Most of us are probably familiar with the slogan, “Don’t tread on me,” usually written on a flag displaying an angry rattlesnake coiled with mouth wide open and fangs extended, clearly warning trespassers it was ready to strike, so back off or suffer the consequences. The symbol was created in 1775 during our Revolutionary War era.

Although many colonists remained loyal to the mother country, dissatisfaction with England’s burdensome regulations and taxes were reasons enough for a majority to desire independence from foreign rule. Taxation without representation was one rallying cry. The 13 colonies approved a declaration of independence on July 4, 1776. The declaration led to our revolutionary war, a bloody conflict that lasted for years. Following the war’s conclusion, representatives went to work and appointed 70 knowledgeable men (only men were chosen at that time) to create a draft of a constitution; 39 of the 70 attended regularly. The group was comprised of both liberals and conservatives, guaranteeing many heated discussions, alterations and compromises over a timespan of several years. They finally created a tentative constitution after debating it from May to September, 1787; the document required a two-thirds “aye vote” to adopt our constitution, meaning 9 of the 13 state legislatures had to approve the document. That requirement was met on June 21, 1788. The other four states signed within a few years. While some amendments were added over the years, the architects of our constitution created a document that has brilliantly stood the test of time.

Today, a large number of citizens are rebelling against rules they claim are taking away their rights, especially regulations requiring Covid injections, aka “Don’t tread on me” or my rights. Some even say the rules are socialistic or even communistic. Russia is no longer a communist country, but it and many others including China and North Korea are totalitarian, arresting, torturing, imprisoning and even murdering some dissenters. Our country does not remotely approach such cruel and extreme measures. Vaccination requirements are not only legal under our constitution, as determined by several courts, but “old as the hills.” We have been receiving shots since we were kids to protect us against a variety of ailments, and almost always without protests. The shots have proven to be safe and effective, with extremely few exceptions. What has happened to create such hatred? Partisan infighting is the only logical reason; compromise seems to be a dirty word. President Biden has issued a mandatory vaccination order for businesses employing 100 or more employees; requiring vaccination or regular testing is a logical and reasonable requirement required by many governmental agencies and businesses. And a fair number do require vaccinations, giving employees who refuse just one choice: quit. A considerable number are doing that. Those who believe their rights are being trampled on should consider the rights of the (apparent) majority of citizens who believe COVID-19 is dangerous and vaccinations are necessary. They should have a right to believe their coworkers are reasonably safe to work with.

Progressive politicians usually favor what they believe are sensible Covid precautions, while conservatives do not. Most lawmakers echo the beliefs of their constituents, always aware of the next election when they could lose their usually comfortable lifestyle. Accordingly, hypocrisy is not rare in either party. For just one example, our local newspaper, the Calaveras Enterprise, published a column in its Oct. 7 edition written by Tom McClintock, our congressional representative.

Its title is “Who Pays for the Woke?” He praises the Trump administration’s “one of the biggest tax cuts in American history and the greatest regulatory relief ever, resulting in the biggest economic expansion in our lifetimes.” Some (most?) of his claims are questionable, but there can be no doubt Trump’s tax cuts were responsible for what almost surely is one of the largest U.S. deficits (7 trillion dollars) in any president’s four year term. Our economy was doing OK prior to Trump and the Republicans’ reckless tax cuts. Recently, totally ignoring his party’s dismal financial record, U.S. Senator McConnell (GOP) criticized the Democratic Party’s reckless spending plan. Unfortunately, Democrats have been playing the same game for years. Our country has been running deficits for many years, but the time will surely come when the piper must be paid. We citizens love tax cuts but despise tax increases; accordingly our politicians do not have the courage to “bite the bullet.” We desperately need politicians who will risk losing an election by voting for a plan to (eventually) eliminate deficit spending when our economy is doing OK. “Priming the pump” is necessary during recessions but must be avoided at other times. If the time comes when the current year’s income is necessary to pay last year’s interest on the deficit, will we wake up?

Ted Shannon is a resident of Mokelumne Hill and a retired CHP officer. He can be contacted at tsuj12@


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