Viva la revolución

Battle of Waterloo by William Sadler
The Battle of Waterloo by artist William Sadler
Viva la revolución!

In various languages and cultures, that has been the battle cry over the ages.

Revolutions don’t take place when the populace is well fed, well cared-for, and content. They take place when people feel disenfranchised, shut-out, discontent.

The political season of 2016 may well go down in history books, but lest you think it was unique, review your history tomes.

In the beginning, the central point of American Revolution wasn’t about freedom. Sorry. The British government levied large taxes on the American colonies to help pay for the war debt from the French and Indian wars. The colonists resisted paying the new taxes, via the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act. These acts of “taxation without representation” brought discontent, and the desire to break the shackles of British taxation gave rise to an overthrow of the ruling government.

The Napoleonic wars were caused by a continuation of the French Revolution, the bankruptcy of France as a nation under the monarchy, and the overthrow of the French aristocracy and royal family.

The War of 1812 was a series of economic sanctions taken by the British and French against the US as part of the Napoleonic Wars and American outrage at the British practice of forced recruitment.

The Civil War – if you think the political season of 2016 was horrific, imagine what it was like to go through the lead-up to the Civil War. Political ideals split families like a meat cleaver. The core issue leading up to the Civil War was, again, economics. Would the South be free to pick up their marbles and retreat to their own turf, and operate financially (with big, financially booming cotton plantations) as an independent country? Or would they be overruled, and forced into compliance? Yes, slavery was a central issue, and it boiled down to a financial issue for the south. The loss of slaves was considered a loss of property and investment. So easy to hide a moral issue behind the banner of the dollar sign!

If you look at virtually every war, the central issue revolves around money, and power. The moral and emotional issues become rallying cries to recruit loyalty from the masses. But make no mistake – nations go to battle in a quest for money. And power.

Revolution takes place when the status quo becomes complacent, and willfully ignorant, of the comfort of the masses. It would be lovely to imagine that world leaders would wake up one morning and think, “I believe I shall make a positive change in the world to benefit all people.”

If you depend on world leaders to think along those lines, you may be disappointed.

We can’t control what world leaders – or any other people – think or do. But we can control what WE think and do. Start a revolution in your own life. Make your time count. Identify a positive change and jump into action.

Viva la revolución!