In 1967, H. Rap Brown supposedly said, “Violence is as American as cherry pie.”
Our nation was born in violent revolution. Fourscore years later, Americans killed each other in a bloody civil war. Throughout the century, white Americans and Native Americans massacred each other.
In the 20th Century, we won two world wars. We fought two land wars in Asia. We’ve been at war since the beginning of the 21st Century,
Then there is all the violence, murder and carnage of daily life. Assassinations, lynchings, bombings, mass shootings, drive-by shootings, family shootings.
Millions of guns, easily available. Millions of unhinged people.
Today we throw in toxic politics. The politics of vilifying, demonizing and destroying your enemies (not “opponents” any more).
Toss in a media that thrives on conflict and rewards extremism. Stir in social media and technology that enable anybody with a grievance to log into vast, shadowy webs of hate, racism and more violence.
Then we see congressmen and lobbyists gunned down on ball fields. Worshippers murdered in their church. Would-be vigilantes invading pizza restaurants with automatic weapons.
All fueling more hate, more resentment and more thirst for revenge. More political anger. More personal attacks. More vilifying, demonizing and destroying.
In years past, we had leaders who spoke to the better angels of our nature – Washington, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Truman, Ike, JFK, LBJ, Carter, Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton and Obama.
Today we have Trump.