolutionaries did, that it is a war worth fighting!
. . . And I’m just a mom who loves her son . . .