Besides the terrible pun, May the 4th has great ethical significance in U.S. history. The children of the Sixties have the date seared into their memories as the 1970 tipping point in the Vietnam war protests. Twenty-eight young and badly trained National Guardsmen fired their weapons at a group of anti-war demonstrators on the Kent State University campus. Four students were killed, eight were wounded, and one was permanently paralyzed. The tragedy didn’t make the war any more or less wrong, but it massively shifted sympathies to students, protesters, and the one-time punchline of the previous few years, hippies. Future U.S. activists learned the lesson of Kent State well: if you can goad the opposition into violence, it is a victory for the cause, just and reasonable or not. This makes no sense, of course, other than being the ideal use of the cognitive dissonance scale
But Kent State doesn’t came close to the impact of the Haymarket Square Riot in Chicago, Illinois on this date in 1886. A bomb was thrown at a squad of police attempting to break up a peaceful labor rally that was getting rowdy. The police responded to the bomb by wildly shooting into the crowd, killing more than a dozen people and injuring hundreds. The episode had wide-reaching effects in labor, law and politics, galvanizing the union movement, leading to great political courage by some politicians (like Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld, who pardoned three arrested activists who hadn’t been executed or died in 1893) and craven expediency by others.
The episode was also the major catalyst in bring a small-time lawyer named Clarence Darrow to Chicago, and inspiring him to be a labor lawyer.
1. More on Brandon Mitchell, the Chauvin juror who couldn’t keep his mouth shut. The photo of Mitchell wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt at a protest in Washington D.C. last August…
…has some legal experts…and me…wondering if the chances of the Chauvin verdict being overturned just got a whole lot better. “I’d never been to D.C.,” Mitchell humina-huminaed about his reasons for attending the event. “The opportunity to go to D.C., the opportunity to be around thousands and thousands of Black people; I just thought it was a good opportunity to be a part of something.”
Part of what, exactly, sir?
Brandon also says he doesn’t recall wearing such a shirt. That’s not encouraging regarding his honesty, is it?
Meanwhile, in the story about the latest development in the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck, the AP writes,
A photo, posted on social media, shows Brandon Mitchell, who is Black, attending the Aug. 28 event to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech during the 1963 March on Washington. Floyd’s brother and sister, Philonise and Bridgett Floyd, and relatives of others who have been shot by police addressed the crowd.
Others who have been shot by the police? Floyd was shot too? I did not know that!
2. I’d say Caitlyn Jenner, previously Olympian Bruce, is an ideal expert witness on the topic of trans women competing with biological women in athletic events, wouldn’t you? So, naturally, she’s being branded a traitor by the LBGTQ community for stating the obvious: it’s unfair to allow transitioning biological males to compete with women in sports. Charlotte Clymer, for example, a writer and LGBTQ activist, tweeted that Jenner is “dead wrong” and appealed to the authority of gay female athletes Billie Jean King and Megan Rapinoe, who really know nothing about the issue at all, except perhaps what they deny. King’s big step for equality in sports was beating a senior male tennis player, Bobby Riggs, while she was in her prime (and Riggs was hardly pro quality at that point), and Rapinoe’s women’s soccer team has been defeated soundly by teen-aged boys. “There is no evidence this is a problem anywhere,” wrote Clymer. Right:
No problem! Do you see a problem? I don’t see any problem…
3. On booing Mitt Romney. The 2012 GOP nominee for President and current Utah Senator was drowned out by boos at the state’s Republican Convention last week. The treatment was uncivil and wrong, but anger at Romney (and the other NeverTrumpers in the party) is well-earned. Romney, Liz Cheney, both wimp GOP Speakers before Pelosi took over, Bill Kristol, Jeff Flake, George Will and others, including the corrupt Lincoln Project members, allowed their personal dislike for Donald Trump to grease the skids for the current radical Democrats to gain power and threaten the republic in multiple ways. Senator Susan Collins’ attempted defense of Mitt was really a pretty good indictment, as she cited principles like strong national defense, limited government and individual liberty as bedrock GOP beliefs, and added, “I think all of us who abide by [Republican] principles should remember Ronald Reagan’s admonition to Republicans that the person who agrees with you 70 or 80 percent of the time is your friend, not your enemy.”
But Donald Trump, warts, scales, oozing boils and noxious pustules and all, did embrace those principles, and did agree with the NeverTrumpers at least 80% of the time. They not only shunned him, they joined forces with the enemies of all those ideals to defeat him. Romney (who has no bedrock principles) was among the worst.
4. How did the Kentucky Derby get better ratings than the Oscars (and the State of the Union Address), even with an afternoon broadcast? I detest horse racing, a beautiful but cruel sport dominated by the idle rich, but I admit that I tuned in briefly last weekend. I was curious to see what virtue-signaling the Derby would engage in to suck up to the systemic racism mob. None! I expected “My Old Kentucky Home” to have been replaced by “Imagine” or something equally nauseating. (Actually, nothing is as nauseating as “Imagine.”) Nope, they played it—a Stephen Foster song, just like “Old Black Joe,” and “De Camp Town Races,” as it is called in “Blazing Saddles.” As the camera panned the crowd and all the drunken ladies in their ridiculous hats, I desperately looked for faces that weren’t blinding white. There weren’t many (see the photo above). I did see a black jockey—and he was the only one the New York Times thought worthy of writing about. Nobody knelt during the National Anthem, which was wretchedly sung. I would have bet my house that at least the singer would have been black, and I would be living in a box now. The Derby was, as a far as I could tell, exactly as it has always been, and there wasn’t a whiff of politics or wokism anywhere.
I did see NBC interview a first time Derby-goer, who said,
“I’d never been to Kentucky. The opportunity to go to the Derby., the opportunity to be around thousands and thousands of white people; I just thought it was a good opportunity to be a part of something.”