On the night of April 18, 1775, Pelatiah Everett, a saddler and harness maker in a town near Boston, received word through the Minuteman network put in motion by Paul Revere, that the British were marching on Concord, to arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams in Lexington and capture the colonists' military stores in Concord. A Minuteman, he got on his horse and galloped towards Lexington.
He arrived in Lexington after midnight, with no British in sight, and retired to Buckman's Tavern, just off the Lexington Green, to ward off the April cold and await the British soldiers. Firebrand patriot Samuel Adams was there, drinking a pint and firing up the men, a combination of Minutemen from surrounding communities and local militiamen from Lexington. Captain Parker's Lexington militia had gathered on the Green shortly after Paul Revere had alerted them to the British march shortly before midnight, and then galloped on to Concord. When the British did not appear, some of the militia drifted back to their homes; others went to the tavern.
Minutemen were Colonial America's Navy SEALS, young fighters trained in firing their long rifles and muskets, not from suicide lines of troops facing each other, but from behind trees and walls. Pelatiah Everett was selected to be a Minuteman, and joined in the drinking and incendiary comments inspired by Samuel Adams, awaiting the British to arrive.
When the British did arrive about 5 a.m., as dawn was breaking, the militiamen poured out of their homes armed with their muskets, and the Minutemen exited Buckman's Tavern and took positions behind the trees and stone walls bordering the Green. The militia lined up on the Green, faced a hundred feet of so away by a line of trained British regulars, in their redcoats with a white X crossing their chest. They were the most feared fighting force in the world, and they knew it.
At first there was silence, as the lines of troops faced each other. The British officer in charge, Major Pitcairn, then shouted a warning: "Lay down your arms, you damned rebels!", and some militiamen turned their backs and began to leave. Suddenly, a SHOT rang out, from somewhere, and the British let loose a fusillade at the American colonists, killing eight and wounding ten.
The American Revolutionary War started at that instant, and lasted for the next eight years.
My great-great-great-great grandfather, Pelatiah Everett, may very well have fired that first shot. No one knows, but it was The Shot Heard Round the World. I am sure he killed some British soldiers that day.
Pelatiah Everett served his new country for the entire Revolutionary War, until he was mustered out as a First Lieutenant in November, 1783, retiring to his home, The Pond House, in Westminster, Massachusetts, to live out his life telling war stories. During the War, he had dinner with General George Washington at least once, and was an Original Member of the Society of the Cincinnati, formed by Washington in 1783 (I am his Successor Member of this Society). Pelatiah told of his military service in the War in his own handwriting in his application for a pension filed with the U.S. government in 1817. I have visited his gravestone in the Westminster cemetery.
The Second Shot Heard Round the World
Pelatiah, talking to me through the ages, has asked me not to let what he fought for to fade away; the ascension to the Presidency in January of Donald Trump could very well end the experiment in democracy that he started 240 years ago. Trump is a terrible human being, in no way a role model for the children of this country and the world. Worse still, he is an unstable egomaniac, with no experience in politics and government to shape what he would do as President. He could kill us all, by blundering into a worldwide nuclear war.
By his continued nasty tweets and cabinet nominees since the election, Trump has shown that the right wing sexist bully that he was during the campaign will continue once he is in office.
There was some sentiment that "Trump has been elected; give him a chance to show what he will be like as President". However, by his continued nasty tweets and cabinet nominees since the election, Trump has shown that the right wing sexist bully that he was during the campaign will continue once he is in office. Some action must be taken to prevent this monster from becoming President, for the sake of our children and grandchildren and the world.
The simplest choice would be for President Obama to issue an Executive Order delaying the meeting of the Presidential Electors until the intelligence agencies' review of the active Russian interference in our Presidential election which he has ordered is complete. Amendment XII to the Constitution provides that "The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice President…" Article II provides that "The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their votes…" Congress set Monday, December 19, 2016 as that date; can the President change that date? Based on what he said in his Friday afternoon press conference, he is "not going to wade into that issue".
Of course, there always is a remote chance that the 306 Republican Electors, when they meet in their state capitols, will not choose Donald Trump to be President. However, most of them are party hacks who two years ago hated Putin as an enemy of the United States (the Republican doctrine then), but now are following Trump's lead and love Putin, whom Senator John McCain calls "a butcher and a murderer", unconditionally, even though we all know that Putin is supporting if not directing the slaughter of innocent Syrians in Aleppo.
The only Constitutional requirement to be an Elector is that "no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector". At least one Republican Elector, in Texas, has publicly stated that he will not vote for Trump, and there are rumors circulating that at least 20 more Electors are leaning that way. However, at least 37 Electors in the states that voted for Trump must decide not to vote for him for him not to be elected. But that would throw the race into the Republican-controlled House of Representatives (to decide who will be President among the top three vote getters) and the Senate (to decide who will be Vice President among the top two vote getters).
That is, the top three Electoral vote getters, not the top three popular vote getters, would be in the runoff. So if on Monday, Mike Pence gets a number of Electoral votes for President, enough so that no candidate gets 270 electoral votes, the House would vote amongst Trump, Clinton and Pence for President, each state having one vote. Let's say Pence gets 40 of Trump's Electoral votes, and Bernie Sanders gets 50 of Clinton's Electoral votes, Trump, Clinton and Sanders would be in a runoff in the House for President.
Kaine and Pence would be in a Senate runoff for Vice President, unless someone else got more electoral votes than one of them. There is no requirement that an Elector vote for someone who won the most votes in their state for President or Vice President, although in some states there could be minor criminal or civil fines or penalties. The Elector could even vote for Mickey Mouse for President or Vice President if he or she wants. Mickey, in fact, might do a less harmful job than Trump.
So I am firing the Second Shot Heard Round the World, not with a gun but with my pen. Do not elect this despot to be our President; he is unworthy of it and may just kill us all. At the very least, he will embarrass us around the world. America will never be the same; there is no going back after a Trump Presidency. Dump Trump…
Edward Everett (Ted) Vaill