Belmont Club

Fearful Symmetry

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The video above shows a “protester” throwing his shoes at John Howard. He laughs it off.  Michael Korzoi at the Sydney Morning Herald is afraid the incident will be used to demonize the Left.  “The concern now is that the shoe thrower will come to represent the left more broadly.”

It wouldn’t be a sensible act of stereotyping but it will happen: those already sceptical of left-wing politics will watch the footage of this silliness and it will reinforce preconceptions about people on the left, what they look like and how they behave. It is the sort of irresponsible behaviour which provides a justification for dismissing intelligent progressive ideas as the musings of delusional hippies.

In contrast, the video that follows after the Read More, however, is disrespectfulness by someone, the question being whom.

The incident below took place at an congressional debate between Rep. Melissa Bean and her GOP challenger Joe Walsh, hosted by the Illinois League of Women’s Voters.

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The McHenry County Blog transcribed the moderator’s running commentary on the incident.

I have absolutely nothing for or against saying the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of something like this, but, in fact, that has never been part…

At this point the Pledge of Allegiance incident took place after which the moderator continued addressing the audience.

I hope, I hope that that would be the last time I am disrespected.

There is no disrespect—excuse me, excuse me—there is no disrespect for the flag when something in a forum which does not typically begin with the Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t begin with it.

There’s no disrespect intended.

The League of Women Voters does forums like this constantly. This is the 4th, the 5th one I’ve done this year.

It’s never been requested and I have to say that being forced by having audience members stand up in a presumably planned way to have to seems a bit disrespectful.

It’s not inconceivable that conservatives activists have finally learned to use that old tactic, the Protest Song, against the Left. The most effective Protest Songs are those whose context indicates they are acts of rebellion while their formal words are either commonplace, innocent or merely suggestive. In the context of the debate, given the protagonists on stage,  the LWV moderator immediately recognized the request to recite the Pledge as a political speech and therefore a threat to the way things were supposed to go.

Part of the problem is that the Left itself made events like opening invocations, the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, reference to the Constitution, etc — which were formerly commonplace and content free, just something that routinely happened — into a a variety of “hate speech”. They failed to take into account that in doing so they also transformed these acts into a “protest songs”. Ideologies fear rival ideas above all. But when an ideology attempts to supplant one entire world view with another then everything traditional rises up to protest its death. As Rodgers and Hammerstein noted, trying to drown out a culture doesn’t always work.

Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever

Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Bless my homeland forever


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