On May 22, 1856, Representative Preston Brooks entered the floor of the United States Senate, approached abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner, and beat the senator with a cane, almost taking his life.
Brooks was provoked by a passionate anti-slavery speech that Sumner had delivered in the Senate three days earlier, in which he assailed Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina, a relative of Brooks, for his pro-slavery stance.
This sad and gruesome history is related on the website of the U.S. Senate, which concludes saying, “The nation, suffering from the breakdown of reasoned discourse that this event symbolized, tumbled onward toward the catastrophe of the civil war.”
We ought to be concerned that again, today, the nation appears to be flirting with this uneasy territory where “reasoned discourse” is breaking down.
The president’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, was asked to leave a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, where she was having dinner because, well, she works for Donald Trump.
Stephanie Wilkerson, owner of the Red Hen restaurant, said she asked Sanders to depart because “there are moments in time when people need to live their convictions. This appeared to be one.”
But what exactly are the “convictions” that Wilkerson was living in …
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(The opinions in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Nation News or SN.O.)