Once to ev’ry man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision,
Off’ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
‘Twixt that darkness and that light.
– James Russell Lowell
So the first shots in the shooting war have been fired, to the surprise of practically no one who has been following civic matters over the last six months. Admittedly, that the first would be fired in Kenosha, of all places – that’s a bit of a surprise. Although it isn’t at all startling that a Trump supporter would be gunned down on the streets of Portland by an Antifa thug shortly thereafter, to resounding cheers of approval. The hateful rhetoric and the violence against property has been ratcheting up and up, as has the violence against persons. At this juncture, bullets are merely a short step. For at least two people – Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha and Michael Reinoehl in Portland, the choice to pull a trigger has been made, and made irrevocably, whether for good reasons or bad. (It is somewhat ironic, to read of this linked story, of progressive activists sniveling about the presence of “self-appointed” vigilantes being tolerated by local police, harshing the mellow of all those justifiably indignant progressive protesters, whose street protests have, unfortunately and most mysteriously, turned into orgies of arson and looting.)
Other people have also made choices before this week, choices which they may now deeply regret, although since they are politicians, in the news media, or some form of mass entertainment, they probably would prefer to have their fingernails and toenails pulled out with pliers rather than admit it. Progressive mayors and governors have made a choice to permit and excuse increasingly violent protests, allowing them to turn into riots. Finding such urban conditions intolerable after months of lockdowns, business owners and residents make the purely rational decision to leave, taking their businesses and the taxes they otherwise would have paid with them. Having decided in haste to permit Antifa and BLM free rein, progressive leftist mayors and city councils now are free to repent at leisure in the long years to come. Will New York, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis all go the way of Baltimore and Detroit, with whole neighborhoods abandoned and reverting into prairie and woodlands again?
The national news establishment have also made the choice of being partisan when it comes to reporting so-called “news” – partisan along progressive and Democrat party lines. I believe they made this choice so long ago that anyone in the business who has been in it since the Reagan administration must think that is the way it has always been, forever and ever, amen. Those leaders, managers and players in professional sports have also made a choice. I don’t think they have begun repenting of it just yet, but the falling ratings for live broadcast games within the United States must be taking a toll. Go woke and go broke, indeed.
There’s a matter of small choices as well as the one big choice that we voters will have on November 3rd. Does one stay silent in the face of lunacies like the myth of “systemic racism”, in the face of outright propaganda like the 1619 Project, or of in-your-face demands to take the knee or raise a fist – either actual or metaphorical? Dare one say that ‘all lives matter’ when social ostracism, unemployment or violent harassment may result from such a statement of belief?
Comes the moment to decide – and it will come, sooner or later. Likely sooner than November 3rd.