Steve-O-In NJ has struck again with another of his long form comments, easily snagging another Comment of the Day. It is also a first here: the comment covers two Ethics Alarms posts. To be technical about it, the second was posted after Steve’s comment went up, but it includes a long section that directly applies to the late post…which I wrote before I read what follows. This Comment of the Day is, as a classic TV commercial for Certs used to chant for almost 40 years, “Two! Two! Two comments in one!”
Confused? Don’t be, just read and enjoy Steve-O-In NJ‘s Comment of the Day on the posts, “I’ll Try To Stop This From Being A Rant, But I’m Not Promising Anything…” and “Lazy Sunday Afternoon Ethics, 8/30/2020: A Letter, A Slapdown, A Poll, Sherlock Holmes, And A Dinosaur Walk Into An Ethics Post…,” Item #2, Mayor Wheeler’s Letter.
This is the year we were stripped of a lot of the things that we liked and that were important to us, and expected to like it. The message rings loud and clear that if you aren’t woke, there is no place for you in this brave new world. The thing is, like Obamacare, it was predicated upon and sold to us with lies, half-truths, and omissions, which a lot of our fellow Americans have bought, hook line and sinker. Obamacare was as much about power as it was about putting healthcare on the national stage and giving people greater access. The Democrats and the left knew it, and that’s why they used procedural chicanery, promises to the now-dead Senator Spector that they had no intention of keeping from the get-go, and lies and half-truths to the general public to get it passed – without even saying what was in it. It was a power grab, plain and simple.
The left tried for a cultural power grab three years ago, with the assault on Confederate monuments, which they tried to parlay into attacks on other areas of history. Unfortunately for them, it kind of petered out before it could really go anywhere, NYC made it clear it wasn’t going to stand for attacks on public art, and the next thing you knew, we were in the holiday season and no one was thinking about fighting over statues and what they stood for anymore. The first of the year passed, and the mayor of NYC said he was moving one statue and that was it. There was still a dislike of police, but they still met with grudging respect…mostly. The days of assassinating police or declaring them enemies were over. I think I should really say that they were over for that period of time. The plans for a cultural and political power grab never really went away. They just went on standby, waiting for the right time for them to be revived. Even though there were other police shootings and errors, it just never seemed to be the right time. Besides, the economy was doing well, and most people were too busy making money to bother. Then came the pandemic, which put a huge amount of people out of work, so they’d be available for protesting/rioting. All they needed was the spark to set this off. George Floyd was it. This was it, the spark to light the flame of white hatred and make a revolutionary break with the past. It stopped being about Floyd in two days. Meantime, though, the liberal DA and other authorities, who might have had a chance to tamp this down by saying hey, we don’t have all the facts, said nothing instead. Inwardly these mayors and governors were dancing with glee at the chance to proclaim a new cultural revolution and destroy conservative America forever. The same mayors and governors who ticketed Hasidic Jews for burying their dead and moms for walking in parks told the police to use a light touch or stand down completely from protests that quickly became riots. They wanted to be helpless, anything to make the president look either incompetent (if he did nothing) or heavy-handed (if he did). Meantime this movement either forced local leadership into embarrassing humiliation like foot-washing, pulled them into their own orbit, or overwhelmed them.
Corporate America and entertaining America was only too eager to jump on the bandwagon. I think it’s gone too far, though, finally. Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, the worst enabler of this domestic terror movement, dared to write a snarky letter to the president about proffered Federal aid, which I took apart, because it really lays bare where this is all heading if it isn’t there already and just how MIA the left is at this point:
“Dear President Trump:
Yet again, you offered to aid Portland by sending in federal law enforcement to our city.”
– Yup – That’s what the Federal Government does when a city can’t handle its own problems, as you’ve proven time and time again you can’t.
“On behalf of the City of Portland: No thanks. We don’t need your politics of division and demagoguery. Portlanders are on to you. We have already seen your reckless disregard for human life in your bumbling response to the COVID pandemic. And we know you’ve reached the conclusion that images of violence and vandalism are your only ticket to reelection.”
– Reckless disregard for human life? It was idiots like you telling the president he was a racist and a xenophobe for stopping travel from China, where this virus originated. You haven’t taken the first step toward responding to this, and your idea of preventing the spread of the virus is allowing people to flood the streets. There’s a good chance that the US will see this images that are not normal – if they vote for law and order, then that’s their prerogative.
“There is no place for looting, arson, or vandalism in our city. There is no room here for racist violence or those who wish to bring their ideology of hate into our community. Those who commit criminal acts will be apprehended and prosecuted under the law.”
– Apparently 90 days of looting, arson and vandalism just didn’t happen. Apparently antifa didn’t bring their ideology of hate and violence into your community. Apparently your own district attorney didn’t just say that he WOULDN’T prosecute offenders, to the point where the Oregon State Police just gave up and left your city because they didn’t want to waste their resources apprehending criminals who would just be released right back onto the streets to commit more crimes.
“Tens of thousands of Portlanders have peacefully protested and marched for the noble cause of fixing our broken criminal justice system. They are part of the proud progressive tradition of Portlanders fighting for justice — from racial justice to economic justice to environmental justice.”
– Noble cause? Don’t make me laugh. Burning courthouses, attacking police stations, and kicking people in the head isn’t “fighting for justice,” it’s just bringing anarchy and destruction and chaos into ordinary people’s lives.
