In America nothing is sacred. Even before the bodies of the dead policemen Wenjin Liu and Rafael Ramos were cold, politicians seeking a soundbite, former politicians seeking the spot light and would be politicians seeking to jump start their careers ,were suddenly all over the place spewing venom and idiocy to all who would listen or could read as to the real reason why two human beings, ambushed in their patrol car in Brooklyn in a period of extreme racial tension, lay dead.
They did not lay dead because a psychotic from Baltimore, who earlier in the day had threatened suicide and then shot his girlfriend, shot them at point blank range.
They lay dead because of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
They lay dead because of protestors.
Somehow, the acts of de Blasio and thousands of others led the killer to act.
This, at any rate, has been the line echoed back and forth across the country since hour one.
George Pataki, who rode the death penalty into the governors mansion and is rumored to be pursuing yet another pathetic run at the presidency, and Rudy Giuliani, who recently disgraced himself by claiming that teacher unions were somehow responsible for the death of Eric Garner, were particularly quick to get in on the act. But they were hardly alone. The rhetoric of Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, with his talk of “bloody hands” and a” wartime’ police department” has been simultaneously ghoulish and fascistic and horrifying.
Under the pretense of honoring the dead, or defending the honor of the police, or saving Western civilization or something like that, the spigot of insane abuse aimed primarily at Mayor Bill de Blasio but including anyone who dared protest the death
of black men at the hands of police, turned into a torrent in no time at all. And it has been going strong for days now, bringing employment to the endless array of Right wing talking heads of Fox News and sickly joy and “talking points” to their millions of viewers.
One of the more egregious of these talking heads, one Dan Bongino, is a man who knows an opportunity when he sees one. Bongino, who called for de Blasio to “resign in shame”, has been particularly revealing. Bongino who was billed as “former NYPD,” spent four years as a cop 15 years ago, has lived in suburban Maryland for years and is currently seeking to be a Republican congressmen in Maryland’s 6th congressional district. Bongino, in short, is a carpet bagging scumbag shamelessly seeking to capitalize on the horrific deaths of the two cops for political gain at the same time he is pretending to be a heartbroken colleague. There was, of course, not a hint of what Bongino, a kind of Right wing mini-version of the despicable Al Sharpton, has been doing the past fifteen years or why he was babbling away in New York in the extended interview Fox allowed the hustling would be politician.
What there was a river of was crazy and ignorant talk of de Blasio, a man, according to Bongino,
“ who believes in the advancement and trading of chaos, believes in the destruction of American institutions” and “subscribes to an ideology that is so un-American…”
English is my native tongue but I confess to utter bafflement over what the words “believes in the advancement and trading of chaos” actually mean, but I do understand that whatever it means, it is not good.
Insinuating that he is still a member of the NYPD and not a resident of suburban Maryland, Bongino reveals the true source of his rage: de Blasio had the temerity to do what no New York mayor has done in 20 years. He reigned in the NYPD. He had them stand down. He allowed New Yorkers to exercise their right to protest without fear and intimidation from the force that is ostensibly there to protect that right.
“Bongino continued, “I have a number of friends I went through the police academy with almost 19 years ago that call me and text me all the time and said that during these protests, ‘yes, we absolutely respect the right to peacefully protest. No question.’ They were told basically to stand down, let them blow off steam, despite the fact, Charles, that there were people out there who were never interested in peaceful protests. They were interested in spitting in police officers’ faces, pushing these people.”
Bongino is correct when he states that there were people out there who were never interested in peaceful protests, “ people “interested in spitting in police officers’ faces, “ as there are such people in any immense crowds of protestors. Some of these people, as was their right, chanted ugly and idiotic things as they marched. I heard them. But so what? That too is their right. A handful even managed to get themselves pointlessly arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge hours after the march began where they allegedly tangled with a group of cops, one of whom had his nose busted. Collectively, I would reckon they constituted perhaps 1% of 1% of the thousands and thousands who marched in dignified protest.
“Former NYPD” Bongino seems to shamelessly suggest that somehow these miniscule numbers and this foolish gesture somehow equals an out right attack on the NYPD and therefore justifies a return to the Giuliani/ Bloomberg days of non stop thuggish police intimidation and worse. Somehow, Bongino, like virtually all of the commentary ( if that is not too lofty a word ) that I’ve read or heard fails to meant the simple fact that the protests were against the very kind of thinking these very commentators were espousing.
It is sickening to encounter this kind of thought but necessary to do so. It reveals part of the sickness underming the political and spiritual health ( which are always linked ) of the country as I write. It bespeaks of the totalitarian nature of the Right, in which a man like de Blasio, hardly a progressive in any meaningful sense of the word, is seen not merely as a threat but as a kind of un American alien who must be utterly destroyed. Destroyed before he somehow kills again.
The argument that, in some way, de Blasio himself or the protesters en masse were responsible for the murderous act of a mentally ill man is, for any self respecting person, well beyond absurd and well into the realm of the obscene. But then again, so is capitalizing on the shocking murders of two cops. Yet, this is exactly what America has been steadily fed since the horror story broke on Saturday and we can expect as much of the same sick stuff as can possibly be squeezed out of the horrible incident.
In America, nothing is sacred. And in a culture where nothing is sacred, in the negative sense of the phrase, anything is possible.
Addendum: Herein more examples of the reckless, irresponsible and opportunistic nonsense spreading around the country including some choice idiocy from former NYPD Commissioner and convicted felon Bernie Kerick, hoping it seems, to ride this tragedy back into something approximating respectability or at least a steady gig on Fox News.