Political leaders of every stripe have been decrying the nationwide carnage sparked by a white Minneapolis cop’s fatal confrontation with a black man, George Floyd. Yet even as they do, Democrats — Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Joe Biden and others — are going to lengths to signal that the mayhem is at least sort-of justified.
“Violence is not the answer,” Cuomo declared Saturday, after yet another night of mass arson, looting, Molotov cocktails and assorted other attacks.
Yet in the same breath, he went on and on about how the Floyd case — a sickening, seemingly flat-out racist murder by a cop — was far from an isolated incident.
You are “in denial if you are still treating each one like a unique situation,” he said.
Cuomo fumed about “injustice in the criminal-justice system,” insisting it goes well beyond Floyd. “How many times have we seen the same situation?” he asked. “Yes, the names change, but the color doesn’t.” Indeed, the nation’s history of racism goes back “hundreds of years.”
De Blasio likewise refused to accept protesters’ “agenda of violence.” He called it “dangerous,” “counterproductive” and “not in the tradition of Dr. [Martin Luther] King.”
Yet the mayor, too, provided strong grounds for just that: “The poison of structural racism … haunts the lives of people of color every day,” he said, and we’ve failed to address it in a “deep and meaningful” way. “We can’t go on like this.”
That jibes with his longstanding record of smearing cops as racist.
Joe Biden spoke of “the endless list of stolen potential wiped out unnecessarily,” a list “that dates back more than 400 years. Black men, black women, black children” — and “none of us can be silent.”
President Barack Obama claimed that “for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal.’ ”
If life is truly as grim and hopeless as they say, the odds so heavily stacked against minorities, for so long and despite endless peaceful campaigns, then it’s perfectly understandable that the oppressed would rise up, smash storefronts, set fires, attack cops. Not just to blare a message but to warn whites that there’d be repercussions. Who could blame them?
Besides, if oppression is severe enough, there’s nothing unrighteous about fighting it with violence. American colonists rebelled violently against Britain to gain independence. After “centuries of oppression,” de Blasio explained, people “need to express themselves in the most powerful, present way.”
Only one problem with that argument: America is nothing like the way these leaders portray it and certainly not so heinous as to justify the urban destruction we’ve seen. The nation may be imperfect, but the days of slavery and Jim Crow are long behind us.
Racists abound, but they’re generally reviled. We’ve had a black president, and many of the cities now seeing riots have black mayors and/or black police chiefs.
Cuomo cited some 18 incidents involving cops and blacks, but they spanned nearly 30 years — meaning less than one a year across the entire nation, despite hundreds of millions of police-civilian interactions. And the behavior of most of the cops in even those cases (most notably, the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.) was found to be justified.
As Manhattan Institute expert Heather Mac Donald often notes, the notion that cops are racist as a rule is simply a myth. Studies have shown that white cops are no more likely than black or Hispanic ones to shoot black suspects.
Democrats like Cuomo and de Blasio surely don’t support violence, even in reaction to cases like Floyd’s. But they can’t resist sleazy virtue-signaling.
In so doing, they only fuel the belief that violent resistance is the answer — and ensure that each racial incident will ignite even more of a firestorm than the one before it.