A missed opportunity


My college years were more educational than they seemed at the time. I learned a lot about life during five years of undergrad. 

One thing I learned was about bar fights. You never step in to break up a bar fight. The guys who are fighting will both turn on you, and beat the crap out of you.

We talked about this phenomenon in grander terms in history and political science classes, too. Even natural enemies will band together when an external threat appears. People who were previously hostile to each other will team up to fight the common enemy.

That lesson has not played out this summer in Portland. The original bar fight, which had been going on for many weeks and was a replay of several punch-fests of the past, was between the local police and the city's "political dissidents" (for lack of a better term). The federal Homeland Security geniuses actually stepped into the middle of that bar fight. Given the situation, the Portland cops and the protesters could have joined together against their common enemy. But they didn't. Now the local police look like they're in the middle, between a highly re-energized protester group and the Trump occupying army, with whom the protesters are duking it out.

It was a real blown opportunity for the Portland bureau. The police chief and the police union could have stood up right away and said, "This isn't helping us. Please go home." The chief and the union could have put on a show during the protests, distancing themselves from the scared, incompetent, dangerous boys from the border patrol.

But they didn't. The Portland cops saw other men in uniform wearing badges and carrying sub-machine guns. And they did what cops always do: They stood up for the other guys in uniform rather than for the public.

Oh, the mayor made a speech. The Black city commissioner made a speech. The governor made a speech.  The Congresspeople tweeted and wrote stern letters. But it was too late. The local cops and the feds were obviously working together from the minute the feds arrived, and the protesters saw it. The "acting" Cabinet secretary for the federal security types came to town and met with the police union and assorted cops. The politicians were essentially told to go to hell.

And so the chance to bring the Portland police and the dissidents together, defending their city together against the common external threat from Trumpism, was wasted. The beat goes on, as do the beatings.

Comments

  1. Moved from other post: more relevant here
    Disturbing question thread
    https://twitter.com/drvox/status/1285290801228996609

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  2. I hear a familiar word coming out of federal officials when they talk about this. After all, at first glance the vans full of anonymous troops snatching up citizens off the street, has no possible legal defense. It's straight out of one of those nightmare regimes in South America where the secret police directed by a psycho dictator roam the countryside keeping the citizens in line by making some of them disappear. It's obviously a dumb move politically to try that here as the blowback suggests - I mean if the message is law and order why do this? But I'm more interested in why they think they have the right to do it. And that's why I believe we hear the feds dropping the word. It's "terrorism." The War on Terror was used by some of the same people like Pelosi who's huffing now about storm troopers, to shred our constitutional rights. We're now seeing what that looks like with civil unrest. After 9/11 the US government acquired the right to detain American citizens indefinitely without any access to lawyers, without even informing their families where they were. We were allowed to kill an American teenager from Colorado using a drone without any due process. When activists pointed all this out, the feds indignantly said, "But we'd only use these powers against terrorists to make this country safe. We'd never misuse this." Oh yeah? I'd suggest that detaining a citizen with an unmarked minivan and mysterious soldiers is the fruits of the War on Terror. And that's why the official I heard on TV today made it clear that the protesters weren't just damaging property, setting fires and committing violence against federal officers. No, they were engaging in acts of terrorism. And this self-righteous Congress so upset by what is happening, rolled over and gave up our rights back then, without so much as a whimper.

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    Replies
    1. You are so right. Obama was even in on the act with crazy little things called the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, the USA Freedom Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, and some other crap. And Saint Biden's record on stuff like this is horrendous.

      But you gotta admit, it all goes back to Bush and Cheney preaching about "terr." And everybody (except maybe Gatsby Wyden) nodding along. Somewhere Osama is smiling.

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    2. Which is why I didn't vote for Obama the second time - wrote in myself....

      But I'll vote Biden this time, in spite of past discretions - anyone but the Mad Hatter....

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  3. Perhaps this is also a "dress rehearsal" for November, should our dear leader lose the election but decide to extend his stay, claiming fraud.

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