American school children are taught about the American Revolution - the Boston Tea Party, the Continental Congress, the Declaration of Independence, Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride, Valley Forge, the crossing of the Delaware - the whole glorious chronicle of our colonial forefathers' rebellion against tyranny.
Indeed, it may be that the American Revolution is an American child’s first encounter with history.
Yet much of what is taught is not entirely true. Indeed, perhaps more than any defining moment in American history, the War of Independence is swathed in beliefs not borne out by facts.
One common myth is that Americans of all stripes took up arms out of patriotism. In point of fact, many men preferred to remain home, leaving General Washington despairing of “compleating the army by Voluntary Inlistments.”
Indeed, mindful that volunteers had rushed to enlist when hostilities began, Washington predicted that “after the first emotions are over,” those who were willing to serve from a belief in the “goodness of the cause” would amount to little more than “a drop in the Ocean.”
Hence the ultimate conscription policies enforced across the colonies.
We are poised, I fear, on the brink of another such revolution, one that will likely be waged by those caught up in the kind of “first emotions” Washington referenced.
But neither their cause nor the end result will be liberty.
Our country is led today by an individual engaged in an ongoing, rarely-paused exercise in dividing and alienating the majority of Americans, while fueling the white-hot fire of his minority base.
Oligarchs demand dismantling regulations and cutting taxes for the wealthy. Bannonites want no less than the deconstruction of the State. The religious right crave conservative Supreme Court justices. Blue-collar voters quixotically imagine reviving waning industries. The lunatic fringe - the white nationalists, supremacists, racists, Nazis - see Trump as a means to realize their perverted world view.
And he has embraced this twisted tribe.
Indeed, it would seem he is in the process of raising an army of sorts, and he doesn’t need conscription, and they are remarkably well-armed: According to the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action - “Each month of Trump’s presidency has seen over two million firearm-related background checks. Unprecedented.
Why? Why is he doing this?
Well, should something emerge from Mueller’s investigation that implicates Trump and poses a threat to his tenure, he’ll likely position any attempt to remove him from office as a political coup.
While the oligarchs and sell-out “establishment” Republicans will likely – finally - abandon him, his base will embrace him. Those with weapons or simply unhinged or otherwise disenfranchised - the ones he keeps encouraging and applauding - will not forsake him.
The lunatic fringe will see attacks on Trump as attacks on themselves.
If Trump tells them that the “establishment” is acting unfairly and conspiratorially to remove from office their last and only champion — which he would have them believe — the likelihood of revolt, of revolution, is quite real.
We can only hope that such "revolutionaries" will be met with more than Washington’s “drop in the ocean,” lest unborn generations of children are indoctrinated with all-new and much more sinister myths than those that stem from America's first Revolution.