Cheap Seats 2020
Deja PU - 06/10
By Rich Trzupek
We’ve been here before, I’m sorry to say. It was 52 years ago. A pandemic believed to have originated in Asia swept the world, upsetting the economies of many a nation. High-profile murders rocked the nation. Many a young person took to the streets to violently protest the behavior of men and women wearing uniforms in positions of power.
The delusional would label the period of the worst violence the “Summer of Love.” It was rather a summer of rage. The year was 1968 and anarchy was oh so chic. Few called it that of course. Many an aging hippie still clings to the idea that they were engaged in a noble effort to reform a corrupt nation and if violence were necessary to achieve that goal, violence was justified.
It was old stuff. It still is. Perhaps no generation of anarchists expressed the intransient nature of their brand of revolution more honestly than the Jacobins during the French Revolution. You may recall their motto from your world history class: “liberté, égalité, fraternité” (“liberty, equality, fraternity”). Noble stuff. Less well-remembered are the three words that followed in the original slogan “ou la mort” (“or death”), an addition that puts another face on what was an especially bloody flirtation with anarchy.
The anarchists hated most every form of authority, but authority in uniform particularly galled them. The police were bad enough, but most of their vitriol was aimed at the young people who served in the military. Any good they did was dismissed as trivial and unimportant. Any mistake was amplified out of all proportion, each example cited as proof of the soulless corruption inherent to the institution.
The Mai Lai massacre – the assassination of Bobby Kennedy – the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King most of all: Each event fueled rage and righteous, violent indignation. All of the turmoil spread against the backdrop of the pandemic Hong Kong Flu (political correctness did not prohibit one from naming a flu strain after its assumed place of origin in 1968) which would take the lives of more than a million people nationwide, including around 100,000 Americans.
Fifty-two years later, everything that’s old is new once more. A young generation acts out its frustrations. As was the case in 1968, some of them are sincerely idealistic, if sadly deluded. I suspect many more are as cynical as the behind-the-scenes agitators who are behind so much of the violence. During the Summer of Rage, it was supposedly left-wing groups like Students for a Democratic Society that stoked the flames of violence and hate. Today it seems that Antifa has stepped in to fill that role.
And their designated target is once again Americans in uniform. Attacking members of the military has become decidedly uncool over the past couple of decades, so the cross-hairs (sometimes quite literally) now fall onto the backs of the men and women in blue who serve and protect.
In 1968 the anarchists could not have asked for a bigger fool in uniform than Second Lt. William Calley. He was a godsend. The Mai Lai Massacre became the symbol of a heartless and cruel military. All the good that American men and women had done was summarily ignored.
In 2020, Derek Chauvin took Calley’s place. His stupidity gave this latest generation of anarchists exactly what they wanted: A spark to light a fire to destroy law enforcement as we know it.
Think about that for a second. How simple-minded and unfair is that? I have known many a police officer in my life and to a man and woman they have all been honorable, capable and caring professionals. So many of the little things they do every day to help people in distress go completely unnoticed. They are the glue that holds society together. They are overwhelmingly brave, honest and dedicated. It is ridiculous to disparage them when the vast, vast majority of them consistently serve us so well and so faithfully.
It is said that some cities are considering disbanding their police departments. God forgive me, but I hope one of them follows through on that threat. There could be no quicker way of proving how vital the police are to society than to watch what happens when they are no longer there to protect it.