In one of the starkest examples of how mob rule has taken over the Land of the Free, #defundthepolice is now rapidly moving from being just a hash tag, to becoming a reality.
9 out of the 12 members of the Minneapolis City Council (which is a veto-proof majority that can easily override the city’s boy mayor) pledged yesterday to completely dismantle its police department.
According to the city council president, being able to call the police “comes from a place of privilege,” and therefore must be abolished.
Actually, genius, being able to call the police comes from tax revenue… as in the money that voters pay in exchange for public services.
It’s not just Minneapolis. Across the country, cries to defund the police are growing… even though there’s no consensus about what the term even means.
For some, it means demilitarization of the police. For others, it means reducing police responsibilities, and reducing their funding accordingly. For others, it means abolishing the police altogether.
But even without a clear idea of what the concept means, the Twitter mob has already pressured politicians into taking action.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti bowed to the pressure and pledged to slash $150 million from the police budget.
The New York City’s politburo, Comrade de Blasio, also promised to make substantial cuts to the NYPD budget.
Other local governments across the country, from San Francisco to Philadelphia to Baltimore, are considering similar moves.
And Congress has a stack of bills that it’s furiously moving forward.
This is all truly remarkable. There’s suppose to be system in place– I read about it somewhere, I think it’s called ‘democracy’ or something like that– where people vote for leaders who are supposed to represent their interests when making public policy decisions.
But this is mob rule, plain and simple. The Twitter mob decides public policy now. Not politicians. And certainly not voters.
And if you don’t grovel and capitulate to the mob, even when there’s no consensus on what the mob actually wants, then you get vilified by their rage.
It’s like #metoo all over again.
In late 2017, the actor Matt Damon, who committed an egregious crime of being born with a penis, told an interviewer that there’s a “spectrum” of sexual harassment:
“There’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt, and rape… or child molestation. Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated.”
Seems reasonable. Damon had an opinion… and his opinion was that molesting a child was worse than inappropriately patting a woman on the butt.
But reason didn’t matter to the Twitter mob, who immediately blasted Damon as a hetero-normative patriarchal misogynist. He later apologized, apparently for being logical, and groveled to the mob for forgiveness.
Today’s mob is far more hostile.
When Minneapolis’ boy mayor Jacob Frey rejected calls to abolish the police over the weekend, he was forced into a literal walk of shame when the marauding crowd screamed “GET THE F^#K OUT OF HERE” and waived their middle fingers in unison.
Frey left the stage and sullenly retreated through the crowd while the masses chanted, “Shame! Shame! Shame!”
Then there’s Drew Brees, one of the NFL’s all-time great quarterbacks whose entire career has been one of professionalism, integrity, and humble service.
Brees has given millions of dollars to his local community, including a $5 million pledge this year alone to help put food on the table for struggling families.
But Brees stated in an interview recently that he didn’t agree with anyone disrespecting the American flag– in reference to other NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality.
The anthem kneeling is a contentious issue for some. And it would have been reasonable for the other side to explain to Brees that their intent is to protest injustice, not disrespect the flag.
But instead the Twitter mob unleashed holy hell, calling Brees a “white supremacist” and even making death threats against his family.
And that’s what you get with a mob.
Civil discourse is an impossibility. You cannot have a respectful exchange of ideas or a discussion of values.
You can’t even say, “I completely agree that terrible injustice needs to change immediately. Let’s have a rational conversation about sensible, effective solutions.”
If you don’t grovel to the Twitter mob, even when there’s no consensus what the mob wants, you’re a white supremacist who deserves to be dead.
To be clear, I’m in strong support of the fundamental ideas behind these movements.
The culture of rape and sexual abuse that persisted for so long before #metoo needed to end. And the injustices that are front and center right now need to end. I imagine good people everywhere are in favor of human rights.
But I’m not writing about the movements, or social justice, or peaceful protests. This is about the mob mentality that has quickly taken over the US, and much of the world.
History shows that well-organized, peaceful protests can be very powerful… but also that nothing good ever comes from an angry, emotional mob.
Real progress can only take place when people are able to have calm, rational discussions about ideas and solutions.
The reality is that #defundthepolice is going to happen regardless. After Covid, most cities are completely bankrupt and will be forced to slash their budgets due to lack of tax revenue.
But #defundthepolice may be just the beginning of our new form of government– rule by Twitter mob.