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Has Politics Become Too Violent?

I may be wrong, but the last time that someone pushed their way into the home of a public figure (read: politician) and was going to whack the politician over the head was on April 14, 1865, when a guy named Lewis Powell attempted to shoot Secretary of State William Seward.

The gun used by Powell misfired, so he charged into the bedroom where Seward was lying in his bed and hit Seward over the head with the butt of the gun. He then stabbed Seward several times before running out of the house.

Seward recovered from his wounds and Powell ended up in the picture above. What Powell attempted to do to Seward was successfully done by Booth against Lincoln the same night.

Threats are one thing – physical assaults are something else. For all the talk about how political rhetoric in this country has become so violent, the bottom line is that for the most part it’s just talk.

In my state – Massachusetts – I don’t believe there has ever been a single, physical assault on a public figure or even a threat of such an assault. Now you would think that in Massachusetts, where a Republican (to steal a phrase) can’t get elected dog-catcher unless he or she sounds like a conservative Democrat, that the few nuts who stand around on weekends in various public spaces with their signs warning against abortions, or immunizations would sooner or later try to back up their words with a physical attack.

It hasn’t happened and it rarely happens anywhere else. Back in 2018, a right-wing publication, The Washington Examiner, published a story with this headline: “15 Democratic attacks, assaults, threats on Republicans.”

Know how many attacks and assaults were actual events in which a Republican official was actually physically shoved or even touched by one of those Democrats who committed one of those assaults? One – the shooting of Steve Scalise while he and other members of the GOP Congressional Baseball team were working out at a ballfield in Virginia on June 14, 2017.

The shooter, who was shot to death by the cops, was allegedly a left-wing political activist who had been seen at Bernie Sanders rallies in 2016.

Hey – just wait one goddamn minute! I thought the surge in political violence was coming from the Right, not the Left. After all, wasn’t that what January 6th was all about? Unless, of course, you want to go along with what GOP House members like Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Mo Brooks (R-AL) have been saying about how January 6th was actually the work of Antifa supporters dressed up to look like eight-wing thugs.

Do guys this friggin’ dumb actually get elected to anything?

No – they can’t. But they do because maybe you have to be born in America to run for President, but there’s no mention in any of the qualifications for public office that candidates need to take an IQ test.

Oops! We’re not allowed to mention that hated acronym IQ. That’s not politically correct, even though the Fake News seems to believe that all this violence perpetrated by the Right against the Left is totally and completely true.

Want to get an idea about what violence is all about outside the United States? On October 2nd a riot broke out at a soccer game in Indonesia. When the fracas came to an end, at least 125 people were dead and another couple of hundred were injured.

Of course, the head of the Professional Soccer Federation in Indonesia immediately announced that his organization was ‘mourning’ the loss of life at the event. I’m surprised he didn’t issue a ‘thoughts and prayers’ statement which is what comes out of the mouth of every U.S. politician when some idiot walks into a supermarket or movie theater with an assault rifle and starts blasting away.

How many people died at the Capitol on January 6th? Four. Several others died, one from an overdose and two from heart attacks before the Capitol was breached.

In 2019, the United States had a per-100,000 murder rate of 5.07. Greenland had 5.32, Bermuda was 8.14, Costa Rica was 11.26, Puerto Rico was 21.09 and you’ll like this one, Bahamas was 31.96. I’m just picking out countries where Americans go on vacation to relax and enjoy themselves in a nice, quiet place.

The United States is awash in social media which allows everyone except Donald Trump to pick up a phone or a laptop and say anything no matter how stupid it is. But this state of affairs shouldn’t blind us to the fact that this country is a very peaceful and law-abiding place.

Maybe Ted Cruz believes he was assaulted when he and his wife had to run out of a D.C. restaurant in 2018 because some other patrons began yelling at him for behaving like such a dumb ass.

But where in the 1st Amendment does it say that speech is only protected if you don’t yell?

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