While not rare in the preceding Judeo-Christian United States, violence against people was not thought acceptable; the culture embraced the Fifth Commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” That ended with the acceptance of killing inconvenient nascent babies at the behest of their mothers. Along with that came the ongoing rejection of organized churches, handing what had been a religious value system over to government and thereby switching to political values. Wholesale violence against people is now acceptable, so long as government approves of it. And of course, so long as the general public does not too strongly disapprove. We have exchanged sacred human life for socio-politically useful human life.
Comparatively few felt disposed to argue the sacredness of human life when its Author was thought to be a God Who enjoyed a high regard among most of the population. Once that authority had descended to mere men inhabiting a famously divided government, the numbers of folk prepared to dispute the values of various lives rose rapidly. What else should we have expected?
Back last century we had the crazed Unabomber terrorist pushing his Lefty, environment manifest and we had another nutcase, Timothy McVeigh bombing government buildings from the Right. But there was a very impressive difference between those and today’s episodes of political violence: Then, no one approved of the violence.
Compare those with our present shoot-up of Republican Congressfolk practicing for a charity baseball game by yet another apparently unstable attacker:
A Nebraska Democrat is publicized for saying that he thinks shooting Republicans is funny.
Another such in New Jersey made the evening news saying it’s time to “hunt Republicans.”
Cable News CNN reportedly said the shooting was “not evil.”
And in New York City, the same CNN is sponsoring a play that features the assassination of a President Trump double, a scene that has drawn standing ovations. Now, political violence and its advocates have become a staple, if one-sided media product. We don’t seem to disapprove anymore, so long as the other side is doing the suffering.
We aren’t seeing ramping political violence; we are seeing ramping violence generally. The Oakland police chief pointed to it and to the uncaring public attitude that feeds it. The “knockout game” exists in the streets, girls now fight in schools and teachers are injured trying to interfere. Stories of people shot in public places have become routine, as also has become the targeting of police. And all of that without noting the subject of Muslim terrorism.
It is not political violence that has escalated; it is the public tolerance of violence in general. In politics, the political Left is the present opportunist, needing tool for refusing to accept election results. In rejecting such, the Left also rejects the U.S. Constitution which is entirely dependent upon the losers’ acceptance of their loss. We can add that in rejecting that, they are also advertising themselves as totalitarians unwilling to allow opposition. The American Founders would likely be unsurprised by today’s public attitudes, just disappointed.
The worst of it of course, is that once political violence enters and is tolerated, not only is the democratic process sabotaged, it will inevitably be replaced – by violence.