“When you sent the feds to Portland last month, you made the situation far worse. Your offer to repeat that disaster is a cynical attempt to stoke fear and distract us from the real work of our city.”
– No sir. The feds didn’t cause these criminals in the streets to set more fires, attack more people, or destroy more property. That’s on them, and on you for failing to quell it.
“In Portland, we are focused on coming together as a community to solve the serious challenges we face due to systemic racism, a global pandemic and an economic recession.”
– And you’re doing SUCH a sterling job of it.
“Stay away, please.”
– I’m afraid it’s reaching the point where the Feds can’t do that, and, frankly, there isn’t much you can do to stop them, jurisdictionally or otherwise. A city that cannot keep order is not going to stop the Federal government if it decides to take action.
You sir, are not the heir to any “noble cause” or whatever other high-minded bullshit, excuse my language, that you decide to dress it up in. You are the heir to the ignoble tradition of a slew of ignoble governors, mayors, and other local officials from fifty plus years ago and far south and east, when you were still learning the alphabet and letter combinations off flash cards and hadn’t started to memorize the multiplication tables. These were the men (there were few women in public office then) who looked the other way, took no action, pretended they saw nothing, and generally refused to do their sworn duty to protect the people they served – all of them, regardless of color, creed, or political affiliation. It was that deliberate dereliction of duty that sent a message to those who intimidated, attacked, and sometimes killed those they disliked or disagreed with – the message that they could continue to intimidate, attack, and kill without fear of consequences.
You are also the heir to an even more ignoble tradition of some other men decades before you were even born, across an ocean, but right there in the history books for you to read about, who not only failed to protect, but actively encouraged others to displace, rob, beat, humiliate, and destroy those they disfavored. That also sent a message – get out or prepare to be abused until such time as we decide we are weary of abusing you and eliminate you.
What’s that you say? How dare I make those comparisons? I dare, sir, because they are apt comparisons to make. It doesn’t matter if the masks are white or black, or whether the motivation is race hatred or political hatred. There is very little practical difference between those who call themselves Christians but act in an actively anti-Christian manner like the Klan, and those who loudly proclaim opposition to fascism, but act like the very thugs they claim to oppose, like Antifa. Whether the violence is perpetrated by young men with short hair in neatly pressed khaki shirts against those they consider “untermensch” or by skinny young men with long hair in raggedy tees against those they consider “unwoke” is a distinction without much of a difference. The end result is the same – complete breakdown of social order and rule of mob rather than of law. I could also throw in something about the difference between red and black and talk of “peace, bread and land” while bringing oppression, hunger, and displacement, but I think you get the point, and if you don’t, more examples won’t make you get it.
It was the Feds who had to come in to make Brown v. Board of Education happen, and it was the Feds who had to come in and enforce the Civil Rights Act against this previous nose-thumbing by local officials.
If the Feds have to come and restore order here, I hope they charge you, in Federal Court. It’s illegal to set a practice that deprives people of their Constitutional rights, and I’d say failure to even try to keep the order you are charged with keeping qualifies. I’m sure other charges could be levied if the U.S. Attorney puts on his thinking cap. You may be prepared to send a flip letter to the president in the hopes of scoring some political points in your fantasy world, but are you prepared to explain to a judge and a jury why you prevented the police from enforcing the law and allowed rioting to go on for 100 days? I guarantee you that a jury won’t be composed solely of social justice warriors. There will be some ordinary people on that jury – shopkeepers, business owners, firefighters, and I don’t think they’ll see it your way.
I’m sorry, Jack, but I think the ordinary people of this nation are WAY past caring if sports teams walk off the field. I think they’re also WAY past the racial reckoning that this movement was trying to produce. At this point ordinary people, like myself, are fearful that tomorrow a BLM caravan could show up in our town. My hometown has maybe 30 policemen total (most towns in the area have between 30 and 45, only 1/3 of whom are on duty at any given time), and I’m not sure if there is anything in place for mutual aid with other towns, the county, the State of NJ, or the Feds . Even if there is, there’s a really big question in my mind as to whether it would matter. Even if it’s just a matter of putting out a code over the radio when someone sees those three or four chartered buses pull into the Stop & Shop parking lot, realizes what’s going on, and calls 911, it would take the nearest three towns probably a half hour from the time they get the alert to mobilize what men they could, get them into their SWAT gear and get them on their way. It would probably be an hour for the county to assemble their emergency response team and get them here. The nearest State Police barracks are in Bloomfield and Totowa, and any response from them would probably take forty minutes to an hour. Any Federal resources of consequence would have to come from either Newark or across the river, and that’s a minimum of an hour. That’s plenty of time for a couple hundred “peaceful protesters” to overpower the few officers on duty, destroy parked cars, smash windows, light fires, steal local businesses blind, beat up any poor shlub unlucky enough to be out on the street, and be GONE before the sirens of the first mutual aid units are close enough to be heard. That’s what can happen if BLM just decides to make an example of your town. If there is a police-involved shooting of a black person, be it a mistake, resistance, or whatever the circumstances, as soon as it hits the news, expect 8-10 buses of peaceful protesters, and expect your whole town to be destroyed. This is the new normal, and it will be the new normal unless decisive action to end it is taken.