Showing posts with label Minneapolis City Council. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Minneapolis City Council. Show all posts

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot gets special police protection: "I have a right to make sure my home is secure": Friggin' A!

Chicago has endured a crime wave all summer. Murder rates and shootings have accelerated. Last week, rioters looted stores in the city's luxury shopping district--"the Magnificant Mile."

Critics accuse Mayor Lori Lightfoot of allowing crime to get out of control, but now she too is being threatened by violence. According to news reports, Mayor Lightfoot and her neighborhood are getting special personal protection from the police.

This is how the mayor explained her decision to beef up security for herself and her family.
We are living in very different times and I've seen the threats that have come in, and I have an obligation to keep my home, my wife, my 12-year-old, and my neighbors safe . . . I think that residents of [Chicago], understanding the nature of the threats we are receiving on a daily basis, understand that I have a right to make sure my home is secure.
To which I say, "friggin' A," which is slang talk meaning strong affirmation (according to Urban Dictionary).

Like Mayor Lightfoot, the Minnesota City Council also believes its members have a right to be safe. Three of them are getting personal security at the city's expense, even while the Council is trying to defund the police.

 So perhaps we can all affirm at least one basic principle: Americans have the right to keep their homes and families safe in their own neighborhoods.

Or perhaps we don't agree on that. Municipal officials in Portland, Oregon, have tolerated riots, arson, vandalism, and looting for almost three months.  Seattle allowed a so-called autonomous zone to establish itself in its downtown district for several weeks, although I think that thing finally fizzled out. Even nihilists get tired of living in their own feces after awhile.

But most of us--including Mayor Lightfoot, the Minnesota City Council, and me--believe we should feel safe in our homes.  So let's expand that concept out a little bit.

Why do Nancy Pelosi and other national-level politicians (including Republicans, of course) get personal security from armed guards while the rest of us crouch behind locked doors? Why does Governor Cuomo have round-the-clock police protection while the state of New York tries to shut down the NRA? Is our politicians' safety more important than the safety of their constituents?

And why do you suppose non-criminal Americans have gone on an unprecedented gun-buying spree? Why is there a run on shotgun ammunition?

We know the answer to those two questions. Because Americans don't feel safe, and too many of them are not safe.

I have some young relatives--a married couple--who live in New Orleans and have two pre-school children. Both work in the hospitality industry and contribute to the economic life of the city. After their apartment was burglarized, the couple bought a home in the Ninth Ward.

Within a month of moving in, one of their cars was stolen. Unfortunately, someone left the house key in that car. The next night, burglars got into their home with a stolen key, grabbed the key to their second car, and stole it too!

What do our urban politicians have to say to people like my young relatives? Your life doesn't matter?

At least they would be telling the truth. Our urban politicians are endangering the safety and happiness of people who want to live, work, and raise their children in safe and prosperous cities. Instead, our so-called public servants are coddling the criminals who prey on decent Americans.

I just don't understand.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot: "I have a right to make sure my home is secure."

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Not all white people live in a "place of privilege": Minneapolis City Council wants to dismantle the police department

Okie use' ta mean you was from Oklahoma.  Now it means you're a dirty son-of-a-bitch. Okie means you're scum.
John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath 

Last month, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to dismantle the municipal police force and replace it with an agency that will address crime more holistically. I take it that means more social workers and fewer guns.

Although the city council wants to deny police protection to the citizens of Minneapolis, some officials still want it for themselves. The city hired a private security firm to protect three council members at the cost of $4,500 a day. In other words, security for me but not for thee.

A CNN reporter asked Lisa Bender, president of the Minneapolis City Council, what people are supposed to do if their homes are being burglarized. "What if in the middle of the night my home is broken into," the reporter asked. "Who do I call?" 

Bender basically said the police aren't necessary to deal with a home invasion because if you're calling 911 to report a burglary, you're coming from a "place of privilege."  By privilege, I think Bender meant white privilege. 

If I follow her reasoning aright, Bender is basically arguing that white people don't deserve police protection from theft because they (or perhaps their ancestors) benefited unfairly from our society's structural racism.

But of course, that's bullshit. 

As far as I know, my family hasn't exploited anybody. My great grandfather on my father's side worked in a brick factory in England. Sometime in the 1880s, he immigrated to Canada with his wife and children and finally wound up in Kansas. No slaves on that side of my family.

My mother's people emigrated from Germany before the American Revolution. They settled in Pennsylvania, and several of my ancestors fought in George Washington's army. No slaves or racial exploitation on the German side of my family.

Even if you buy the tortured argument that my ancestors engaged in racial exploitation simply because they were white beneficiaries of a racist society, they certainly paid for that sin. Both sets of my grandparents lived in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression and suffered greatly. 

Although my immediate ancestors did not migrate to California during the 1930s, many of their relatives and acquaintances did. Much like today's Mexican immigrants, Oklahomans uprooted themselves and headed to the Golden State in search of a better way of life.

And when they rolled up to the California border in their broken-down cars, the state police would not let them enter. These economic refugees were referred to as Okies--a term almost as derogatory as the N-word.

Think of that: Today's California politicians want to abolish all immigration laws and allow anyone to enter the country--even criminals. But in the 1930s, the Californians denied entrance to American citizens who just wanted to work and feed their families.

American history is tainted with systemic racism to be sure. Africans were enslaved in the South, Chinese workers were abused in the West, and the Irish were exploited in the East. And if you want to know how the Okies fared in 1930s California, view John Ford's great movie, The Grapes of Wrath

But today, in the second decade of the 21st century, we all deserve to be treated equally and with respect. And if someone breaks into our homes, don't we all deserve police protection?

Okies, keep out of California.