Thomas Jefferson: ‘The Tree Of Liberty Must Be Refreshed From Time To Time With The Blood Of Patriots And Tyrants And Kindergarteners And Newlyweds And High-Schoolers And Parents And Teachers And Worshippers And Workers And Occasionally Infants’

On the subject of our still fledgling nation, one point in particular stands out, which I present for want of understanding America’s purpose: The British crown continues to repeat its lies about our being unable to govern ourselves, and yet we have over these past years of self-government seen relative peace. However, that peace must not lull our citizenry into complacency. It is essential that Americans remain ready to respond to any threat that would encroach on our dearly won freedom.

That is why the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants and kindergartners and newlyweds and grandpas and high-schoolers and dads and teachers and moms and worshippers and workers and occasionally infants.

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We vow to never again find ourselves caught in the ruthless grip of the British Empire or a group of lifelong friends reuniting at a country music festival.

I hope that this point will be sufficiently clarified in our Constitution, so that our descendants may understand fully the need for an armed and well-regulated group of citizens that can put down any despotic government, ninth-grade class, synagogue congregation, The Dark Knight Rises audience, or group of shoppers at a Walmart that rises up against them.

It is the price we must pay, for what signifies a few lives lost in a century or two on the battlefield, or at a Little League game, or in a high-school library? We do not take our task to safeguard our liberty lightly, and we must never hesitate when our existence as a free state is put at risk by the sinister whims of autocrats and nightclub attendees and older sisters and high-school principals and great-grandmothers and pharmacy technicians and parents of young kids and accountants and dancers and 7-year-olds and well-liked colleagues and leaders of Bible study groups and immigrants and aunts and aspiring photographers and paramedics and the first people in their family to attend college. Likewise, we must accept that defending our liberty will sometimes necessitate the loss of life of brave and loyal patriots, as well as nurses and sons and retirees and dedicated union members and daughters and aspiring firefighters and bartenders and veterans and teaching assistants and rabbis and fast-food employees and animal lovers and postal workers, and, if necessary, people described by everyone who knew them as loving, creative, and kind.

This is why American government must never infringe upon the rights of its citizens to keep and bear arms, which we must do in order to withstand any attack by a foreign adversary or college students attending an engineering class. If we are to fulfill our noble vision of a city upon a hill, to rise to the occasion of maintaining a government where man is free to pursue his own happiness and destiny, each of us must stand ready with his well-oiled musket or high-capacity semi-automatic rifle to exterminate an invading force or, on occasion, people buying shoes at the mall.

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Naturally, there may yet come a time in our nation’s future when the very federal government we have established becomes a purveyor of the same forces of prejudice and tyranny we sought to eradicate. In such a situation, it is our hope that the citizens of this country will use their collective strength to fight such evils and protect the oppressed among them, or, alternatively, to be misdirected by the violent rhetoric of the country’s plutocratic ruling party and its mass media apparatus into firing deadly weapons indiscriminately into crowds of innocent people trying to go about their day.

That is our right as Americans.

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