Friday, January 14, 2011

Our Peaceful Though Blustery Republic

What amazes me is that, for all our rugged, gun slinging, individualism, and despite the deep political divide of the last quarter century that is only getting deeper, we have had no political violence, to say nothing of assassination attempts. Things got pretty heated while George W. Bush was president.

Bin's Corner, a comedy sharing site, documents the violent rhetoric and gestures directed against the hanging chad, 9/11 president in "Death Threats Against Bush at Protests Ignored for Years". This site includes a link to the mockumentary, "Death of a President" in which the film simulates George Bush's assassination with sickening realism. He also includes an image from The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn in which the comedian had superimposed the words "snipers wanted" over George W. Bush's nomination acceptance speech in August 2000. Even Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) himself let slip the lingua Democratica of political assassination on the Bill Maher show in 2006.

By contrast, in the 1960s we had several actual assassinations and attempts: President Kennedy, his brother Bobby, Martin Luther King Jr, and then spilling over into the 1970s, attempts on Gov. George Wallace and President Ford...twice!

Notice that the violence of that decade was not a spill over from the Vietnam conflict. We've had wars before and since without domestic spillover. It was the political left, in particular the New Left, that brought violence to the streets and anger to the culture. So Sara Jane Moore, a radical child of their revolutionary counter-cultural movement, explained her attempt on President Ford's life, saying, "I'm not sorry I tried, because at the time it seemed a correct expression of my anger."

Since that time, assassination has not struck any of the most politically angry as the correct expression of their anger. Reagan's would be assassin, John Hinckley, was trying to impress actress Jodie Foster. He was crazy. No one took a shot at Bush the elder, at Clinton, or at W (though an Iraqi threw a shoe at him overseas). Obama has been perfectly safe.

You would not know this given the frantic alarm over "the rhetoric of violence and hate" that has been spewing from the now largely embarrassed left (or at least largely silenced, except for Paul Krugman) since the Tuscon shootings.

My column at this week addressed that. ("The Rhetoric of Violence and Hate," Jan. 12, 2011)

Some revealing ironies came out if the "national conversation," so to speak. But Andrew Klavan at City Journal, ("The Hateful Left") writes, "The Left—which has been unable to discover any common feature uniting acts of Islamist violence worldwide—nonetheless instantly noticed a bridge between the Tucson shooting and its own political opponents."

In a similar vein, "Sawgunner" in one of his comments under my column remarks, "In years past H’wood types and their lib allies repeatedly re-assured us that graphic music videos, violent video games, misogynistic song lyrics IN NO WAY SHAPE FORM OR FASHION could ever influence anyone’s thoughts or conduct.But conservative talk radio?"

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