Here’s a revelation: that melody, my favorite of the Easter hymns, is the work of Sir Arthur Sullivan. Yes, that Sullivan.
1. Oh, no! Not the National Review too! We are indeed surrounded by idiots…in this story about how Hispanic activists are pushing to keep former President Barack Obama’s name off a school building in Waukegan, Illinois because, you see, he enforced the law by deporting illegal immigrants—can’t have THAT!—the National Review writes, “The Waukegan Board of Education looks to rename two of its schools, Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Daniel Webster Middle School. The board formed renaming committees for the schools named after Jefferson, who owned slaves, and Webster, who supported slavery.”
This is how the American public gets stupid. Of course it’s beyond idiotic not to name a school after the man whose vision of a new nation and whose brilliant mission statement made our existence possible, not to mention the fact that his words planted the seeds that resulted in slavery’s eventual end in North America. Letting that pass for the nonce, however, Daniel Webster, the New England lawyer, U.S. Senator and member of multiple cabinets in the 19th Century did not “support slavery,” and saying he did is historical libel.
To the contrary, Webster was a lifetime opponent of slavery. In an 1837 speech he called slavery a “great moral, social, and political evil,” adding that he would vote against “any thing that shall extend the slavery of the African race on this continent, or add other slaveholding states to the Union.”
Webster, however, also did not want to see a civil war, or to have the Southern states leave the union over the slavery question. His most famous quote, “Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable!” expressed his priorities. Webster was one of many patriots and brilliant figures of the time desperately seeking a way to keep the nation together while slavery was stressing its bonds. He supported several compromises to that end, including the much-criticized Compromise of 1850, which included the reviled Fugitive Slave Act. Those who condemn Webster now for his best efforts to avert war and mass secession are engaging in the worst kind of hindsight bias. What would be their brilliant solution to the situation faced by Senators in the 30 years before the Civil War?
My analysis has always been that Webster, Henry Clay and others successfully delayed the inevitable schism over slavery until, by good fortune or, as Abe liked to say, “providence,” got a President in office who had the guts and the skill to deal with the dilemma boldly and successfully. If the South had seceded under any of the Presidents after Jackson and before Lincoln, we would have two Americas on this continent today—or maybe just one, enslaved by Nazi Germany.
Daniel Webster did NOT “support slavery.” Show some damn respect.
2. Remembering one of those chance shifts that changed everything, probably for the worse...On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He was on his way to dinner when a bullet severed his spinal cord. King was pronounced dead upon arrival at a Memphis hospital. He was 39 years old.
3. More on the “Asian hate” media hype, a dubious and contrived narrative if there ever was one. Here is how the New York Times began a report yesterday:
Over the last year, in an unrelenting series of episodes with clear racial animus, people of Asian descent have been pushed, beaten, kicked, spit on and called slurs. Homes and businesses have been vandalized. The violence has known no boundaries, spanning generations, income brackets and regions. The New York Times attempted to capture a sense of the rising tide of anti-Asian bias nationwide.
Unrelenting! Racial animus! No boundaries! Spanning generations! Rising tide!
Here’s the next sentence: “Using media reports from across the country, The Times found more than ____ episodes since March 2020 in which there was clear evidence of race-based hate.
Guess the number. 100,000? 10,000. No, the missing number is…110. One hundred and ten.
In 12 months. That’s less than ten a month, nationwide. WOW!
How could the Times publish that without feeling ridiculous?
Meanwhile, CBS News recently ran a report titled “Asian Americans Battling Bias: Continuing Crisis” in which it stated, “Nearly 4000 crimes against Asian-Americans have been reported since the start of the pandemic, an increase of about 150 percent in major U.S. cities.” Then it showed videos of former President Trump calling coronavirus the “Kung Flu.”
CBS wasn’t using the Times figures. In order to inflate the numbers, ratchet up hysteria and attack Trump, it used numbers from Stop AAPI Hate, led by Arizona State University Professor Aggie Yellow Horse and San Francisco State University Professor Russell Jeung, an “incident” tracker launched in March 2020, the same month the Times figures dated from. The “tracker” counted anonymously reported incidents, which of course could not be checked or verified. The latest report showed nearly 4,000 of them, most consisting of “verbal harassment” and “shunning.”
Those are not “hate crimes.”