Politically, America is feeling the heat – Daily News

It’s hot. People get stuck with that kind of heat. It’s not just the cars that are buzzing.

It was hotter last week.

The feds turned up the heat on former President Trump by raiding his Mar-a-Lago home. The backlash came quickly, with ominous threats against the FBI from Trump loyalists and an explosion of online chatter calling for armed resistance, including talk of civil war.

Violence (and the threat) is not one-sided. Last Tuesday, a group of homeless advocates yelled and then charged members of the Los Angeles City Council. Death threats have reached conservative members of the Supreme Court, with a gunman arrested outside Justice Kavanaugh’s home. Portland (Oregon) continues to burn with violence from the radical left, and let’s not forget the shooting of Republican Congressman Steve Scalise by a Bernie Sanders supporter. Across America, both the right and the left are resorting to fists and guns and firebombs.

Mobocracy is becoming the tail that wags the dog.

In 1856, pro-slavery Congressman Preston Brooks smashed his cane into the skull of abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner, nearly killing him. Brooks received a hero’s welcome home and a flood of new canes. Four years later America went to war with itself. More than 700,000 died.

We are far from the end of our current cycle of political violence. There will be further hearings on January 6. There should be until all aspects of that awful day are taken into account.

If this is America’s new normal, can it survive?

Missouri Senate candidate Eric Greitens recently ran an ad with a shotgun surrounded by soldiers in tactical gear. “Today, we’re going RINO hunting,” Greitens said as he made a round.

RINO, of course, stands for “Republican in name only,” but a better definition today is “Republicans who don’t bow to Donald Trump.” The purge is real. We are not living in an age of nuance.

“Get a RINO hunting permit,” Greitens said. “There’s no wrap limit, no labeling limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.”

Greitens lost, but got nearly 20% of the vote.

We know from history that the United States was conceived with violence: the American Revolution and the four-year bloodbath of the Civil War. In both conflicts, the issues were specific, the right of the governed to choose their own leaders in one, slavery in the other.

Today’s battle lines are less clear. The problem is that each side sees the other as the embodiment of everything they detest: the right sees the left as America-hating neo-communists, and the left sees the right as fascists and racists. Not much room for kumbaya here.

I believe that those of us lucky enough to be born in this country had an extraordinary birthright; we are citizens, not subjects, governed by the rule of law, free to pursue happiness, even if happiness is not guaranteed. Some of you don’t share that sentiment.

Descendants of slaves and Jim Crow and First Nations peoples have historical scars that are not easily absolved. I understand that. And it doesn’t help that we teach our history badly, having abandoned civics and lumping American history into generic “social studies” or reducing historical figures to cartoon heroes and villains. In all this the context has been lost, without which history is not only useless but dangerous, a tool for demagogues.

John Adams warned, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly unfit for the government of any other.”

Some of you will object to the inclusion of religion, but we should all take Adams’ advice very seriously. All these years we have prospered under the Constitution without becoming a theocracy. We cannot survive if we allow our leaders to lie and mislead with impunity.

Is it hot enough for you?

Doug McIntyre’s column appears on Sundays. He can be reached at: Doug@DougMcIntyre.com.

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