FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Common Sense for Common Soldiers

It’s 4th of July! We Minute Men who stand and fight at Lexington and Concord are the Taliban of our day.  Scum-class terrorists, we are, in the eyes of “mad” King George 3rd and his generals who treat us with contempt as an unwashed mob of amateurs.  Dirty unscrupulous amoral cowardly vicious American backwoodsmen. We New England and South Carolina guerrillas don’t fight by the formal rules of European warfare, spit-and-polish ranks advancing toward each other across open ground in perfect order bayonets gleaming with drums and fifes playing. Blinded by aristocratic stupidity, an inherited genetic disorder, the King and his advisors never come cloaw to understanding our Patriot culture or psychology.

We’re 3000 miles away from London’s bowing and curtseying, and it takes weeks for a letter to cross the Atlantic.  By the time a murderous royal command is given it’s way too late for the Redcoats to act on it.  Oh, blessed distance!  Thank heaven for the storm-tossed sea.

What drives the British invader-occupiers really crazy is that we American militia, mainly small farmers and artisans, won’t stand erect and fight, “like men”, but snipe and ambush from behind stone walls and trees.  Shoot and vanish.  Like ghosts.  The Redcoats and their German mercenaries complain that we “uncouth militia” let the forest do our fighting as practiced by the Green Mountain Boys and Morgan’s Rangers.  George III chooses to believe only what his imperial fantasies tell him and not real reports from the field.

Civil wars, which wars of liberation tend to be, are savage and bloody. (See Syria, see Gettysburg.) Set-piece colonial battles like Bunker Hill and Saratoga give way to barbaric, terrifyingly personal hand to OR Book Going Rougehand combat in murky woods with axes, pikes, bayonet, fists…no mercy given or asked. We slaughter our prisoners and so do the Redcoats.

Ours is a fraternal civil war because Americans loyal to the king fight us Americans inflamed by Tom Paine’s best-selling, anti-monarch “Common Sense”, “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era”. Neighbor betrays neighbor, Mohawk Indians fight Oneida Indians, and British and American officers (like the brave traitor Benedict Arnold) change sides for the money.  More black slaves fight for the Crown than for slave-holding George Washington because the British promise freedom to bondage men and women who come over to their side.

A secret to our success is that we home-grown American militia don’t go “bowling alone”. We know and trust each other from years of living and working together in small, tight-knit communities. Some of us have fought shoulder to shoulder in the 7 Years (French & Indian) war. Officers are elected by their men, at least at the beginning of our revolution.   Democracy runs amok, which greatly worries Gen. Washington who likes things kept in the hands of the propertied elite. That Tom Paine has a lot to answer for!

Unspoken is an underlying class tension between our Continental army officers and we shoeless, shivering, starving rankers at, for example, Valley Forge. While we suffer in freezing makeshift tents, Gen. Washington and his top officers eat well and sleep comfortably in warm houses.  We resent privilege but fight on because we aim to be free and independent Americans, and anyway we’re paid a bounty to re-enlist.  Fighting as a unit with our own close neighbors makes all the difference.  We hope it never comes to pass that only a tiny fraction of the American citizenry will do all the fighting.
Another civil war, between us American back country poor and eastern seaboard merchant class, the same class that signed our Declaration of Independence, won’t surface until after the British surrender and we get our independence. Look up “Shay’s Rebellion”, the Occupy movement of its time.

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives.

 

 

More articles by:

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Black Sunset

January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Craig Collins
Why Did Socialism Fail?
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposal Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail