Will the images of anarchy and disorder pouring out of Portland, Oregon, and the waves of gun violence and crime sweeping through New York and Chicago negatively impact the growing political fortunes of the left?
They could. Hence the effort to present the deployment of federal law enforcement in Portland and elsewhere as the emergence of American “fascism”.
Let’s be clear here: there are federal law enforcement officers “deployed” in every city in the United States, and federal authorities responsible for the protection of federal buildings in those cities. Local and federal officials collaborate on a daily basis in working groups on issues that transcend jurisdictional boundaries.
Only the most radical of us, from the far left to the far right, see it as a fundamental problem – and generally speaking, that’s because we think law enforcement itself is unjust in itself.
Given this fact – and the fact that it is usually liberals and leftists who demand federal intervention in local law enforcement matters (especially those having to do with race) – we have the right to ask us for the goodwill of those who suddenly embrace the glories of state rights.
One word suffices as an explanation: Trump. If the federal intervention in Portland and elsewhere can be successfully characterized by Trump’s enemies as some sort of neofascist ploy, the danger these images could pose to liberal hopes in November could be neutralized to some extent.
There is no doubt that President Trump wants to use this civilian decline in blue-ruled Portland as a political weapon in his re-election effort. But could a president ignore seven weeks of street-level chaos in a city of 650,000 people, the 26th largest in the country? Did President Barack Obama ignore it? Did President Bill Clinton ignore it?
The primary mission of federal agents in Portland is to protect federal assets. Recall that the worst event of Bill Clinton’s presidency was the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City by national terrorist Timothy McVeigh.
For the next quarter of a century, and with the intervention of September 11, ensuring that federal offices and federal property are safe from terrorists, foreign and domestic, has been a key responsibility. And we’ve all seen the footage of these Portland barbarians doing all they could to rip through the plywood to hit the glass windows and get inside the federal building to wreak havoc.
The barbarians are what they are. Thugs without faith or law. And yet their actions are apparently not worth criticizing, not when one can caricature the actions of federal law enforcement as if they were “disappeared” enemies of the regime in Argentina in the 1980s.
There is a bizarre idea in the air that a horrific crime against humanity was committed because they were driving through town in “unmarked vans” – as if it was somehow unsportsmanlike not to warn enough. the rioters with bright colors and clear letters which they should run away from.
Likewise, we were told, they would take people from the streets in vans and run away with them at night – when in fact they would arrest them, read their rights to them, interrogate them and release them.
The gap between sober reality – of professionals trying to maintain order amid psychotic madness – and dystopian, teen-enlightened fantasies promulgated by elite hysterics is startling.
Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi actually called federal agents “stormtroopers.”
How dare she. How dare she.
It’s almost as if she and her ilk knew that what we are all seeing could trigger such revulsion and fear among the great American milieu that it could disrupt Joe Biden’s seemingly clear trajectory to the White House. It’s disturbing to them, and they try to change the plot. And because they dominate the airwaves, their narrative works in the short term.
But that same story might contain the seeds of their disappointment. Because if that prevails and the forces of gratuitous destruction feel empowered to continue, be careful.