New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is the liberal that all liberals should mimic. He is sticking to the liberal values that got him elected by an overwhelming 73 percent of the vote
. He refuses to attenuate his stance on social justice even as sects within the New York City Police Department are attempting to coerce him into doing so. He remains the stiff-spine liberal that takes no crap
De Blasio clearly was never going to be a hero to NYPD’s rank-and-file leadership. He campaigned in support of a more inclusive department and to rein in stop-and-frisk policing. The NYPD leadership could not quite frame him as an anti-law-and-order liberal because he broke away and supported certain policing methods many liberals were apprehensive about. He did not want to end stop-and-frisk or "broken windows" policing outright—he wanted to use those policies as tools when necessary. This meant, of course, less racial profiling and much less harassment for the sake of showing police authority.
The NYPD rank-and-file leadership thought they got their moment with de Blasio’s comment after police officer Daniel Pantaleo choked Eric Garner to death, which can be read below the fold.
The mayor said the following:
This is profoundly personal to me. I was at the White House the other day, and the president of the United States turned to me, and he met Dante a few months ago, and he said that Dante reminded him of what he looked like as a teenager. And he said I know you see this crisis through a very personal lens. And I said to him, I did. Because Chirlane and I have had to talk to Dante for years about the dangers that he may face. A good young man, law-abiding young man who would never think to do anything wrong. And yet, because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face, we’ve had to literally train him—as families have all over this city for decades—in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.
And that painful sense of contradiction that our young people see first, that our police are here to protect us, and we honor that, and at the same time, there’s a history we have to overcome, because for so many of our young people, there’s a fear. And for so many of our families, there’s a fear. So I’ve had to worry over the years. Chirlane’s had to worry. Is Dante safe each night? There are so many families in this city who feel that each and every night. Is my child safe? And not just from some of the painful realities—crime and violence in some of our neighborhoods—but is safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors.
Patrick Lynch, the thuggish president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, used the mayor’s heartfelt statement as a faux declaration of war. He tried to spin the mayor’s statement as an attack on New York City police officers. The reality is that most Americans and New Yorkers, admittedly or not, know policing tends to be race-biased. Lynch was banking on willful ignorance, hoping for subliminal tribalization.
Lynch believed he got the appropriate opening to turn the screws on the mayor when two NYPD officers were assassinated in cold blood. He gave a speech where his inner thug emerged as he accused the mayor of having blood on his hands and threatened anyone who disagreed with his position.
The mayor did not cower. In a subsequent press conference, de Blasio refused to allow reporters to dictate the Lynch-inspired narrative. He appeared on national TV and defended his reasons for demanding change in policing even as he showed his support for the NYPD.
Some progressive journalists did what many progressives do when they are unsure of outcomes—they cower into criticizing a liberal on a limb. Slate’s Leon Neyfakh wrote a piece, “Bill de Blasio’s Bad Bet,” in which he gave so-called law enforcement experts a platform:
The result of these trends—which are consistent with changes at other big-city police departments around the country, including Los Angeles’ and Chicago’s—is that the racial makeup of New York’s police force is getting close to that of the city’s overall population. This is progress that promises, at least in theory, to improve relations between police and minority communities. But does it also have the potential to make police departments more open to criticism from liberal politicians?
The de Blasio administration seems to have thought the answer was yes. But law enforcement experts say this is a naive way to think about police culture. The idea that race and ethnicity were going to overpower the loyalty that officers feel toward their department and thus translate into good will for the mayor, they argue, was nothing more than wishful thinking.
“[De Blasio] figured that the demographics were in his favor because it’s not all white cops anymore, I guess,” Joe Giacalone, a NYPD detective sergeant who retired in 2012, told me. “What it comes down to is that most cops are ‘blue’ before they’re anything else. That’s what he failed to take into consideration. He doesn’t understand the police culture, which is an us vs. them mentality.”
Neyfakh shows a lack of understanding of human behavior in his piece. Adapting to a culture to remain employed is much different than being of
that culture or accepting of that culture. It is called survival.
De Blasio is playing the long game, betting on what real liberals know. Liberal values are the values most yearn for but are coerced away from. If one keeps one's eyes on the ball and disregards the noise from the weak-minded, ultimately good values win.
It turns out that the NYPD rank and file is not as homogeneous in their response to de Blasio. Lynch’s officers rebelled against him in a recent meeting:
Lynch’s union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), is in turmoil, beset by infighting, according to interviews with more than 40 police officers and union insiders. His support among the rank-and-file is slipping, they said.
On Tuesday, a group of union insiders is set to announce a campaign to unseat him in the upcoming June election, several PBA trustees said. Since being elected in 1999, Lynch, who rose to power on a promise of term limits and reforming a union riven by corruption, has faced scant opposition.
"Pat Lynch has lost the membership,” said police veteran and union delegate Sean Guzerian. "The bosses don’t respect him, and the cops are tired of him. They look at him as a politician, not a police officer." ...
From there, the unrest grew. Board meetings became more acrimonious, several PBA Trustees said.
“Paddy’s become like a dictator,” said union delegate Robert Andersen. “It’s his way or the highway. And that’s the end of it.”
Inasmuch as the “liberal press” has not given de Blasio a break or the benefit of the doubt—except for some New York Times
editorials that excoriated Lynch and the police unions—a recent Quinnipiac poll
has been favorable. It showed that a plurality of New Yorkers can see through the fog.
It is refreshing to watch a liberal that does not compromise values. It is refreshing to see a liberal that bends only when pragmatism dictates it. Most importantly, de Blasio’s methods must be instructive to cowering liberals who would compromise their values, compromises that have been proven failures over and over again. The Bill de Blasios of this country must be propped up by us all in the real independent media. After all, the "liberal media" and the traditional mainstream media are busy castigating liberals while they build up failed policies of everyone else.