On December 16, 1773, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded three British merchant vessels in Boston harbor and dumped 342 chests of tea into the water. The action was taken in response to the Tea Act of 1773, which granted the British East India Company what amounted to a monopoly on the sale of tea in the American colonies. The dumping of the tea has gone down in history as the “Boston Tea Party” and as one of the most well-known acts leading up to the American Revolutionary War.
What is perhaps less well known is the context in which the “Tea Party” occurred. This was no isolated incident. This was part of a much broader, much longer effort on the part of American colonists to respond to and protest a continuing series of British taxes and edicts, which the colonists found intolerable. Americans, who increasingly thought of themselves as such rather than British subjects, had by 1773 when the “Tea Party” took place simply reached their breaking point. All across what would soon be a new nation they were standing up and saying in a loud clear voice that they would not “take it anymore”.
Three years later in the Declaration of Independence, the sentiment would find expression in these terms.
“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”Declaration of Independence
Put simply, at some point it becomes both the right and the duty of a free people to stand up and take matters into their own hands.
Ever since Bill Clinton began to steer us down the road toward open and free economic relations with Communist China, we, the people of the United States have been fed lies. We have been told that we will benefit economically from these ties and that the Chinese people, who live in a totalitarian dictatorship, will inevitably benefit as well. Liberalization will come with a growing Chinese economy. Not only will China be more prosperous, but it will also be freer.
None of this was ever true.
The people of the United States have not become more prosperous. A select few among us have profited massively and are rich beyond measure. For many, many others this new economic reality means part-time jobs without benefits and shopping for dinner at the Dollar Store. Since 2001, when China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), in excess of 60,000 factories have closed in the United States. More than 2.4 million manufacturing jobs have been lost.
A nation, which once shipped manufactured goods worldwide now longer makes the most basic things. You will struggle to find a surviving American manufacturer for even such iconic American items as blue jeans, baseballs, and bicycles. Not a single company manufactures televisions in the United States anymore.
Meanwhile, in China, while the laborers in sweatshops churning out iPads and smartphones may have a little more money to spend when they are allowed to travel home to see their families once a year, they have – if anything – less freedom than they did decades ago. Trade with the West has not made the Chinese Communist Party softer. It has not led to liberalization. On the contrary, it has given the Communist regime new strength and armed it with the technology to create a surveillance state the likes of which the world has never seen. From cradle to grave, Chinese citizens are monitored, cataloged and when necessary disciplined by the Party.
All of the above has been clear for many years, but now the dysfunction of our self-destructive relationship with Communist China has gone to new levels. Now the oppressive, Orwellian nightmare has reached out and touched every person in the United States via the instrument of the coronavirus.
The origins of the virus, called by many the “CCP Virus,” remain unclear. Beijing continues to push the narrative that the pandemic is a naturally occurring event and that it began in a seafood market in Wuhan. There are very strong indications that the pathogen in question escaped from the Chinese BSL-4 laboratory in Wuhan where it was being studied for unknown purposes.
What is clear beyond any question at this point, however, is that the Chinese Communist Party acted with full knowledge of the danger posed to world health to suppress news of the outbreak and even arrested Chinese medical professionals who spoke out in an attempt to warn the rest of the planet and give us all time to prepare. Estimates are that 95% of the people who will die in this pandemic could have been saved if Beijing had told the truth and sounded the alarm.
For decades the Chinese people have suffered and died because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has oppressed them and suppressed the truth. Now, all across the United States, it is our turn to suffer at the hands of Communism. Every American, locked down, out of work and wondering what the future will bring has Xi Jinping and his henchmen to thank. Every American lying in a hospital bed wondering if he or she will survive knows his life is dependent on masks, gowns, equipment and pharmaceuticals manufactured, not here, but abroad in the dystopian wasteland of modern China.
We have waited for our leaders to act. We have signaled our displeasure and talked increasingly openly about the need to “decouple” from China and bring manufacturing home. We have been patient.
The time for patience is over.
We cannot weather this pandemic only to return to business as usual and a continued economic partnership with a brutal, Communist dictatorship. For seventy years we demonstrated the resolve to confront the Soviet Union. We must regain that resolve and apply it to our relationship with Communist China.
The colonists in Boston Harbor in 1773 ultimately found it necessary to sever a political relationship. We must now sever an economic one.
Let’s begin with this. Let’s boycott Chinese goods. Let’s stop buying products made in Communist China.
Can we do that all at once? Unlikely, given how far down the road we have gone. But, every single one of us can, today, stand up, identify an item we routinely purchase from a Chinese manufacturer and refuse to buy it anymore. We can when possible substitute an American manufacturer. We can in other cases at a minimum give our business to another company that operates in a free nation. Or perhaps, in some cases, we can simply realize that we don’t need to buy the item at all.
Individually, we can make a small impact. Collectively, over time, we can send a powerful signal, both to Beijing and to our representatives in Washington.
Time for another Tea Party. What are you throwing overboard?