How To Almost Beat A Senator To Death
This didn't actually happentoday in history, but we've been thinking about it ever since Barack Obama got his "whoopin' stick," yesterday, because we keep imagining how cool it would be if Obama did this to Joe Lieberman. Here's how the official U.S. Senate website puts it: "On May 22, 1856, the 'world's greatest deliberative body' became a combat zone. In one of the most dramatic and deeply ominous moments in the Senate's entire history, a member of the House of Representatives entered the Senate chamber and savagely beat a senator into unconsciousness."
Ha ha, the Senate's own website puts "world's greatest deliberative body" in scare quotes.
So why did this savage beating go down in the so-called "world's greatest deliberative body"?
As usual in this goddamned country, it comes down to racism, and slavery.
Back in the day, the Republicans were the anti-slavery party, while the Democrats were all Southern slave owners. (Eventually, thanks to Civil Rights and the "Nixon Strategy," Southern Democrats turned into "Republicans" who were scared to death of the Negro. These bitter people are now called "Hillary supporters" or "Zell Miller.")
Anyway, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts -- an anti-slavery liberal Republican -- was on the Senate floor one day ranting about how pro-slavery Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina was a loathsome, whoring scumbag. Congressman Preston Brooks, also of South Carolina and, obviously, a blood relative of Butler's, saw this outrage on C-SPAN and quickly ran over to the Senate and beat the shit out of Sumner, with a walking cane.
Moving quickly, Brooks slammed his metal-topped cane onto the unsuspecting Sumner's head. As Brooks struck again and again, Sumner rose and lurched blindly about the chamber, futilely attempting to protect himself. After a very long minute, it ended.
Bleeding profusely, Sumner was carried away. Brooks walked calmly out of the chamber without being detained by the stunned onlookers. Overnight, both men became heroes in their respective regions.
The Caning of Senator Charles Sumner [U.S. Senate]