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A World Still At Unrest . . . That’s Tear Gas, Not Incense, Rising By The Bells Of St. Mary’s Basilica

September 3, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

PHOENIX — The neighborhood around St. Mary’s Basilica here, downtown on East Monroe Street, has seen its portion of historic happenings, probably the same as any city’s share of memorable events as a small settlement grew to a substantial spot on the map.
Construction of an adobe church began in 1880 for the oldest Catholic parish in Phoenix. St. Mary’s remained the city’s only one until 1924. It’s hard to believe that fact today, less than a century later, when a motorist from California can consume more than two hours to drive west to east across the sprawling metropolitan area when the freeways are well-flowing.
Probably St. Mary’s high point as a Catholic place of worship occurred in September 1987, when Pope John Paul II visited, speaking from the balcony to a crowd spread out over closed-off streets. Even today the contiguous Phoenix diocesan headquarters prominently displays memorabilia from the papal visit.
Monroe Street was closed for a very different and less peaceful reason this year on August 22, as President Trump was to speak at an evening rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, just south of Monroe, with fear of left-wing violence shimmering like heat waves on a summer day. The high temperature was headed close to 110 degrees.
No one seriously thought Trump’s supporters of all ages waiting for admission in the long, hot, winding lines outside the convention center posed any danger.
It was different, though, regarding the considerably smaller assemblage of anti-Trumpsters yelling “Shame!” and waving their posters at us proclaiming their love trumping hate — a familiar scent of moral superiority from those deserving no claim to it.
Maybe they were feeling pretty superior because some got their temporary protest jobs at $50 an hour plus expenses from Craigslist.
Phoenix police lined up shoulder to shoulder at some locations, with their riot helmets and shields in place. They weren’t about to entertain threats close to the Herberger Theater. The largest portion of the anti-Trumpsters, which included some Antifa toughies, was on the north side of Monroe Street, with the St. Mary’s bell towers just to the east.
Familiar yellow police tape separated the north side of the street from the south, where Trump’s admirers gained admission to one of the halls.
Leftist violence started reasserting its angry presence last year as the New Yorker’s presidential campaign began making headway. His backers were beaten at riots in northern and southern California and elsewhere. This year Antifa and its leech-like appendages gorge on thoughts of blood and weapons. Are we headed back to the leftist violence and riots of the 1960s, in the U.S. and elsewhere?
After Benedict XVI surprisingly resigned the papacy, the BBC on February 12, 2013, was among news agencies recalling that when the future Pope was theologian Joseph Ratzinger in the 1960s, he became more conservative in response to violent student radicals — especially with his memories as a youngster German from the 1930s, when he saw upheavals lead to deadly National Socialism rising.
The BBC quoted him about the 1960s: “It is true I saw a new spirit creeping in. A spirit in which fanatical ideologies made use of the spirit of Christianity….Here I saw very clearly…that there was an abuse of the Church and the faith, which were used as instruments of power.”
As a kid, I remember Dad driving our family to wait for President Dwight Eisenhower to pass by on the street during his visit to Indianapolis. Early in the next decade I waited with Mom north of Camelback Mountain here to see President John Kennedy in a motorcade. We both were JFK fans.
Neither time was there a brooding concern the president, Republican or Democrat, would meet with tragedy from an assassin — although a young man who’d lived in the Soviet Union turned everyone’s world upside down before much longer when Kennedy visited Dallas in November 1963.
The optimistic 1960s still had been in their earlier years, with a frequent expectation they’d be even better than the 1950s. Then everything seemed to start collapsing. In an entirely unrelated event, a talented student at my high school committed firearms suicide. Life wasn’t so secure.
Ronald Reagan’s winning “Morning in America” sunshine in the 1980s may have left many believing that the sixties had been just a bad dream already dismissed from our existence. Not really. Not at all. There may be plenty of hope among some for better times with Trump. However, true renewal still awaits.
Meanwhile, the business of life goes on day to day. However, even such an unnaturally natural event as the terrible Texas hurricane forcefully reminds that being in the technologically advanced U.S. is no protection against millions of us suddenly existing wrapped up in blankets in a gym.
Despite the apparent ease of Trump stepping to a lectern to speak to a rally, so many things seen and unseen had to occur to put him there in safety. These aren’t the days when you attend a presidential speech, or get on an airliner, without intrusions.
The “Non Veni Pacem” blog (nonvenipacem.com) headlined Trump’s visit here, “The night Trump came to Phoenix, and I prayed my city would survive.” Not that the blogger feared danger from Trump, but that people needed to be able to count on police being able to do their job.
The blog included a photo of a protester in Antifa-type gear, including black hoodie and gas mask. But when Trump-haters tried to make their move and started throwing objects, the police clamped down and the chance for chaos withered.
After I got home, I looked at news sites in England, France, Germany, and Italy. They all had coverage of the streets I recently departed. Here was a video processed through a Rome newsroom showing tear gas rising near St. Mary’s Basilica.
In 2017 Trump is free to move around his own country and ours. As long as he brings an army of security with him, and has a second army at his disposal from among the law-enforcement bodies of the city to which he travels. And presumably a third army to pass his protection off from point to point if he progresses a bit along the ground.
This isn’t the president of some uneasy dictatorship who’s potentially the target of a suppressed populace, but the leader of the theoretically, at least, blessed United States. It has been 241 years since the nation was birthed, but the pangs have grown along with significant postnatal development.
After nearly two and a half centuries, the president potentially is less secure than if he lived next to an early 19th-century harbor, subject to bombardment from British battleships. Today, of course, the live fire could drop down from far above in the sky after having followed the circumference of the Earth from thousands of miles away.

“Troubled And Disgusted”

But to think that someone you just passed on the sidewalk could be an assassin? Well, wake up, that’s everyday reality in European cities. From a pop concert in Paris to Bastille Day fireworks in Nice to a Christmas market in Berlin. Not to mention a Christmas party in San Bernardino and nightclub in Orlando.
When Trump recommended the commonsense move to vet potential terrorists more carefully, you’d have thought from dominant-media reaction that he, not ISIS, was wrapping infants in suicide vests.
Upon Trump’s Phoenix visit, Virginia blogger Mary Ann Kreitzer wrote at “Les Femmes-The Truth”: “You can hate Trump all you want. He is saying things that no president, Democrat or Republican, has said in years. That’s why the mainstream media hate him and mainstream Americans love him. Stop watching the media and watch Trump’s speeches.
“He’s after the media, and it’s high time someone was. They deserve the condemnation. As a pro-lifer, I’ve watched the media spin for years. This is personal for me and I love it. Thank you, President Trump, for confronting the bigotry and censorship of the liberal media,” Kreitzer said.
Trump recently had to exercise his pardon power to come to the rescue of Arizona’s Joe Arpaio, falsely convicted of being a bigot because he believed our corner homes deserved the same border security that the high-rise elite enjoy behind their gates and guards.
Our security doesn’t seem to count so much if it’s our little lives against glittering fantasy futures that only globalist George Soros and certain of his U.S. senator friends can perceive.
Roger Cardinal Mahony, retired as archbishop of Los Angeles, blogged for four paragraphs about being “deeply troubled and disgusted” by Trump’s pardon, without once mentioning the term “illegal immigrant,” of whom he knows many.
Honest language might have faced the open-borders problem instead of wishing it away.

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