Saturday, March 22, 2008

Chicago or Denver (Hint - It's Not About Football)

The closer I get to age fifty, the more I realize that I had it easy. The election of 1968 was the first time I ever got interested in national politics, largely because I was sick. When I get sick, my tendency is toward insomnia, and I just happened to get sick during the Republican National Convention in that year. As a nearly ten-year old boy I was fascinated with all this talk of the presidential "race," "former Vice President Nixon," and something called a "Republican platform." I had no idea what these things really meant, and I was pretty much on my own throughout the convention. I watched, I think, a couple of nights' worth by myself because my parents had long since gone to bed. I remember Nixon winning the nomination, and being introduced to someone with the weirdest name I'd ever heard: Spiro Agnew. "Spiro is a name?" I remember thinking. "Weeeeeird!"

I do not, however, remember watching any of the Democratic convention that year. I remember reading about it in the paper. I remember seeing reports of it on the national news broadcasts, and I remember — vividly — being scared out of my young wits. The riots and the "Chicago 7" all colored my perceptions of American politics forever, and planted in my mind the notion that anarchists are creatures to be feared.

Anarchists were the first people I ever saw as a group that seemed to have no reason to live. Not any valid one, at any rate. As a youngster I was still struggling with the concept that I could one day become someone like Dad. I would grow up, work in an "office," make money, and have a family. At church I was learning that if I was good, I could ultimately return to heaven. This was my simplified perspective of life. Anarchists seemed to be trying very hard to not do any of those things. They didn't seem to want to be like my Dad. They had no desires to work in an office, make money, or raise a family. They certainly had no desire to be good. Heaven didn't seem to be on their priority list.

And so there were riots. We in Los Angeles knew something of riots and the thought of them made me every bit as anxious as the possibility that I might one day be drafted to fight in a war somewhere when I got older. This was war being waged just a few miles — or states — away. The anarchists tried somewhat to make a noble argument out of it. They were "standing" for their rights, whatever those were, and trying to make their "voices heard." Whatever that meant. Mostly what I saw was a bunch of spittle-emitting lunatics that belonged in a sanitarium somewhere. That was my impression.

As I have aged, time has not been kind to the anarchists. Their arguments are neither well-composed, nor are they original in any way. In fact, the only logical aspect of this current incarnation is its chosen name: "Re-create 68" is a perfect name for these people that time forgot. It's as if they have been locked away in cryogenic freeze, only to be thawed out forty years later to find that nothing has changed. Instead of Vietnam, it's Iraq. Instead of Nixon, it's Bush. Instead of a Humphrey or McGovern, it's Clinton or Obama. Instead of the Chicago 7, we have Re-create 68. Spittle-emitting lunatics who probably belong in a sanitarium somewhere.

This statement is, perhaps, most indicative of the circular logic employed by the anarchists as their means of justifying their actions:
"When things blow up because the police have to enforce a permit that the Democrats got, don’t blame us for that," said Glenn Spagnuolo, an organizer for the Re-create 68 Alliance.

"Blame the Democrats for trying to silence dissent in the city of Denver."
Threat: we will make your lives a living hell because we're not getting our way. Fact: This was not the Democrats, this was the City of Denver. Democrats are only guilty by association.
...when Jenny Anderson, event planner for the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee, won the permit for Civic Center for a kick-off Aug. 24, Spagnuolo accused the committee of creating a "very serious, dangerous situation . . . for everybody."
Really? Or should we rephrase your statement of intent:
"We actually hoped someone would deny us our permit because it gives us a chance to show you cowards what happens to those who stand in our way."
This is the message I'm picking up, I'm afraid. Anarchy is not about peace. Anarchy is about imposing their desires on the rest of us by violent means if possible. Not "if necessary," but rather "if possible." They want this fight. If enough of them have the guts — and the pharmaceuticals — they may just get their wish.

Not to change the subject, but Denver's mayor is named John Hickenlooper.


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