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Democrats Fear Their 2024 National Convention May See Repeat of Violence in 1968

In the summer of 1968, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago was marked by protests, some of which turned violent. The protestors there were primarily those opposed to American involvement in Vietnam, and the troubled air around that convention has roiled national Democrats ever since.

Now, this August, the Democratic National Convention will again be in Chicago, and again, they may be facing unrest in the streets outside the venue. Only this time there are some key differences.

That attitude is telling, as is the lack of understanding as to how our government works. In the first case, the politicians here do not have the “power to address our demands” even if their demands were reasonable – they are not. The pols at the Democratic National Convention, on their own, cannot change foreign policy. And in the second case – well, most people are likely not that worried about the United States “funding a genocide,” because anyone who has enough sense to pound sand knows that there is no genocide going on. Gaza’s population has been increasing steadily since they were given independence.

One of the key differences – in addition to the 1968 demonstrators being willing to show their faces – was that the Vietnam War, a conflict that was for the first time in history on TV screens in our living rooms every night, a war that was consuming young men, a war that one might argue involved no compelling U.S. interest, was a (slightly) more legitimate basis for protest than that adopted by today’s useful idiots who are protesting in favor of violent, misogynistic, racist Bronze-Age barbarians.

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The Republicans, who will be holding their convention in Milwaukee, had best be preparing for the same kind of protests – or worse. They have already asked for the Secret Service to change the location of the protester zone farther away from Fiserv Forum, where their July convention will be held.

I’m as absolutist about the First Amendment as anyone alive. If these protestors want to stand on street corners or other public spaces and shout their grievances to the sky, they are free to do so, and much good may it do them. But the First Amendment, while guaranteeing freedom of speech, does not guarantee the speaker an audience, or a venue; nor does it enable them to block lawful traffic or commerce, or to trespass on private property.

And didn’t we recently see some folderol about people interfering with official proceedings?

It’s still some time until August, but I’m going to go out on a limb and make a prediction: Things in Chicago will get out of control, very possibly in ways we have never seen before in the American political process.

In 1968, Chicago cops reacted to the protestors aggressively.

Now? Smart money says the cops will be ordered to stand down. Thus my prediction above.

We’re in for a long, hot summer, folks. But let’s remember what ended up happening in the fall of 1968: Richard Nixon won that election by a wide margin.

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