Dems risk the election if they bash cops

Did you hear about that incident over the weekend where a Tempe, Arizona Starbucks barista asked five cops to leave the store because a customer said he or she “did not feel safe” in their presence?

A
hashtag, #DumpStarbucks, immediately started trending on Twitter. I must admit
to being stunned and offended by this story. By all accounts, the cops were
doing nothing except peacefully enjoying their coffee. We know almost nothing
about the customer who didn’t feel “safe,” but we can infer quite a lot about
him or her.

My
city, Oakland, is filled with similar people. They hate cops. Some call for
completely defunding the Oakland Police Department. They put up flyers cursing
cops and occasionally you see graffiti advocating violence against the police. In
fact, in casual conversations, you hear anti-cop sentiment on a daily basis in
Oakland.

I
myself, when I see a cop on the beat, always thank them for their service. They
seem startled, at first, but after a second they hear my sincerity—they realize
I’m not being sarcastic—and they see my smile, and they thank me. It’s a small
moment, but a precious one, for both of us. They know that not everyone in
Oakland despises them, and I feel better for giving them a little gratitude.

I
can’t put myself in the head of someone who would “not feel safe” in a
coffee shop just because some cops are there. I’d feel safer! What is wrong
with that person? I hope he or she is identified and asked by the media to
explain such a bizarre attitude. Probably they’d say something about cops being
oppressors, police brutality, Black Lives Matter, etc. Granted these can be
issues: cops are only human, and all humans can be assholes, even—especially—the
current President of the United States.

But
let’s also remember that the majority of cops are fine, upstanding, decent and
law-abiding Americans, who put their lives on the line every time they wear the
uniform. And for what? To serve and protect US. The Starbucks customer who
complained ought to be more fearful of getting assaulted by a criminal, not by
a cop. And who’s the first person she would call if she were assaulted? The cops!

If
Trump wins re-election, God forbid, it’s going to be because of accumulated instances
like this, which turn into national memes that can supersede larger issues,
like climate change or war. The vast, overwhelming majority of Americans on
both sides of the political aisle respect the police. We do not want to see them
vilified or ridiculed or hurt. I consider myself a lifelong liberal, but this
growing barrage of resentment against cops is really turning me off to the
extremists in my own Democratic Party who engage in this anti-cop rhetoric.

I
loathe the rightwing radicals in the Republican Party who voted for Trump and
continue to support him. I consider them clear and present dangers to our way
of life. I think many, maybe most, of them are crazy. But if you’re a Democrat,
you have to acknowledge that we have our crazies, too. They’re not quite as
obnoxious or numerous as the rightwing crazies, but they’re pretty bad. And
cop-bashing is one way to identify them.

Some
police reformers would argue that there’s no room for a single bad cop, but the
truth is, there are always going to be some. The Oakland Police Department is
engaged in a long, serious struggle to weed out bad cops, and to engage in
extensive training, including de-escalation techniques, community policing,
sensitivity classes and the like. What more do the anti-cop types want? That
Starbucks customer who “did not feel safe,” what does she want? She
probably doesn’t know, herself, beyond some shopworn platitudes.

I’ll
be voting Democratic next year, but every time I hear things like that
Starbucks customer hating on cops, I understand a little more about why so many
Obama voters switched their allegiance to Trump. And I’m not entirely unsympathetic
to them.




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