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|Sanity lives here
By Daniel M. Ryan
As of the time of this writing, I’m glad to relay the good news that Rep. Steve Scalise is conscious, been talking to his family, and has had his condition upgraded to “serious” from “critical.” Since he was the worst wounded of the four that were shot by now-dead nutbar James Hodgkinson, it’s not too early to breathe a sigh of relief. The latest prognosis, as of the time of this writing, is for Rep. Scalise to “not only... walk again but ‘hopefully run’ some time after he is released from the hospital [in several weeks]”.
Thankfully, political figures across the board were shocked by what happened. After finding out that Hodgkinson had been a supporter of his, Sen. Sanders issued a strong denunciation that was clearly not boilerplate.
Scalise and the other three were at the baseball field practising for the then-upcoming Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in Washington. In defiance of Hodgkinson’s horrid crime, the game went ahead as scheduled last Thursday night. A write-up in the Los Angeles Times described the bipartisan unity at the event. Signs showing support for Rep. Scalise were all over the place, and even the on-field trash talk was muted. The Dem team won handily, and asked that the trophy be displayed in Rep. Scalise’ office until he gets well enough to return.
The professional political class did themselves credit last week. There’s been a lot of complaints about over-partisanship, but there was hardly any partisan hustles as a result of Hodgkinson’s crime. Yes: there were some gun grabbers who opportunistically brayed away for more gun control, but they were few and their voices quickly faded. The bulk of the Dems did show that they know when it’s time to put away the partisanship. There’ve also been lots of complaints about the “Uniparty,” but the unity at the game is the kind of Uni we need to see. Certainly, the pols were at one with the bulk of the nation.
It’s that unity of shock and defiance which reassures us that Hodgkinson was no more than a nut-boy. Although his foiled shooting was political in a way, as evinced by the fact that he asked if the players were Republican before he pulled out his gun and the fact that he had a list in his own handwriting of names of Freedom-Caucus members, his cold-blooded actions are far enough away from the political mainstream to rightly peg him as a nutter. It may not seem this way, but things were worse in 1969. As explained by David Horowitz:
In 1969, Ayers and his wife convened a "War Council" in Flint Michigan, whose purpose was to launch a military front inside the United States with the purpose of helping Third World revolutionaries conquer and destroy it. Taking charge of the podium, dressed in a high-heeled boots and a leather mini-skirt – her signature uniform – Dorhn incited the assembled radicals to join the war against "Amerikkka" and create chaos and destruction in the "belly of the beast." Her voice rising to a fevered pitch, Dohrn raised three fingers in a "fork salute" to mass murderer Charles Manson whom she proposed as a symbol to her troops. Referring to the helpless victims of the Manson Family as the "Tate Eight" (the most famous was actress Sharon Tate) Dohrn shouted:
Lest anyone think that the Weathermen were fringey, they did get mainstream press at the close of the 1960s. Their parent group, Students for a Democratic Society, got a lot more press and a lot of respect. So much so, Robert A. Heinlein imagined that they would become one of the two mainline parties in the future world of his I Will Fear No Evil (1970). As bad as last week and this year have been, 1968 and 1969 were clearly worse.
That’s important to keep in mind, prone as we are to seeing the gloomy side of today’s America. It is true that Cultural Marxism plus Tammany-Hall-type “victim studies” hustles have induced lefties to act aggressively, not only in politically-correct universities but also in street demonstrations turned violent. But, the aggressiveness out there now is lesser than the aggressiveness on parade in the late ‘60s. There have been ghetto riots, but they’ve been less in extent and less damaging than the 1992 Los Angeles riot – let alone the big riots of the mid-late 1960s.
More importantly, the hug-a-thug habit that was the Cold War liberals’ Achilles heel is all-but gone. I cannot count the number of apologias for left-wing violence that were floating out from the liberal part of town in the mid-late ‘60s. Compared to the totality of them, “space to destroy” is pretty thin.
Also, the rioters who have been caught by the cops are being indicted - including the notorious bike-lock prof. Believe it or not, it was actually controversial to haul in politicized rioters back in the ‘60s. Back then, campus police – now standard – was deemed by the professoriate to be beyond the pale. But nowadays, the law can do its work with little resistance.
Politicized violence like that of James Hodgkinson acts like an ice-bucket sobriety device. It allows us to see that the oft-spread fears of a new Civil War or all-out insurrection are farther away than we think. More decisively, the post-shooting unity we saw in Washington shows that the pols – even leftish Dems – sometimes know when to draw the line. They continue to harass Donald Trump with specious charges and hollow threats of impeachment, but none of them show any temptation to excuse political violence. The late 1960s were different, and worse.
Nowadays, it’s not just Rep. Scalise who’s getting better. Compared to approximately fifty years ago, so is America.
Daniel M. Ryan, as Nxtblg, is shepherding the independently-run Open Audi Initiative Prediction Market Shadowing Project. He has stubbornly assumed all the responsibility and blame for the workings and outcome of the project.