What Happens When You Rebel?

I’ve been watching “America: The Story of Us” on the History Channel.  Whenever I watch a documentary or read about America’s Founding Fathers, I reflect on what was at stake at the time. I don’t know how many Americans consider the magnitude of the danger involved in this major act of rebellion. Every single signer of the Declaration of Independence committed an act of high treason. If caught, they’d be hung or shot on sight.

Many sacrifices were made on our behalf, yet we don’t often think about the gory details as they’re too unpleasant and seems as if it were so long ago.

Yes, George Washington was a rebel. No, this post isn’t about taxation without representation or the Continental Congress. Instead, it’s about what happens when you go against convention and tradition to make your own life.

The birth of America is one of the most famous acts of rebellion in the history of the world, and I like to use it to illustrate how it pays to buck tradition and think for ourselves.

Let’s explore what happens when we rebel:

  • Sometimes we break laws. This isn’t recommended but it’s worth noting that sometimes enough people have to break laws to show how ridiculous or how unfair they are. For example, in my home state of New Jersey it’s against the law to pump your own gas. There’s really no good reason for this and as a result many New Jersey residents have no idea how to fill our tanks once we drive over the border into New York, Delaware or Pennsylvania. It’s a dumb law. If enough people are arrested for filling their own tanks, it would probably change. Again, I’m not recommending we all break the law, just saying that sometimes if a law is broken enough, it proves how dumb it is to begin with.
  • Sometimes we create something unique: When writers, actors, and artists go against the grain and break away from tradition, people talk. We marvel. We comment. We may not like what we see, but we take notice. We get ideas. We become inspired. Is it better to stimulate a discussion or keep quiet so as not to make waves? I’m guessing the former.
  • Sometimes our voices are heard: As writers, we have power. We can bring light to issues and events. We can expose tyrants and scammers. We raise money and awareness and change the world with our words, but only if we’re not afraid to be the first. What would have happened if Woodward and Bernstein didn’t expose a Presidential Scandal?

Rebelling is resisting without bullying and disagreeing without insulting. It’s not being afraid to follow your own definition of success. Rebelling is important and necessary sometimes, in order for people to see things that are a little unpleasant.

No one is saying you have to break any laws, but try rebelling sometime…you may just change the world.

When was your last act of rebellion?


9 responses
  1. Phil Avatar

    Becoming a White Sox fan (token rebellion against my father, a Cubs fan).

  2. Robin Avatar

    Nooooo. I love having the gas pumped for me. It’s one of the best things about New Jersey.
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..What do young adults care about? =-.

  3. Mehboob Sultana Avatar
    Mehboob Sultana

    Hi Debbie,

    Not to nitpick, but shouldn’t the last phrase at the end of the first paragraph read as “shot on sight” and not “site” as mentioned?

    BTW, I’m a regular reader of the FWJ blog and enjoy reading your posts, but have seen a few ‘typos’ before and thought I would be helpful and point them out 🙂


  4. Bobbi C Avatar
    Bobbi C

    I, too, caught “America: The Story of Us” and it was quite riveting and inspiring. Writers can (and should) be at the forefront of rebellions. Thanks for this article!

  5. Dawn Avatar

    My husband makes fun of New Jersey for the pumping gas thing ALL the time! But what’s even scarier about NJ driving laws is how you’re not allowed to make left turns. 🙂

    Just get a whole bunch of NYers to cross the border and rebel by pumping gas. Actually, I LIKE it because even though it’s a dumb law, it means they can’t charge you more for full-service, like they do everywhere else. And trust me, pumping gas (especially in the rain) is NOT all it’s cracked up to be. 😀

  6. AprilMay Avatar

    I love not having to pump my own gas too! I live in Oregon, which has the same law. The law is there because it protects thousands of gas-pumper jobs. Simple as that!

  7. AprilMay Avatar

    Oops I meant gas-pumping! I am having writing issues too tonight, Deb!
    .-= AprilMay´s last blog ..Happy Birthday Tristan! =-.

  8. poch Avatar

    I understand. I have mastered rebellion because of persecution and the
    stupidity of others. I’ve stood before military tanks in protests.
    Sometimes we’re forced to rebel just to keep our sanity.

  9. allena Avatar

    too funny. it always feels weird not to pump our own gas in mexico….didn’t know that was in NJ too. ‘course, in mexico, they have guards at the gas stations in the urban areas who carry like machine guns. very disconcerting. sorry, way off topic.
    .-= allena´s last blog ..Successful Freelance Writing Can Be Scary =-.

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