The left and the right have been battling it out for months over who can freak out average Americans the most. Regular Americans were definitely not impressed by the photos of team QAnon in capes and horn helmets posing in the U.S. Capitol. Normal Americans may be mad at Washington, but they love our country and don’t want to see national monuments turned into a freak party. People had the same reaction when angry left-wing rioters defaced war monuments to our nation’s heroes in Washington last summer.
The question for leading Republicans and Democrats is who has the strength to pull away from the whack-job parts of their respective bases and capture the American voter who, at this point, is just searching for the least-crazy solution. This week, the Democrats seem to have ceded that voter back to the Republicans.
It shouldn’t be a newsflash, but we need the police. The whole “defund” idea is crazy. It also shouldn’t have to be said that the majority of police are honorable, hardworking people trying to do a really hard job, which includes putting their lives on the line for relatively low compensation. We owe them a debt of gratitude. And if our political leaders treat the police too unfairly, they may just drive some of these honorable police officers out of the business altogether.
People have noticed the scorn the left holds for police. It hurt Democrats at the ballot box this past election, and it will hurt them more this next election. None of this is to say that there are no problems in American policing or that we have no racist police. There are problems; there are racist police; and there are legitimate reforms worth debating. The left’s proposed solutions, however, are reflective of an anti-police mindset. That may work for the patrons of antifa bars in Portland, Oregon, but it won’t fly nationally, even in 2021.
It especially won’t fly in Black and Hispanic communities, which tend to have higher crime rates. When Minneapolis cut its police force last year, many citizens of minority neighborhoods complained. They know the value of an effective police presence. Democrats with private security who live in safe neighborhoods can pitch nutty “defund the police” ideas all they want without bearing the consequences. In fact, commentary like this from the left is driving some of these voters into the arms of a Republican Party that is still too inept and too devoid of leadership to devise a policy that would take advantage of this dynamic.
This week, the tragic shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant by a Columbus, Ohio, police officer became the latest racial controversy. Similar to the George Floyd tragedy, the facts of this case were on film and available for anyone to analyze. While the Floyd video left viewers feeling anger at the officer (now convicted), the video in the Columbus case left the opposite impression. Contrary to the initial news reports, the shooting victim was not unarmed; she was not only armed but also attempting to stab another young girl as the officer approached. We may find out more, but from the video alone, there is at least a strong case this officer acted out of necessity.
The insanity of the American left was on full display in the wake of the Bryant video. National news outlets like The Washington Post and The New York Times put out headlines and tweets, even after the bodycam video, that failed to mention Bryant was armed with a knife and lunging at another young girl when shot. National celebrities such as Lebron James attacked the police officer personally even after the knife video was made public. There’s a huge difference between a story about a police officer shooting an unarmed Black girl and a story about a police officer shooting someone about to stab an unarmed Black girl with a large knife. Crazy does not begin to describe the sort of attitude that would ignore that.
Race is the single most sensitive issue in our country. Neighborhoods have burned; businesses have been looted; and people have been killed in race riots. The police officer in question is a real person, not some cable news character. His life is now in danger, largely because the media and celebrities have mischaracterized his actions by omitting key facts. Purposely withholding facts that could help diffuse a racial situation is beyond radical, but many public figures are doing it.
It’s hard to understand why news organizations and celebrities would want to stoke racial unrest so much that they would twist the facts to do it. There aren’t many explanations for that sort of behavior. Ratings are down post-Trump, so maybe they can’t resist sensationalizing the story as much as possible. That would be a pretty cynical perspective. A dominant theory on the right is that stoking racial division is the left’s only hope for building a majority political coalition. That’s even more cynical, but the actions this week don’t lead to many other viable theories.
America is still pretty evenly divided along political lines, but Democrats hold the power in Washington. President Joe Biden indicated a strong understanding of this during his inaugural call for national unity. Yet he — or his staff — seems to be doing everything possible to push away from that unity agenda. Voters will decide, starting in two years, if this push to the hard left is what they want. I wouldn’t bet on that.