April 19th, 2008

vote at your own risk

A sign of hope

It's become my custom to post something on Patriots Day, the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. The King of England, King George III, while very interested in maximizing royal power and prerogatives, wasn't particularly interested in listening to anyone who would tell him that the American colonists really were serious about their grievances. Instead, he placed a top soldier, General Sir Thomas Gage, in charge of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and eventually ordered Gage to eliminate the military stores being built up by local civic leaders. (By the nature of local society, those leaders also tended to be officers in the local militia companies.) Gage ordered elite elements of his forces occupying Boston to march overnight to Concord to capture suspected arms caches. Early in the morning of April 19th, the British column reached Concord (having skirmished briefly with a vastly outnumbered militia company in Lexington), only to find that the arms caches were mostly barren and the countryside was rising against them. Ralph Waldo Emerson famously called the fighting at the Old North Bridge "the shot heard 'round the world", as the Massachusetts militia companies drove the cream of the British Army all the way back to Boston.

I joined LiveJournal in 2004; thus, every single one of my Patriots Day posts to date has been with George W. Bush as President (the third US President to be named George, please note). President George III, while very interested in maximizing executive power and prerogatives, hasn't been particularly interested in listening to anyone who might tell him that the insurgents in Iraq might be serious about wanting the US out of their territory. That sign of hope I mentioned in the subject? I'm reasonably certain that, whatever else may happen, next year's Patriots Day post will not feature George III as our head of state.