March 27, 2009

Steve Pomper

A Crucial Dichotomy

me2     I find it strange that I can’t remember ever reading about, or even hearing any public discussions about, an obvious dichotomy, which exists between many communities and their police officers. Perhaps it’s so plainly there as to go virtually unnoticed. Let’s take my own community for example. Seattle is known as a politically left-leaning community with a one-party—Democrat—Mayor and City Council form of government, and an off-the-charts “leftie” U.S. Representative. For anyone who thinks this analysis is arguable, it seems logical that any community that chronically elects liberal Democrats to office would correctly be labeled, liberal. This is one half of the dichotomy.

     Now let me set up the other half of this societal split-personality. It won’t surprise anyone if I assert that a majority of police officers, I’m talking street cops and detectives, consider themselves politically conservative—especially with regard to law and order issues. In fact, if anyone questions this assertion, they need only spend five minutes, or less, with an average group of cops to corroborate my observation. Or they can speak to one of those rare, frustrated, and politically lonely, liberal officers—they’ll tell you.  

     This means a situation where, essentially, conservatives protect liberals. This despite the fact that Seattle liberals often have some pretty harsh words for the threatened species known as the rare Seattle conservative, and, for that matter, conservatives in general.

     So why do conservatives continue to work for leftwing leaders and to protect liberal communities? Because, most cops have a special sense of duty, which affords them the capacity to protect and serve people with whom they disagree, and more over, even folks who blatantly dislike police. Cops do it because it’s good for our communities, and for our country.

     Local governments don’t seem to acknowledge the conundrum, the irony that has liberal governments, constantly passing nanny-cratic laws and social engineering policies, which serve to alienate their own cops, often even from their own citizens. The good lord knows liberals are not attracted to law enforcement, for whatever reasons, but those who list left certainly exceed their representation in community groups hostile toward police, so they do also have a sense of duty, it just lies elsewhere.

     There’s one thing politically left-leaning communities, who rely on politically right-leaning cops, should think about. If the liberals in society can’t, or won’t, protect their own communities, then what happens if, or when, the conservatives become tired of being thought of, and too often treated, as barely better than the criminals they arrest, by the leaders of the communities they serve? What happens if, in great numbers, conservative-leaning folks opted out of law enforcement in liberal cities and decided to take their crime-fighting skills down the road to some more, conservative community? While the left can’t seem to find the desire to protect their communities in a law enforcement capacity, perhaps someday the right won’t either.


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