The great miracle of American politics is that although it can tend toward the cutthroat and thuggish, it is almost devoid of genuine violence outside of a few scuffles and busted lips now and again. With the exception of Saturday’s slaughter, I’d wager that in the last 30 years there have been more acts of physical violence in the stands at Philadelphia Eagles home games than in American politics.
You know, that’s fine, the last 30 years. How about a few years before that? It’s not like there aren’t still people alive who can’t rememberthis:
James Meredith, the first black man to brave the colour bar at the University of Mississippi, has been shot and wounded after entering Mississippi on a civil rights march.
Police have arrested a 41-year-old white man named Aubrey James Norvell from Memphis on suspicion of carrying out the shooting.
I’m really about done with us congratulating ourselves on how awesome we are now, as if all of that was 3,000 years ago. As if it was Elizabethan England. As if it was ancient history. And also, really? Really? “With the exception of this latest round of dead people, it’s not that bad?” That’s what you’re going with? What the blue-arsedChrist.
Here’s the thing: There is lots and lots of political violence in this country. We kill people with our politics every single day. When we consign them to poverty, when we keep them from places of learning worthy of their aspirations, when we declare their needs invalid, when we find a way, any way, in our desperate avoidance of giving a shit, to ignore the sick and downtrodden, that is violence.
Just because nobody’s firing a gun doesn’t make it any less deadly. Or any more moral.