Preconceived Notions Are Hard To Break, And The One Here Is Democrats = Crime
The United States is on the brink of civil war.
I don’t think we can look at what happened in Kenosha, Wisconsin in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting, and in Portland, Oregon this weekend and conclude anything else. Two sides – white supremacist-aligned groups supporting Donald Trump on one side, and Black Lives Matter and socialist causes, along with anarchists and radicals who align themselves, often not welcomed, with those movements, on the other, are facing off; and its turning ugly.
But as violence erupts around the country, and Donald Trump helps fan the flames, the online punditry has reduced themselves to asking: “Is this good for Trump? Will this get him reelected?”
The administration isn’t even coy about thinking this is good for him; Kellyanne Conway even said so this past week. It seems counterintuitive to think the country descending into chaos and violence is somehow good for the incumbent president, but now we have even Democrats making the case that violence is good for the incumbent president who can’t seem to stop the violence and worrying it will turn the tide of the November election toward Trump.
What we should ask ourselves is this. Why is it when there’s violence, it’s the Democrats who bear the blame?
Trump is President, doesn’t the buck stop with him? He could send federal enforcement in if he wants to, with or without local approval. He did it in June and it just made the situation worse. Remember the gassing of the protestors in Washington, D.C.? He’s not doing it again because he wants his hands clean of this and because he doesn’t want it to blowback on him when the problem escalates.
He’s intentionally sitting back and letting the powder keg explode because he knows we’ve internalized the preconceived notion that “Republican = law and order; Democrat = crime” from decades of propaganda even when the correlation doesn’t actually apply in the real world. We have surrendered to the narrative without even questioning it. Trump could start a fire and get caught holding the match and people would blame Democrats for letting the house burn, because, why? Republicans put out the fires in the past and Democrats didn’t? We’ve allowed a narrative to take hold that Republicans, and only Republicans, are good for law and order and security, when it reality, there’s little evidence that this is true. In New York City, Rudy Giuliani is credited with reducing crime, when crime actually began dropping three years before he become mayor. Had Bloomberg left office at the end of 2009 when he was supposed to, he would’ve left with a higher crime rate than when he took office on Jan. 1, 2002. Ronald Reagan is credited with ending the Cold War, even though it was economic and military decisions the Soviets made before he was president that likely did the most fatal damage to them. Reagan, meanwhile, got us caught in quagmires around the world and used our military might to help build and strengthen organizations – like Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s Baathist Party, to fight Communism and Iran – that later blew back on us and pulled us into costly wars in the 2000s. Speaking of the 2000s, were we any less safe and secure for invading Iraq and creating the power vacuum in the Middle East that lead to the rise of ISIS? It was Republicans Nixon and Reagan who created the economic and social policies that exacerbated poverty, drug abuse and defunded public education in urban areas that lead to crime in cities in the first place. How is it that THEY are the “law and order” and “security” party?
“But the cities/states are run by Democrats!” Yeah, and? These Democrats aren’t running for president. They’re also not doing any better job than Trump did when he did sent in law enforcement. Maybe the problem isn’t that we haven’t crushed them hard enough? Maybe a stronger law enforcement response only makes it worse? Why is the answer for civil unrest always “how do we crush it?” and not “what is causing it and can we do something to make it stop?” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., while condemning violence, once said “the riot is the voice of the unheard.” Have you ever slammed on a table because no one was listening to you or punched a wall because you felt unheard? Now apply that to thousands of people. Same concept.
How much of the unrest is because of police brutality caused by decades of police forces recruiting white supremacists that Trump, and Republicans, have not only done nothing about, but has quietly encouraged it? How much of it is because of the social and economic disruption caused by the pandemic Trump fucked up responding to? How much of it is because we did not provide a social safety net to catch the millions whose livelihoods were thrown into turmoil by the pandemic? There is no logical reason why people should want to vote for the incumbent when there’s mass civil unrest under that person’s presidency and there’s no logical reason why we should accept that they would. The civil unrest is based solely on issues Trump has only exacerbated as president. It won’t get better if he’s reelected, it will just get worse.
What would Trump do different in his second term that he isn’t already doing? Especially when his opponents are the guy who, for better or worse, wrote the Crime Bill credited with dramatically lowering crime and a star prosecutor who put criminals behind bars. Why would voting for Biden cause more looting and riots? Simply because he’s a Democrat? Have we taken a moment to consider that maybe electing someone who may do something about the underlying reasons for unrest would do more to stop the violence than sending in more men with guns? History tells us there are two ways to quell civil unrest: Either make progress toward the demands of those speaking out, or slaughter them by the hundreds or thousands. If you want to try the former, vote for Biden. If you want to try for the latter, vote for Trump.
I can’t tell you who will benefit from this politically, or if it will even still be an issue in a month. There’s still a pandemic going on. We will cross the 200,000 dead threshold from COVID before the country starts voting and another wave is not out of the question. But as far as civil unrest, I can tell you one thing: We may have more unrest if Biden wins, but we definitely WILL have it if Trump wins.