A window of opportunity opened, shortly after George Floyd’s death, to make some real and good changes in policing, changes that would not only improve relations with minority communities, but would benefit policing as well. I discussed some of those changes in this blog: ending policing-for-profit, reforming and curtailing qualified immunity, revoke nuisance laws that are more about revenue than public safety, and fix the “bad-cop blue-wall” problem by taking on the police unions.

That window was small: such reforms would be challenging. And, it was short: George Floyd was killed on May 25; by the second week of June, “Defund The Police” had displaced the reforms I mentioned and that many were talking about.

And, leadership was lacking. Trump was slow to respond, but this failure was secondary to the colossal abdications by mayors and governors. Much as partisans want to point fingers at the guy at the top, it remains that policing is a local matter, governed by state and local laws, and the changes that would have addressed the conditions that have led to unjust and unnecessary deaths land squarely on the desks of mayors, governors, city councils, and state legislatures.

That those mayors, governors, city councils, and state legislatures are overwhelmingly Democrat is a fact that the Democrats have no interest in promulgating. Indeed, the Democratic National Convention was virtually silent on their failure to do anything, both on the reform front and on the violence and destruction that many of them have tacitly encouraged. Instead, they’ve embraced Black Lives Matter. Not so much the principle (which I support), but the movement and organization that has been co-opted by neo-Marxists who are more interested in the chaos and destruction than in legitimate reforms.

The window closed. Rather, it was slammed shut. People quickly teamed up, chose sides, and drew lines. Suddenly, even the bad cops were being blanket-protected by the “blue lives matter” absolutists, and the good cops were vilified even as they were disempowered by the politicians who run the cities they’re hired and sworn to protect. Meanwhile, the peaceful protests were used as cover by anarchists and amoral opportunists who saw an opportunity to “get theirs” and abandon any precept of community in favor of (self-) destructive rage stoked by cynical rabble-rousers who themselves have no interest in the reforms I mention.

So, now, we have a stark divide, drawn on the usual political lines. The Biden campaign is trying a two-faced tactic, genuflecting mightily to the neo-Marxists (in multiple ways), while trying to, with the selection of Kamala Harris, appeal to the law-and-order suburban moms who are a crucial swing constituency. Biden finally offered a half-hearted and mealy-mouthed “needless violence won’t heal us” comment, as another police shooting in Kenosha, WI sparked its own wave of violence.

Trump has been handed a gift by these failures: He gets to easily stake out the “law and order” side of the matter, without having to climb the difficult political hill of police reform.

Four years ago, a string of unforced errors cost Hillary Clinton a presidential victory that she was cruising to. Four weeks ago, the gambling markets favored Biden over Trump 60% to 37%. That 23 point gap has narrowed to about 10 points, with Trump making daily gains with each night of the GOP convention, and with another night to go, I’d not be surprised that the gap narrows even further.

If Biden loses this election (and I recently flipped my opinion over to believing that Trump is going to win again), the failure to address the violence in multiple Democratically-controlled cities will be a big reason.

But, no matter who wins, I don’t expect any of the reforms that will benefit us all will to happen. That’s a tragedy. George Floyd will remain dead, and the opportunity to prevent future such deaths that outrage over his killing will have been washed away by the usual partisan effluvia.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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