It shouldn’t be a difficult concept to grasp, but history tells us it is: idealism unmoored to human nature and reality lead to disaster with depressing consistency. Thus “ethical” plans and motives that rely on fantastic and contrived versions of how the world might works under ideal circumstances are in truth not ethical at all. They are incompetent. They are irresponsible.
And thus we have the current fiasco in San Francisco, where the progressive voters left their hearts while their brains AWOL. The Martian leader of the invasion in “Plan Nine From Outer Space” has it right. Meet Chesa Boudin, the City on the Bay’s visionary District Attorney, elected in 2019.
Boudin had, it is far to say, no qualifications for the job of the head prosecutor of a major U.S. city with a growing crime problem. He had never prosecuted a case. But then he didn’t think most cases should be prosecuted. He dreamed of something kinder, gentler, that didn’t require anything so crass and mean as “punishment.” His experience with America’s judicial system showed him that there had to be a better way, as Robert Redford’s clueless idealist in “The Candidate” kept saying. He is “the son of jailed Sixties radicals,” and his kind and caring parents are the inspiration for his campaign against what civilizations have known for eons, but America’s progressives have chosen to forget: bad people abound, and if society doesn’t stop them, they will stop society.
In my value system, and one I am proud to say has been consistent on this issue all my life, Chesa Boudin’s parents, his role models, were bad people. They were members of the Weather Underground, a domestic terrorist organization that bombed banks and government buildings, including the US Capitol. They wanted to bring “The Man” down, man. The Weathermen were too mild for Mom and Dad, so they formed the May 19th Communist Organization, more violent and anti-American still. In 1981, the Boudins took part in the armed robbery of a bank truck. A security guard and two policemen were killed, and Chesa’s parents were convicted of felony murder. At the trial, they explained that the stolen $1.5 million was needed to fund the creation of a black nation-state in the American south. Good plan!
This was the inspiration that led chip-off-the-old-block Boudin to the office of the San Francisco District Attorney. The voters are 100% responsible for electing him, and it is tempting to say that they deserve to have their city falling apart around them, except that innocent people are being hurt. Violent criminals who had been recently released by police on parole or when charges were dropped, have been killing people. For example, Hanako Abe and Elizabeth Platt died in a hit-and-run accident caused by a man had been arrested for 73 felonies and 32 misdemeanours in San Francisco alone. He was driving a stolen car while high on crystal meth. 26-year-old newlywed Sheria Musyoka was killed on his morning jog when a drunk career criminal in a stolen truck ran a red light. Another perp police had detained twice this year after domestic violence incidents allegedly killed Synciere Williams, a baby of just nine months.
To be fair, this all is as Boudin promised duringn his campaign, in which he vowed to to end cash bail, vastly reduce the size of the city’s prison population, “reimagine” criminal justice and stop enforcing so-called “quality-of-life” crimes such as prostitution. Wonderful! In a video message at his swearing in ceremony in January 2020, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor told Boudin that “the hope you reflect is a great beacon to many.” After two days in office, he fired seven top prosecutors, replacing them with public defenders. Within months he had released almost 40% of the city’s prisoners. Shockingly–well, to those who voted for him, I guess—homicides have increased sharply, along with burglaries and carjackings. Arson is up by almost 50%. From taking office in 2019 to March of this year, Boudin has tried just 23 cases. For comparison, his predecessor, also a progressive, brought more than ten times as many cases to trial over an equivalent period. Prosecutors in neighboring Alameda county dismissed 11% of felonies brought to them by police; Boudin has dismissed 40%. Of the 131 arrests made for domestic violence in the last three months of 2020, Boudin dismissed all but 20. Nor is he willing prosecute the dealers behind the explosion in fentanyl overdose deaths in the city.
But again, it’s the ethically-addled citizens of San Francisco who are the villains here. In addition to proving their unfitness to govern themselves by voting for Nancy Pelosi, these “idealists” also passed Proposition 47, a 2014 ballot measure that reclassified many elonies including theft of anything worth less than $950 and most drug possession and drug use offenses as misdemeanors. Now shoplifting is so routine that Walgreens closed 17 locations in San Francisco.
You know: social justice! Boudin’s parents, who he regards as heroes “dedicated to fighting US imperialism around the world,” would be so proud.
Now San Franciscans are trying to mount a recall campaign. I hope it fails. Maybe if dreamy-eyed progressives see what happens to what was once one of the nation’s most desirable cities when policies defy reality as it has been revealed over centuries, they will recognize their foolishness and the damage they have done.
We can hope.