[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]
Mark Sumner of the Daily Kos wrote an insightful, revealing blog about Donald Trump’s latest version of himself. It ran under this headline:
Trump Creates an Imaginary Crime Wave to Justify His law and Order Chest Thumping
Now that Donald Trump has adopted another plank from the campaign of George Wallace by declaring himself the “law and order candidate,” he needs some disorder to run against.
Of course, Trump is primarily playing a very familiar tune on a very old dog whistle. That tune is called “The blacks are getting uppity.” His timing of his law and order campaign is intended as a response to Black Lives Matter, and his “inner cities” is a shorthand so well worn Republicans probably have an emoji for it….
Nationwide, crime is down, and it keeps moving down. That’s true across cities of all sizes. What’s increased over the last twenty years is not crime, but our awareness of crime. For good and ill, we now experience shootings on the far side of the country as if they happened on our block.
Art Imitates Life
I liked the early episodes of TV’s Law and Order. The first half-hour was devoted to the cops running down leads and catching the innocents-until-proved-guilty, most of the remainder of the story was filled with courtroom drama where tough-as-dynamite prosecutor Jack McCoy tried to put the bad people in jail for a long time. It was “law,” as in the breaking thereof, then “order,” as in “order in the court.”
As noted above in Sumner’s piece, George Wallace was a law and order candidate for president; he ran proudly under the banner of “segregation now and segregation forever.” Glad he didn’t advance. Richard Nixon first ran as a law and order guy. Abruptly, his VP, Spiro Agnew, was indicted for tax fraud. Under Bill Clinton, three-strikes-and-you’re-in for a long time became the mantra of the tough guys du jour. Today it is Donald Trump whistling at your dog.
Another Daily Kos blogger, Thandisizwe Chimurenga, claims:
Cops Are Safer under President Obama, Whether Critics Like It or Not
I do not mean to conflate crime against cops with crime in general, but Chimurenga’s point shines a bit of light on the overall problem we have dealing with crime in America–whether it is rising or falling. Statistics nuts on both sides can roll out their data to support their respective points of view.
July 7 saw the most deadly violence inflicted on U.S. law enforcement officers since September 11, 2001. Twelve police officers were shot during a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Dallas, Texas. Five of those officers did not survive. Critics of President Barack Obama took the opportunity to once again harangue the president for his alleged tacit support of Black Lives Matter and his alleged lack of support for police….
The Dallas shooting was a jarring, sobering reminder of how precarious the lives of police officers can be, but under Obama—the president harsh critics say does not support law enforcement—police have been the safest they have ever been in decades.
Choose your own statistics, as you will. Conclude what you will from the data you have excavated. I just honestly do not believe that anyone running as a “law and order” candidate for any office is the kind of person I can support. I do want our laws to be obeyed and honored and I do want miscreants taken off the streets. What I do not like is a pretender walking ground upon which he has never trod.
I used the word “pretender” in the previous paragraph. Here is the connection. While I was serving in Vietnam, some of the best and most heroic soldiers I knew were draftees: privates, specialists, and buck sergeants. Some of the worst were RA (Regular Army): NCOs and officers alike. Many of the RAs predominantly worked on their careers, unfortunately for them they got caught in a war. Draftees had no long-term military agenda. Which is precisely what made them better soldiers.
It doesn’t take much to set me off … but … in my experience tough talkers are usually meek walkers. And meek walkers, when it counts in combat, get other soldiers killed. That gets to me.