Chicago - Sep. 19, 2020
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I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors

No historical hero translates perfectly from one era to another. They might be less perfect than the showbizzy legends. Or maybe they are just too complex to fit inside a comfy media shoebox.

Those caveats do not deter street-punk chicken-fighters from appropriating heroes of the American Revolution to their own cause. They are historical thieves without honor. A pox on them.

After carefully assessing photos of the assembled, armed yahoo/protesters in Lansing, Mich., this week, I compared them to the Colonial heroes they claim to represent. My first observation: "Sir, I knew Thomas Jefferson, and you are no Thomas Jefferson."

This is not a preposterous observation. When my daughter was 8, she asked me if I had known Abe Lincoln. Of course, I said, "Why, yes. Yes I did."

The current quasi-patriots favorite usually is Patrick "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" Henry. It seems more likely the Lansing chicken-fighters meant that philosophically more than literally, which is why Henry said it. He was a lawyer making a point. He wasn't carrying a musket or an AR-15 at the time.

Henry didn't threaten. He stated his case.

Just in general, current street protesters are not very attractive. Based solely on hygiene, Jefferson, Henry, John Adams and Nathan Hale would not have allowed them inside their houses without a delousing procedure.

As for showing up armed and barging into statehouses looking for the governor, that is armed insurrection and criminal assault. In many countries, patriots who do that are shot on the premises.

I'm not saying armed insurrection and criminal terrorist assaults are bad things. It gives them something to do until the local Hooters is allowed to reopen.

Assault is threatening to do harm which is rude, and there are rules. The Lansing chicken-fighters seem to fulfill that legal requirement for street terrorists, except in one regard.

None of them expect to actually get machine-gunned for their threats, which you can understand. Political martyrdom is not as much fun as it sounds.

But if the Lansing chicken-boxers wanted to assume the mantle of Colonial revolutionary heroism on a less showbizzy plane, the hero-of-choice is Nathan Hale rather than Patrick Henry,

This comes to you courtesy of a sound liberal arts education and a fine local library. No need to thank me.

Hale proves why the current patriots are not really patriots. They are not risking much, except continued denial of beaches, barbershops and tattoo parlor services.

These street heroes get Revolutionary fervor mostly wrong. Henry was not daring death by British hands for his "give me liberty or give me death" statements, which were not even published for British perusal until 1817. He was just trying to get Virginia to send troops, not make the world safe for camo wardrobe.

Henry was a wondrous orator, and his speech at the Virginia Convention in 1777 likely did sway the Revolution. But he wasn't lurking outside a statehouse threatening to shoot anyone.

Plus, historians are not absolutely sure he said it.

Nonetheless, these were gentlemen having a gentlemen's debate about meaningful policy. Henry was a lawyer with a good haircut who won the day. Huzzah!

But the street thugs maybe are confusing their devotion to Henry with Nathan Hale.

The coronavirus anti-lockdown mob and others like them tend to confuse literal and figurative. Given the circumstances of his death, Hale used the phrase, "I only regret I have but one life to give for my country" in both ways.

As an untrained but eager spy for the Colonials, Hale expected to be hanged when the Brits caught him in flagrante delicto.

George Washington personally had sent him on the mission to spy on British troop movements.

So when Hale stood before British accusers and announced some version of "I regret . . . ," he was not merely tossing a clever rhetorical barb. He was not debating or threatening.

He knew he was going to be hanged.

And that apparently was alright with him because he had earned the noose fair and square.

British soldiers present at the hanging said Hale was quiet, dignified and noble. He died properly, they said.

A note to the Lansing Mob about paying a real price for real patriotism: Hale wasn't pretending to be a patriot. He was a provable patriot.

Nor was he arguing about access to tattoo parlors and barber shops. He wasn't posing. He wasn't a silly, pullet-fighting dress-up commando.

The flag waving goombas of modern protests have mislaid context and real danger. Modern American governors do not shoot protesters unless the protestors shoot first, unless they are in Missouri or Texas, or are black.

Of all the cultural degeneration our recent years have imposed, nearly the worst is the Fake political pretense of nobility that accepts no risks.That was on full display in Lansing this week.

If you wonder what Hale might have thought of Michigan's chicken-plucking brigade, he graduated with honors from Yale at 18 and was a school teacher. His family was devoutly Puritan. He chose to teach women the academic basics as a schoolmaster when others would not.

He was a first lieutenant in the Connecticut Militia and then was called into the Continental Army.

George Washington promoted him to Captain as a spy. He was not a very good spy, and there is very little evidence he said the "I regret I have but one life" speech attributed to him.

He was 21 when he died.

By every measurement, he was everything the thumbsuckers in Lansing's streets were not.

He was a thoughtful young man, a serious patriot who expected to die in that moment for what he believed.

And he did.

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Recently from David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

* The Week In WTF Redux: Blago Is Back Edition.

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. He welcomes your comments.



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