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Friday, March 21, 2008

Denver DNC Convention - The Eve of Destruction?

There is an old proverb that says, "Those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it." Is the Democratic National Convention this year heading towards a historical reinterpretation of the 1968 Convention?

In 1965, Barry McGuire released his hit, "Eve of Destruction", an interpretation of the world at that time.

The eastern world it tis explodin',
violence flarin', bullets loadin',
you're old enough to kill but not for votin',
you don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin',
and even the Jordan river has bodies floatin',
but you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

Today, more than 40 years later, we're seeing history repeating itself in many ways in this country. If a group called "Recreate 68" has any say in the matter, we will see a near replay of the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention played out at the 2008 Denver Democratic National Convention.

The 68 Convention was one marked by infighting of the Democratic Party's members and violent confrontations between the Chicago police, reportedly under "shoot to kill" orders by then-mayor Richard Daly, and anti-war protesters. Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated two months earlier, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated three months prior to that, Lyndon Johnson had declined to run for re-election as President and the nation was, indeed, on the "Eve of Destruction."

There were even suggestions, prior to the meeting of the Convention, that it not be held in Chicago, but rather in Miami, where the Republican party was slated to hold it's Convention. This suggestion was met with violent disagreement by Mayor Daly, who promised to enforce the peace and threatened to withdraw his support for the apparent nominee, Hubert Humphrey, if the convention were to be moved. President Johnson also preferred Chicago, having been rumored to have said "Miami is not an American city."

The Convention itself was filled with tension and apprehension, after a downbeat keynote address by Hawaiian Senator Dan Inouye, and as pro-war and anti-war delegations debated the issue of Vietnam. Peace protesters caused delays in the debates and their confrontations with the police lasted through the length of the Convention.

Humphrey eventually took the nomination for the party, and lost the general election to Richard Nixon, the Republican candidate, in November.

So how does this tie in to today, and the upcoming Denver Convention for the Democrats? The anti-war group known as "Recreate 68" has lost their bid for a permit for the Civic Center to the host committee for the convention.

"When things blow up because the police have to enforce a permit that the Democrats got, don’t blame us for that," said Glenn Spagnuolo, an organizer for the Re-create 68 Alliance.

"Blame the Democrats for trying to silence dissent in the city of Denver."

The lottery for permits to protest, pray or hold other events in city parks during the DNC Aug. 24 through 28 resumed Thursday after the city bungled the drawing Tuesday by accidentally leaving out some of the applicants' names.

This is just one group that is calling for a replay of the 68 convention. Former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder has predicted riots if the popular vote isn't adhered to in selecting the Democratic nominee. Obama is currently leading Clinton in the popular vote.

Personally, I understand the desire for peace, and appreciate the work that is done to achieve peace between conflicting factions. Few know greater how precious peace is than those who have seen conflict. What I don't understand, honestly, is the threat of violence to promote the cause of peace. In my mind, in my way of thinking, that's a contradiction. As I've said before, contradictions can not exist. To protest, peacefully, in the name of peace, for the sake of peace, for the purpose of peace, makes a statement. To protest violently and proclaim that you are promoting peace, contrarily, seems more like an excuse to act in a violent manner for a cause that you don't truly believe in. Violent protestations for peace come across as hypocritical, and the message for the promotion of peace becomes tainted by the advocacy of those who proclaim it, but don't practice what they are preaching.

There is a time for war, and a time for peace, if one is to believe the teachings of the Bible and other ancient texts that have been handed down from generation to generation through the centuries and millennial. A time to kill, a time to let live. A time to sow, a time to reap. If this sounds like a song, too, that's because it is a song, "Turn Turn Turn", by Pete Seeger, and it was based straight out of the Bible (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

Regardless of the situation as it was in 68, the 08 DNC promises to be interesting in it's own right, as well. With the Clinton machine gearing up for full confrontation and a determination to remain in the race right up until the very end of the nomination process, and the continued revelations of Obama's associations and their anti-Semitic, Afro-centrist agenda's, the continued bad light he has fallen under because of his pastor (who is currently working ON Obama's campaign staff), it's sure to be a slug fest right up until a candidate is finally nominated and approved.

And in case no one has mentioned this, the possibility has been suggested that neither Obama nor Clinton could wind up as the party nominee.

Has anyone noticed how quiet Al Gore has been lately?

It definitely is winding up toward a very interesting Democratic National Convention for Denver.