The legally-permitted “Unite the Right” rally scheduled for yesterday – Saturday, August 12th, 2017 – to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee by the City Council (part of the ongoing purge of Southern and Confederate iconography, and in fact much other historic iconography as well), and in the process to serve as a rallying cry for conservatives and others on the rightward side of the social and political spectrum to come together against the mass of cultural Marxists and social-justice warriors arrayed against anything and everything conservative, traditional, or classic in our present-day culture, didn’t take long to go awry.
What was intended to be a peaceful rally turned violent when radical Left-wing groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter showed up and began showering the rally attendees with expletives, punches, pepper spray, and water balloons filled with urine, feces, paint, and other noxious substances. Unsurprisingly, some of those so attacked fought back. But did the local and national news media broadcast stories about a peaceful, permitted rally being attacked by extremists? Nope. Instead, all the news media could do was accuse those present at the rally of being right-wing racists, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists.
A picture has surfaced of the New York City skyline back in 1956, which shows three buildings decorated with window crosses for Easter. Featured in a newspaper article, [the photograph] shows the buildings lit up with huge crosses.
The article accompanying the picture (warning: extremely add-heavy and slow-loading page) comments,
“Things were a lot different 60 years ago. For one, public displays of Christianity were something that, regardless of your political affiliation, could be appreciated and admired by all. This is not the case anymore…
“Whoever took this photo probably would never have guessed that over 60 years later, this country would have morphed into a society that would erase any display of Christian faith from the public square under the guise of tolerance, multiculturalism, and secularism.
“Even our holidays, which have been a tradition in this country for generations, are under threat. No longer is it appropriate to say ‘Merry Christmas.’ We are supposed to say ‘Happy Holidays’ to be respectful of other spiritual faiths. Of course, this is less about being multicultural and more about being anti-Christian and anti-tradition.
“This picture shows a world that makes progressive-secularists furious. It was a world where free speech actually included freedom for Christians to express their faith, without fear of censorship, mockery, or even lawsuits being leveled against them.”
As Archie Bunker would have said, “those were the days!”
Somewhat surprised to see this, coming from the Boston Globe! But as my dear father used to say, “even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” Of course, the author, Stephen Kinzer, has to take a few digs at the Trump administration. But in general, I think he is pretty squarely on:
“Russia does not threaten any vital American interest. Its policies in Syria and the rest of the Middle East are in line with America’s stated desire to crush militant fanatics. Its wariness of China matches our own. As for charges that Russia intervened in an American election, they are serious and deserve investigation — but hardly the basis for howls of anger from a country that is the world champion in manipulating foreign elections.”
Touché! Kinzer goes on to point out,
“The Russia ‘scandal,’ as we are being told to consider it, plays perfectly into the hands of Washington power. It is the ideal distraction. Republicans love it because as long as it dominates the news, there is less space for coverage of stories like the effect of new immigration policies or the rollback of environmental regulations. Democrats are just as happy, for another reason. Embracing the fantasy that Russian interference cost them the 2016 election allows them to avoid facing the reality that their defeat was really the result of presenting a widely loathed candidate and a set of policies far distant from the concerns of ordinary voters…
“Our interests are to lure Russia away from a possible strategic partnership with China; establish a security architecture in Europe that protects both NATO countries and Russia; and work with Russia to stabilize the Middle East. When emotion and prejudice are put aside, Russia is revealed as a potential partner of ours, not an enemy. In the present political climate, however, making that argument is almost suicidal. Washington’s mighty megaphone has told us that Russia is our greatest global foe. By treating it that way, we create an enemy where none exists.”
Who is surprised by this, I wonder…? “Liberal,” used as a political descriptor in the present day, is worse than meaningless, it is positively false and misleading. And it’s not just about Trump! Far from it. He is a bellwether, but the issue goes much deeper than that. Much deeper!
President John F. Kennedy gave this speech almost 55 years ago. It was a stirring example of American resolve, and of the American exploratory spirit. Now, more than a half-century later, we are dependent upon the Russians to get an American astronaut to the International Space Station.
Somehow, I think President Kennedy would be appalled.
“Our Republican Congress can’t pass a healthcare bill…but they can work with Democrats to sanction the country who shuttles our astronauts at $85 million a pop to and from the Russian space station. There’s no explanation for this.”
On this day in 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a law making “In God We Trust” the national motto. His action came just two years after he signed a law adding “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.
“As he signed the 1954 law, [President Eisenhower] explained the importance of such actions: ‘[W]e are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war.’
“Eisenhower made an even stronger statement a year later. In 1955, he observed: ‘Without God, there could be no American form of Government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first — the most basic — expression of Americanism. Thus the Founding Fathers saw it, and thus, with God’s help, it will continue to be.'”
I am reminded of John Adams’ quote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” O, how the mighty have fallen! As Tara so accurately puts it in the essay linked above,
“In this country, of course, no one is forced into any particular religion. We are free to be religious — or we are free *not* to be religious. However, an honest assessment of our history shows that much of our founding was steeped in religious roots. And our national motto reflects that fact.”