From the Dying Left, To the Dead Left
WASHINGTON -- This past week, my matutinal readings of the obituaries in the morning newspapers were particularly rewarding. Truth be known, the first thing I turn to in the morning newspaper is generally the obituaries. They are so lively and informative, particularly in The New York Times, whose obits I find better written than the rest of the newspaper. Last week, they featured two malcontents from the 1960s generation, Linda Kasabian, a minor malcontent but amusing in her way, and Angela Davis, a superstar among malcontents, and if she is not dead yet, she soon will be.
Linda Kasabian ran away from home at an early age and fell in with the Manson Family, a group of lunatic killers and petty criminals living on a ranch in -- where else? -- California. Charles Manson, the leader of the group, quickly found a place for Linda among the other girls who for the most part dominated the family, mainly because she was the only member of the family who had a driver's license. With it, she made the perfect lookout for the family as they murdered Sharon Tate, the actress, and at least five others. When Linda was caught, she was sent off to the slammer for a time and quickly faded into obscurity. Perhaps among the Mansonites she was really not that much of a malcontent. At least she never murdered anyone. She died on Jan. 21, and her obituary appeared in the Times last week. She had said that she spent the rest of her life looking for God. I hope she found Him. Incidentally, Charles Manson passed away on Nov. 19, 2017 of natural causes, alas.
One famous malcontent whom I have been searching the newspapers for to no avail is Bobby Seale. I had encountered him in 1984 at a taping of "Summer Sunday, USA," and even back then, he did not look particularly well. He, with the always-angry Huey P. Newton, had co-founded the Black Panthers. By the way, I always wanted to ask Bobby what the P. in the middle of Huey's name stood for. My guess is that it was for "Percy." Unfortunately, Huey turned room temperature on Aug. 22, 1989, and now he is with Linda.
Yet Bobby is still with us, and so he will brighten up one of my mornings someday. Back in 1984, he and three other malcontents -- one being the radical lawyer, William Kunstler, another being Wavy Gravy -- pummeled me mercilessly -- or thought they did -- on national television. They also got pretty drunk, and by the time Bobby had drained his last beer can, he was bawling to me about how a corporate deal for him to write a cookbook had fallen through because Bobby failed to turn in the contract's obligatory number of "low-salt recipes." I tried to be supportive because he was pretty upset. As I recall, I said, "Well, Bobby, what did you expect with Ronald Reagan in the White House?"
As for the superstar malcontent, that would be Angela Davis, and if she did not exactly die, she looked like death warmed over two weeks when she appeared with Henry Louis Gates Jr. on his PBS television show, "Finding Your Roots." Actually, Gates found some of Davis' roots, believe it or not, on the Mayflower. Angela is a descendant of one William Brewster, a Puritan leader who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 and even signed the Mayflower Compact. Her family, or at least some of it, came over on the Mayflower, fought in the Revolutionary War and, on her mother's side, owned slaves. Did you have such a rich background? Did it go back all the way to the Mayflower?
Now, of course, Davis is advocating reparations from white America to black America and the teaching of critical race theory in our schools. Will she with her heritage extending back to the Mayflower Compact be ponying up for reparations and the advocacy critical race theory? We know, as my colleague David Keene has written, that throughout the 1960s and 1970s, she was in on every left-wing project she could get in on. From the Black Panther Party to the Communist Party, USA, there was nothing too red for her to avow or disavow.
Throughout the last couple of decades, she has almost become a beloved figure. Now I shall await her obituary breathlessly. Did her ancestors really come over on the Mayflower and own slaves? How will she be treated in the left's "1619 Project"?
Glory to Ukraine!
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author most recently of "The Death of Liberalism," published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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