NYC and America were rocked when two NYPD officers were “assassinated” last week. The reasons for the killings by troubled Ismaaiyl Brinsley were a mix of mental instability and a response to the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Kevin Gardner in NYC.
It is hard to say what ultimately caused Brinsley to go after these particular NYPD officers. But, what appears clear is that the conversation the “New Left” has fostered of late, has not helped defuse the situation. But first, let me define what makes up the New Left.
The New Left is a combination of old school race baiting Democrats and the populist (ie. socialist) tendencies of the most progressive elements in the Democratic Party. The race-baiters can best be seen in Al Sharpton, who not hours after the slayings, held a news conference saying he was scared and all whites were racist because a few people threatened him. The more progressive elements can be seen in Elizabeth Warren’s railing against Wal-Street and Bill De Blasio’s all over the map statements; evils of Wal-Street, rich should pay more, etc.
NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio deserves special attention though. Elected on the heels of Republicans Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg’s successfull tough on crime stances (including lefty ideas like gun control), De Blasio railed against police policies like “stop and frisk.” In his 74% landslide election he dominated majority-minority NYC while losing many affluent white areas. Today, the city appears more polarized than ever.
Thus, it should come as little surprise this progressive wonder boy decided to wade into the conversation on the police and race. First, De Blasio could not keep his mouth shut when Eric Garner was killed accidentally by cops for selling cigarettes illegally (“I can’t breathe”). Specifically, “We have initiated a comprehensive plan to retrain the entire NYPD to reduce the use of excessive force and to work with the community.” That is not terrible. But it feeds into a narrative the police and many in the city have of the mayor which I will get to in a second.
He was not done. A day after the Garner decision the mayor, speaking about his biracial son said, “We have had to talk to Dante for years about the dangers that he may face.” Further, “For so many of our young people, there’s a fear. And for so many of our families, there’s a fear.”
The Left ate up his message as if it came from on high. But to many in NYC, particularly the police, and the rest of the nation it sounded like an attack on the police. Personally, it sounded like one to me. Especially the part that came after when he said he and his wife have had to talk to their son about how to deal with the NYPD. You know, the same force that is assigned to protect Dante everyday.
Following these comments protests erupted nationwide and one garnered special attention for it’s use of colorful language. A crowd of protesters singing “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now!” Such a good exercise of the 1st Amendment.
Maybe the protestors fit into the New Left. Maybe they are the fringe elements. But it shows the social and policy consequences of the policies and language that leading figures in the movement use. It also shows Bill’s policies have torn the city apart leaving the police, whites and wealthy on one side and the mayor and minorities on the other.
A mayor elected with 74% of the vote has successfully divided a city that was able to be united under his predecessors. Division under De Blasio is nothing new. His entire campaign was centered around the idea the wealthy were evil (not paying enough), the cops were racist (stop and frisk) and that injustice was a common practice in the city. Combining this with De Blasio’s prior comments it is easy to see why he has alienated the police and many in the city.
Socially, such language rips at the fabric of our nation. For all the racial progress America has made it is becoming ever more consumed by race relations. Our politics, ideologies and values are becoming increasingly tied to race. Differences are highlighted and similarities ignored.
Policy-wise, it ignores all the good cops across the country do every day, the prevalence of black on black violence and the reasons for why such violence is occurring in the first place. The policy ideas of the New Left like gun control have been disproven in Chicago and it is not exactly a new idea. Their ideas on abortion…well, don’t get me started.
The division New Leftist ideas have fostered in NYC is clear and could occur nationally. When De Blasio entered a Brooklyn hospital to pay his respects to the murdered officers, police turned their backs on the mayor. Former Republican NY state and city officials public criticized the mayor. Among them, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch, who said the blood of Ramos and Liu can be found leading up to the steps of City Hall.
Such division the mayor has fostered, dating back to his 2013 campaign, could easily lead to the same scenario nationally. Other big city, blue mayors like Rahm Emanuel have adopted a tough on crime and close stance with their police forces. It has actually paid off like “stop and frisk” has in NYC. De Blasio, on the other hand is taking the divisive course.
Repairing such rifts is hard in NYC and would be virtually impossible nationally. De Blasio is obviously clueless about why such anger exists in his police force. Gee, maybe it is because your 2013 electoral strategy is not a good one to govern with. Division and race may be a good electoral strategy. But it is not good policy.