03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Some Revolutions are Revolting

And so it came to pass that the far-right wing of the Republican Party (AKA, the Republican Party) came forth unto the land with teabags in hand and proudly proclaimed themselves mighty Revolutionists, leading the way towards a mighty revolution.

As it happens, they have confused "revolution" with "whining because they lost an election."

Hey, anyone can make that mistake. Presuming, that is, that you are a sore loser, selfish, have no concept of history, and believe that you can create your own reality.

And, yes, you also don't mind waving around teabags without embarrassment as symbols of your revolution, then it's understandable you'd think yourself a force of Revolution.

Of course, this is where that pesky lack of understanding history kicks in. Because, in reality, being pissed off because you lost an election doesn't make one a Revolutionist. It just makes you pouty.

To know what an actual revolution is, it's best to look at...well, an actual revolution. Take, for example, the French Revolution of 1789. We have a good sense that this was a real revolution because they got the word "Revolution" in the title. So, we can see an actual revolution at work and compare it to teabags.

Here's what Will and Ariel Durant write in their renowned 11-volume Story of Civilization, for "The Age of Napoleon." Following the upheaval of the government, as the Terror spread through France leaving a path of death and fear in its wake, the all-powerful Committee of Public Safety was created by the national Convention to create a new direction for the country.

"Under that tutelage, and instructed by its other committees, the Convention passed laws against hoarders and speculators, proclaimed free, universal primary education, abolished slavery in the French colonies, and established a welfare state with social security, unemployment benefits, medical aid for the poor, and relief for the old."

That's revolution.


Waving signs that call the president rude names and yelling at disabled people describing the need for medical care sort of pales in revolutionary comparison, don't you think?

Just imagine. France had an actual revolution 220 years ago, and overthrew an entire system of government, deposed a king, killed a royal line, had rampant terror throughout the state, all in order to create social security, unemployment, medical care for the poor, and relief for the old.

And today's Republican "Revolutionists" want to protect insurance companies.

As it happens, they have confused "Revolutionists" with " hapless pawns."

At the heart of these right wing "Revolutionists" is that they think their taxes are too high. It is their soul, their fervor.

Of course, since the beginning of recorded time, everybody who has ever lived thinks their taxes are too high, with the exception of 37 people but their names are lost to history.

Thinking your taxes are too high is not the definition of a Revolutionist. It's the definition of being a sentient, breathing human being. Some people, though, grumble and understand it's the price of a strong society, other people wave teabags.

As much as far-right Republicans like to think they're invoking the American Revolution by promoting Lipton, they're ignoring reality and history - again. The rallying cry of American Revolutionists was "No Taxation Without Representation." Not "No taxation." The actual American Revolutionists were fine with taxes; they just wanted a representative voice.

This base of the Republican Party thinks that it's revolutionary to call for "a return to the way things were." As it happens, they have confused "revolution" for "retreat."

To those needing a translation, "A return to the way things were" has nothing to do with values. It means - "Going back to when we won elections and were in charge."

In fairness, to some right-wing Republicans it also means going back to gas street lamps and when baseball players were all white.

Revolution? Republican revolution?

There is a ludicrous, Alice-in-Wonderland whimsy that the GOP - the party that fought against Social Security, Medicare, child labor laws, the 40-hour work week, the FDIC, the TVA (that brought electricity to rural America), and now national healthcare - is "Revolutionist." The concept of being an actual Revolutionist is abhorrent to the Republican Party, the very opposite of its core belief, protecting what they perceive as good and safe from the past.

Revolution? If you really want a revolution - really want one - Republicans should do themselves a favor and grasp history and understand revolution. But then, if that's what they want, then perhaps "a welfare state with social security, unemployment benefits, medical aid for the poor, and relief for the old" is just around the corner. Godspeed.

Republican revolution. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.