Today’s Political Comment

Courtesy of Mark Evanier’s blog. Mark said everything that needed to be said in this fine entry. Something that needs to be spread around.

Published Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 12:36 AM.

Rudy Giuliani and other right-wing figures are blaming the recent murder of two New York policemen in part on Barack Obama’s anti-cop rhetoric. Giuliani said, “We’ve had four months of propaganda, starting with the president, that everybody should hate the police.” Trouble is, nobody can cite anything the president has said that fits that description.

The Washington Post fact-checker gave Giuliani’s claims four Pinocchios, their highest lie rating. Politifact gave them a “Pants on Fire,” their highest lie rating.

So what you have here is the old, sleazy trick. Something happens in the news that you think will upset people or can be used to upset them…and you run out and blame it on your political opponents in order to score points against them. There seems to be no tragedy that some people won’t use for this purpose. Giuliani, of course, has exploited 9/11 so much that it’s hard to remember that was a date on which he actually impressed people with his leadership.

We have something like 780,000 police officers in this country. My sense is that well over 95% of them are good men and women who follow procedures and do good for their communities. Still, everyone knows there are some bad ones who perhaps shouldn’t be wearing the uniform. That’s why every police force has an Internal Affairs division or some department that tries — without total success — to weed out the bad ones before they do real damage. [Insert some Jack Webb quote here.]

There ought to be some way to criticize the few bad ones without being accused of hating all police officers and spreading “anti-cop” hatred. But in this country, we always hide our positions behind sacred cows. It’s very hard to criticize any U.S. military policy without being accused of hating the troops.

Personally, I think it’s horrible when any police officer is killed. I also think it’s horrible when any unarmed civilian is killed. Those two views are not mutually exclusive. The latter is probably unavoidable on some occasions but we do have a few recent instances where the necessity seems quite arguable and worthy of investigation and discussion.

And we have people trying to shut down those arguments under the guise of protecting our police. I don’t think it does. I don’t think anything breeds hostility between police officers and those they serve and protect more than the belief that the “fix” is always in; that cops can do any damn thing they want and not be held accountable if they exceed their authority. Too many people believe that and they have too many recent examples to prove it.