Commentary

The Real World Reasserts Itself

By Patrick J. Buchanan | August 11, 2020 | 4:46am EDT
Tear gas fills the air in Portland, Oregon, as protests, often violent or destructive, enter a third month. (Photo by ALISHA JUCEVIC/AFP via Getty Images)
Tear gas fills the air in Portland, Oregon, as protests, often violent or destructive, enter a third month. (Photo by ALISHA JUCEVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

Since the death of George Floyd beneath the knee of a cop in Minneapolis on Memorial Day, the nation has been instructed by its cultural elites that this is the daily reality that a racist America has too long ignored.

Our nation, it was shouted in our faces, is a place where white cops harass, brutalize, assault and kill Black Americans regularly and with impunity.

"Defund the police!" the Black Lives Matter demand went out, to be echoed and re-echoed by BLM's amen corner of progressive elites.

The pendulum may be swinging back, for this weekend reintroduced us to the old familiar world.

In Washington, D.C., about midnight Saturday, at a block party in the Southeast sector of the city, three shooters fired 100 rounds, wounded 20, killed a teenager and left a female police officer in critical condition.

It appears to have been an attempted massacre, a slaughter.

"More than 115 people have been slain in the District this year, a 17 percent increase over this time in 2019, which ended the year with a decade high," reports The Washington Post.

D.C.'s numbers, however, pale by comparison to Chicago, where this weekend recorded 32 more people shot, with three dead.

According to the Sun-Times, there were 106 homicides in the city in July, a single-month body count almost equal to the toll D.C. has piled up in all of the first seven months of 2020.

A disproportionate number of the dead and wounded are Black Americans, and a disproportionate number of the shooters and killers are Black men.

If black lives matter, where is Black Lives Matter?

Rarely in these stories of shootings and killings does one read that the dead were the victims of rogue cops or white supremacists.

Indeed, the front page of Monday's New York Times gave voice to the city's Black and Hispanic leaders who are objecting to a proposed $1 billion cut in the police budget. The people in high-crime precincts, for whom these leaders speak, want more, not fewer, cops on the beat.

Even Portland, Oregon, which has been indulging nightly protests since the killing of George Floyd, seems to be awakening to the real world.

When the Department of Homeland Security pulled its agents out of Portland and handed the defense of the Mark Hatfield federal courthouse to the state police, the "peaceful protesters" shifted their attention to the city's buildings and Portland Police Bureau's East Precinct.

With police personnel corralled inside, the East Precinct was barricaded with cars and wooden planks, and an attempt was made to set it afire by throwing flaming objects into the building.

Mugged by reality, Mayor Ted Wheeler seems to have belatedly awakened to the character of the protesters he has been coddling:

"When you commit arson with an accelerant in an attempt to burn down a building that is occupied by people whom you have intentionally trapped inside, you are not demonstrating, you are attempting to commit murder."

Equally problematic: "You will be creating the B-roll film that will be used in ads nationally to help Donald Trump during his campaign."

Portland police union president Daryl Turner was enraged at what he had seen. "I am disgusted that our City has come to this," said Turner. "If it is acceptable for rioters to... try and burn down occupied buildings, and if this conduct is allowed to continue, then Portland is lost."

Wheeler, having gotten the message the rioters have been trying to deliver, finally ordered his city's police to do "what is necessary" to quell the rioting, even if it means using tear gas.

What has happened in Portland, and across much of America, was predictable, and predicted.

First, the progressives tolerate and even celebrate civil disobedience, because the cause is just and noble. Then, to hold onto public attention, the protesters march and block traffic. Next comes the cursing of cops, the throwing of trash, water bottles and rocks. Then there's the smashing of store windows, looting and arson, and Molotov cocktails. Finally, there's instigating violence with cops to get footage of police fighting back so the law enforcement officers can be painted by the progressive press as stormtroopers and the Gestapo.

In Portland, we reached the point where "peaceful protesters" tried to set a building ablaze with cops barricaded inside.

This, as the mayor said, is attempted murder.

Today, people watch their leaders in city after city fail to keep the peace and restore order as protesters riot at will, and they make plans to move out. In the suburbs and country, they quietly observe the inability of cops to quell the violence, and they buy guns.

While the right backs Trump's stand for law and order, the ultimate battle here may be between liberal Democrats elected to, and failing to, run the cities, and the radical left and Marxists who welcome their failure as they intend to kick the liberals down the stairs.

(Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.")

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