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Tag: defund police

Across America, The Vast Majority Of Democrats Reject 'Woke' Excess

To hear some people tell it, the Democratic Party is overrun with far-left culture warriors preaching “identity politics” and what Kevin Drum calls “semi-insane levels of wokeness.”

No less an eminence than James Carville, the political consultant, recently sounded off on the theme to a New York Times columnist. Democrats, he warned, need to shed the image of being an “urban, coastal, arrogant party” indulging in “faculty lounge politics” and employing racialized code words like “Latinx” which no normal person of any ethnicity uses.

Do such persons exist? Absolutely. And many inhabit college liberal arts departments, where being persnickety about “gendered” language can reach near-comical levels. I’ll not soon forget being scolded from the audience at a college talk for using the word “murderess” to describe a character in my book Widow’s Web who’d committed two homicides.

So, is “murderer” an honorific, I wondered? (Indeed, I’d argue that “murderess” is a far stronger word, as it’s men that do most of the killing. Or would have argued, if the point had been worth making, which under the circumstances, it wasn’t.)

But I digress: Back to crackpot Democrats. Washington Post opinion writer Matt Bai recently published a column pronouncing himself “utterly repulsed from the mainstream of both parties”—Republicans because they’ve become “more a celebrity fan club than a political organization” that “would, if left to its own devices, destroy the foundation of the republic.”

And, Democrats because they’ve become what he calls “arbiters of language… constantly issuing Soviet-style edicts about which terms are acceptable and which aren’t…a tactic used for controlling the debate and delegitimizing critics.”

So one party’s gone fascist, while the other calls people bad names. And these things are equally objectionable?

Sounds like somebody’s been getting ugly emails.

Bai argues that by embracing the politics of racial identity, Democrats have become a sort of mirror image of white supremacists: “instead of trying to restore some obsolete notion of a White-dominated society, they seek vengeance under the guise of virtue.”

And this, in turn, means that persons like himself, indeed “the broad center of the American electorate--traditional conservatives and liberals both—no longer [have] a political home.”

To which my response is: Does this guy even read the newspapers? Because on the planet where I live, things basically work like this: Democrats reject extremists and vote them out; the other guys embrace them.

Take, for example, the single dumbest political slogan in recent American history: “Defund the Police.” Have Democrats, broadly speaking, endorsed it?

Well, President Joe Biden hasn’t. Quite the opposite. As Eric Levitz points out in New York magazine:

“Through the American Rescue Plan, Biden sent $350 billion in fiscal aid to states and cities. He then encouraged municipalities to invest those funds into expanding police departments. Nearly half of America’s 20 largest cities have followed Biden’s advice.”

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, heavily Democratic Minneapolis put the question on the ballot. A proposal to replace the city’s police department with a “Department of Public Safety” lost decisively.

Even more reliably Democratic New York City has recently elected a new mayor: an ex-cop of the African-American persuasion who promises sterner and more efficient law enforcement everywhere he goes.

Which appears to be exactly what the Black community, broadly speaking, supports. Although most have few illusions about police brutality, it’s Black neighborhoods that bear the brunt of wild-west style shootouts in the streets between groups of armed hoodlums. Calling preachers and social workers rarely helps over the short term. Crusading lawyers on CNN denouncing everybody as racists aren’t much practical use either.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to call the cops. What’s needed aren’t fewer police officers, but more and better ones. The great majority of Democratic voters understand that.

Or consider San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi’s hometown and as loyally Democratic a constituency as exists in the USA. Voters there just removed three almost comically “woke” school board members in a recall election by margins of more than seventy percent.

Chinese-American voters in particular grew angry with a board which kept San Francisco schools closed due to Covid while schools opened successfully all across the country; which changed admissions policy at a prestigious high school from merit to a lottery (thereby removing the “prestige” part altogether); and which changed the names of schools commemorating George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, among other “racist” offenders.

‘It’s hard to escape the conclusion that a lot of San Franciscans have climbed off the woke bandwagon—or were never wholeheartedly on it” writes Gary Kamiya in The Atlantic.

In short, far from showing that Democratic voters even in liberal inner sanctums are eager to practice Carville’s feared “faculty lounge” politics, it proves the exact opposite. Maybe the party’s biggest problem isn’t so much its policies or its rank and file voters as the way people talk about it.

Demand Justice, But Stand Up For Law And Order Too

The conversation started on a long Uber ride. The driver, originally from Colombia, said he knows a lot of Colombians living in the U.S. "without papers." He argued that they are good people paying taxes and should be left alone. I responded that I believe they are good people paying taxes but our immigration laws should be respected.

He then said, to my surprise, "I kind of like Donald Trump." Why, I asked. He went on heatedly about the riots that followed the killing of George Floyd. He thought Trump was more serious about restoring order.

The public really dislikes civic chaos. Democrats, you need to address this more forthrightly.

It matters not that only 6 percent of the racial justice rallies from May through October of last year saw violence. Nor is the intention to downplay troubling cases of police brutality. And let's not forget that the most outrageous incident of savage lawlessness, the Jan. 6 rampage on the Capitol, was staged by the Republican right wing.

It's just that the right talks a big game on maintaining law and order while some on the left leave the impression that Democrats don't care so much. The liberal media tend to give these radical voices outsized attention, which the right-wing media happily scoops up.

Thus, we hear stupid calls to "Abolish ICE" (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the agency tasked with stopping cross-border crime and illegal entry. And there are demands to "defund police," which President Joe Biden and the vast majority of Democrats totally oppose.

I recently had dinner with progressive friends who were angry over the violent demonstrations in the liberal strongholds of Portland and Seattle. They complained that the rioters' destructive behavior — and the apparent toleration of it by cowardly local officials — was helping elect Republicans opposed to their progressive values. And they were right.

The recurring mayhem in Portland has become a sport for punks. Though they may invoke the usual woke causes, they are performers out for thuggish "fun." And though they often riff on "identity politics," the few who get arrested are almost all young and white.

Earlier this month, May Day demonstrations brought another fresh round of havoc to Portland. Buildings were damaged and windows smashed. Garbage piling in the streets prompted The Oregonian to rename the city "Dumptown."

Seattle is still recovering from the fallout of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, several blocks that city leaders astonishingly made off-limits to police last year. Early on, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan naively told CNN, "We could have the summer of love." Not quite. The area was tormented by rapes, assaults, burglaries, vandalism and shootings.

The Economist recently pointed to a study strongly suggesting that last year's civic disorder cost Democrats support in November. Biden's share of the vote, it noted, was lower in and around Kenosha, Wisconsin, than in similar places in the state. The apparent reason were the ugly riots that followed the Kenosha police shooting of a black man.

A poll of New York City voters has crime as the No. 1 issue. More than 60 percent of those responding said they wanted to raise the New York City Police Department's budget and hire more cops. The top-polling mayoral candidate is Eric Adams, a former police officer and the current Brooklyn borough president. When his chief rival, Andrew Yang, bashed the movement to defund police, Adams countered that he himself had bashed the movement first.

In Los Angeles, meanwhile, Mayor Eric Garcetti recently swatted down the noisy activists, saying, "If you want to abolish the police, you're talking to the wrong mayor."

This is how people in America's liberal cities feel. It's time the rest of America knew it.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

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