Chicago 1968 & 2016

convention_aug08_5_631.jpg__800x600_q85_cropScreen Shot 2016-03-11 at 10.14.19 PMScreen Shot 2016-03-11 at 10.15.49 PMSomething very important happened in Chicago on Friday, March 11, 2016 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A planned mass rally for Republican Presidential primary frontrunner Donald J. Trump descended into a maelstrom of anger, turbulence and confrontation not seen in American electoral politics in 48 years — since the famously contentious Chicago Democratic Convention in 1968.

Anti-war Vietnam

Vietnam War protestors march during the ’68 Democratic Convention.

That both events happened in the great city of Chicago should not be a surprise.

Chicago is America’s quintessential melting pot. For nearly two centuries, the City of Big Shoulders has been a magnet for generations of immigrants: yearning, struggling, aspirational minorities from beyond the U.S. borders looking for a better life in the Land of the Free.

Donald-Trump-Rally-ChicagoHow is it possible that Donald Trump thought the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago — one of the most ethnically diverse campuses in the nation — would be a good venue for his blunt, bellicose message of nationalistic, Know-Nothing xenophobia?

Didn’t The Donald understand that the South Side of Chicago has been a racial DMZ for more than a century? Didn’t anyone tell him that Midwestern college students are vastly more progressive than the folks who have flocked to his rallies so far?

ndcThose of us who remember the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention are not surprised. Neither are those few who remember the 1923 Munich Beer Hall Putsch. Those two events were violent, destructive spasms on the left and right. Does Mr. Trump have any clue about this dubious history – and the negative political energy he is generating?

“Until today, we’ve never had much of a problem,” Trump told CNN’s Don Lemon. “I don’t have regrets. These were very, very bad protesters. These were bad dudes. They were rough, tough guys.”

trump-rally-michigan-2So says The Donald. But I wouldn’t bet on his take against the verdict of history. The Bible (which Trump says he reveres) says, “They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind”.

Mr. Trump – Chicago, March 11, 2016 is your whirlwind.

4 Comments

Filed under History, Politics, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Chicago 1968 & 2016

  1. Linda E.

    Very exciting stuff.

  2. Robert PIerce

    I think you were about 10 years old in 68. I doubt you were paying much attention at the time. For those who care about the first Amendment, yesterday’s AstroTurf protests (yes, Luis Guitierrez, MoveOn.org and other were organizing and funding it) should be viewed as a slap in the face to all who favor free and open political discourse and believe in the oft-cited quote, “I disagree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

    Shouting down speakers is not what this country is about. We should all oppose the totalitarian impulses of the political left.

    • Thanks for weighing in, Robert. I agree with you completely about free speech — and it works both ways. But when you talk about “the totalitarian impulses of the political left” in the context of Trump’s right wing pandering, you lose me. Trump’s rhetoric is designed to inflame the passions of working class people against “the other” — and his reactions to protests at his events have encouraged violence. He actually suggested (from the podium) that he’d pay the legal bills of his supporters if they beat up protestors. Yes, I was just 10 years old in 1968 — but I’ve devoted many years to the study of history. Alas, we’ve seen Trump’s kind of demagoguery in America before. George Wallace is a prime example. And, sadly, Wallace reaped the whirlwind, too. And later came to understand the error of his bigoted ways. Someday, I hope The Donald will, too.

      • Robert PIerce

        Politicians pander all the time and say nasty things about opponents. They’ve been doing it since Adams and Jefferson ran against each other (and they said some truly nasty, astonishing things, too). For all the outrage about Trump’s statements causing the vapors in the neo-Victorian left, how do they feel about President Obama’s advice to his followers to “get in their face and strike back twice as hard”? Hypocrisy is such a flexible tool.

        Masses should arise in protest against government corruption and criminality that goes unchecked, not against someone who wants to speak and people who want to listen. Interfering in that should be viewed as a reprehensible violation of our democratic principles and treated as the crime it actually is (public nuisance, disturbing the peace, interfering with peaceful assembly, etc.). As such, the agitators in Chicago should be repeatedly condemned and the people/groups who funded and organized them should also be publicly ostracized by all, left and right. they are not making a positive contribution to our society.

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