May 19, 2022

The Windy City

The Federalist Society is one of the most potent organizations of the conservative movement.

CHICAGO — I am in the Windy City; why is not Washington called the Windy City or the Windiest City? I came with my wife to attend a meeting of the fabled Federalist Society. She is a member of the Society and will participate with all the other assembled lawyers. I shall, for a change, merely listen.

I was raised in Chicago, where I have many happy memories. Actually, I made my first public appearance here in Chicago when I was all of 5 years old. I appeared with my younger sister, Pattie. We appeared at the Chicago Police’s monument to those officers killed in the Haymarket Riot of 1886. My great-grandfather was for some years the last survivor of the riot, but he had died, and we Tyrrells of the younger generation were adjudged likely stand-ins. As I recall, I said nothing of any relevance, nor did my sister, but at least she was cute.

Years later, during the Vietnam War, some left-wing protesters bombed the monument, and the police had to bring the monument indoors. I was not around to protest the war, but I would like to have had an opportunity to protest the protesters. The leading plotter was Bill Ayers, a notable in the Students for a Democratic Society. He later became an intimate of Barack Obama, who eventually became president of the United States. Bill has never mellowed. He was interviewed about the time of the 9/11 attacks and expressed his regret that he did not construct more bombs similar to his Haymarket explosives. I believe he has spent his post-Haymarket years as a lecturer to students at some Chicago-area college. I do not know how heavily his lectures now stress bomb-making or even the North Vietnamese, but you can be sure that he is still very angry.

The Federalist Society is one of the most potent organizations of the conservative movement. There will be no bomb-makers in attendance, only serene spokesmen or spokeswomen for various points of view. That is one of the ways the Federalist Society differs from left-wing groups that are modeled after the society. There are often slightly different points of view championed by its members — for instance, originalism or strict constructionism. It makes for lively discussions and fertile conclusions. After belief in the rule of law and adherence to the Constitution, there is a great deal of nuance at the Federalists’ meetings.

There will be no bloodcurdling yells at the Federalist Society. There is passion for the Constitution, but no anger. I cannot imagine anyone exhorting the assembled to march on the Capitol or to deface a statue. That is not the case with the Federalist Society’s opponents. Right now, the leftists are defacing churches, marching on the homes of Supreme Court justices, and causing barricades and fences to be put up around government edifices. I can remember the days long past when what were still called liberals would eloquently and passionately defend free speech. Such genuine liberals would never attack the private property of a religious institution or even of an irreligious institution. Such days are long gone. Such liberals are long gone. I think they began to disappear when the liberals began to celebrate anger.

At any rate, anger is now celebrated, and violence is allowed, and the liberals are no more. I had hoped that the mayor of Chicago might stop by the Federalist Society meeting. The city is a shambles. The society might be able to help. But Mayor Lori Lightfoot has other matters on her mind. I am told that she is going to arrange for free abortions for Chicago women. She is arranging free abortions for women from out of state; possibly, she will be arranging abortions for women from out of the country. She seems to see abortion as a positive good in and of itself. How about abortions for transgender people? It could be coming.

In the meantime, much of Michigan Avenue is boarded up. Once one of the great shopping districts of the country, it is now paralyzed. Crime both petty and capital is 24/7. People are fleeing the city in a mob exit, and murder numbers last year were the worst in 25 years. Most of the killings are Black on Black. Where is the Black Lives Matter crowd when we need it? What is more, Chicago is but one of a dozen Democrat-run hellholes. I am heading back to Washington.

As I have been ending this column for many surprising months: Glory to Ukraine!


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