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Washington's Response to the Whiskey RebellionPhoto courtesy of

An analogy can be made between the farmers of Western Pennsylvania who rebelled against the Federal Government under President George Washington, and today’s health care executives and medical practitioners who continue to oppose the public option in this years Health Care Bill.

In both cases you have a small group of individuals opposing what is best for the country.

In what could have split the new nation apart, General Washington personally led a militia of almost thirteen thousand (equal to the size of armies fighting battles of the Revolutionary War), into Western Pennsylvania to suppress the rebellion.

The result forever established the supremacy of Federal Power over local and state interests.

At issue was the complaint from a minority that certain Federal policies would impinge unfairly upon this select group of individuals. Today that would be our health care providers.

But the whiskey taxes that were levied, were a necessary means voted on by a majority of delegates, to pay off the Federal Debt that accumulated from the Revolutionary War.

For the benefit of everyone in this newly formed country, the debt had to be paid.. Unfortunately it fell unfairly on Western farmers.

Today the public option benefits everyone in this newly reformed country. We have learned as did our ancestors and founding fathers, that a weak Federal government aligned like under the Articles of Confederation, can not effectively govern… Nothing can be fair for everyone, and choices have to be made. Once done so, they need to be enforced…

We cannot lower health care costs for America’s businesses and individuals unless some type of competition becomes available to apply downward pressure to insurance and medical costs… The public option unfairly impinges on the wealthy executives of those two industries, just as the whiskey tax impinged on Western farmers. But the precedent of our first president, shows what needs to be done. Forceful action.

We need to take the fight … to them… not for political reasons… but to save the nation… No doubt, as America wakes up to the full implications of not having the public option, those wealthy perpetrators of this rebellion against better health care, will like their predecessors of the Whiskey Rebellion, go into hiding… After considerable effort was expended to round up the insurgents, only two were tried and sentenced to be hung. Eventually both were pardoned by President Washington because “one was simpleton, and the other insane. ”

One must be insane to go up against what is best for the American people…. This lesson of the past, should egg us onward that real change comes through contention, and that backing down against a minority who want their own self interests put above America’s welfare, is simply plainly un- American…

As an aside, a small benefit came about because of this rebellion… The suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion also had the unintended consequences of encouraging small whiskey producers in Kentucky and Tennessee, which remained outside the sphere of Federal control for many more years. In these frontier areas, they also found good corn-growing country as well as limestone-filtered water and therefore began making whiskey from corn; this corn whiskey developed into Bourbon.

Thank heavens for unintended consequences.