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Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
“As a politician, you need to have the ability to look at a room full of emotional people and tell them they’re wrong.”
This has been one of the best pieces of advice on leadership that I’ve received from a seasoned politician, and it was said to me in response to a local debate regarding feral cats tormenting a neighborhood. Tampa, like many cities, has an issue with hundreds of thousands of sick feral cats roaming the streets. There were reports of these feral cats colonizing, biting people, fighting domestic cats, tearing up trash, and generally a nuisance to the citizens. They’re also a massive interruption on native species, and are actually deemed the most invasive species in the country. PETA-type activists got involved and were pushing for a state-sponsored cat-park so the feral cats had somewhere to play during the day, or something like that, (I’m paraphrasing here), as well as a state-sponsored trap, neuter, and release program.
Behind closed doors, the majority of politicians voting on this issue knew it was a bad idea and bad policy. There had been evidence of these types of programs failing all across the country, but the elected officials wanted to leave this meeting without controversy. However, none of the leaders in the room had the heart to tell a group of passionate cat-tivists that these animals really just needed to be put down and euthanized. There were a few objective politicians in the minority who removed their emotions and stood up for reasonable policy, despite the name-calling, attacks, and backlash that would inevitably follow from the virtue signalers as well as the media. Sometimes the right decision isn’t going to be the most heart-warming and may upset members of the community. Regardless of reason and practicality, the PC-mob won that day, convincing the elected officials to provide special programs for feral cats, and the result have been an expensive experiment, that over the past five years has re-released sick feral cats into communities, failed to address the issue at hand, and ultimately made the situation worse.
Five years in the future, Tampa’s problem is not only unresolved, but measurably worse, and we’ve wasted valuable time and resources appeasing a small group of vocal protesters. Those protesters to this day, I’m positive, will defend these bad ideas and blame the implementation.
However, this article isn’t about feral cats, nor is it meant to compare the plight of minorities in this country to animals. It’s actually intended to compare the requirements of our nation’s leaders and the set of skills it takes to effectively govern. To examine the philosophy, moral principles, and convictions of our elected officials, and the strength they must possess to hold the line against radical dissenters in the most prosperous nation in history.
Over the past few months, I have watched swaths of panicked civilians pressure local, state, and nationally elected officials to shut down global economic activity, lock free people in their homes, force people to cover their faces, allow certain organizations freedom to break those previous rules in order to riot and loot, and most recently begin dismantling police forces. All of these policies have been enacted with nearly no regard for the downstream societal effects, but rather in an effort to deflect blame or responsibility on to other politicians or entities. I am deeply troubled and worried about the leadership capabilities and convictions of our politicians in this country from top to bottom.
With the backdrop of an upcoming election in November, many politicians are making knee-jerk reactions, frightened by their poll numbers and popularity amongst the fringe, yet vocal, activists that confront them on Twitter and on the streets in protest. Many people do not realize that these Twitter activists are NOT the majority, and do not speak for large portions of the country. In actuality, Twitter only has a reported 48 million users, only 10% of which make up 80% of the tweets on the platform. From there, the platform has had to address allegations from shareholders that up to 70% of all users on the platform are “bots”, and they have purged 20% of their “userbase” in a single day in years past after evaluating the fact that they were fake accounts. Statistically, if we assume a generous 2 million users are outraged about a particular political issue on Twitter out of 330 million Americans, that would be roughly 0.6% of the population. What are seemingly large political movements across this country, are in reality very small groups, buying fake followers on twitter, and getting their messages shared by fake users across social media, which are then regurgitated by mainstream media outlets as fact. Organizations and individuals on the left and on the right are guilty of this action.
Regardless, our politicians are so worried about this fake army, that they are willing to say and do anything to appease the angry mobs even if it is at the ultimate detriment of the cities and country that we all share. This is not a new phenomenon, but with the advent of social media and the amplification of Twitter activists, we’ve allowed cancel-culture to scare politicians, corporations, and individuals into bowing to the mob, even if it means there will be poorly thought-out political policies enacted as a result. When a leader admits defeat out of appeasement, or gives the mob the apology they are chanting for out of fear, it will never be enough and they will eventually come for your head. Which is why we need leaders with a strong moral compass, willing to stand up for rational thought with a true sense of patriotism for America. Elected officials taking up seats for personal gain or those that are propped up by special interest groups don’t have the driving force in their hearts to prevent them crumbling before the pressure.
Corporate executives are learning the same lesson as Cracker Barrel, Disney, and many others brace to take on the angry 0.6% of this country. If they bend the knee, they will face a similar fate as New Orleans Saints Quarterback, Drew Brees who made an ill-timed statement, but quickly apologized. His apology meant nothing to the mob, and they still are calling for him to retire from his illustrious career in the NFL. People are afraid to speak their truths or risk having the mob call for their cancellation. This is a trajectory for group-think and monolithic culture, devoid of constructive collaboration.
This whole article would seem melodramatic if it weren’t for the fact that the, “Defund The Police”, movement is beginning to catch on in cities around the country. We’re watching spineless politician after spineless politician repeat the same mistakes exemplified in Tampa’s feral cat debate on a drastically more consequential level. The mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis, and dozens of other mayors and city council members are all throwing logic out of the window by entertaining this notion to get rid of their police forces. Because these leaders have all managed cities in the past, I know they have to understand very well that the police are the only barrier between peace and anarchy in any society.
Defunding the police will never result in some fairyland of equality; it will end with private militaries, militias, and insurgencies within the borders of the United States, as it has in countless other countries in the past, leading to civil war and uprising. If you want a crash course on how nations fail, read Why Nations Fail. If you think it can’t happen here, it’s already happening in Seattle as this article is being written.
I don’t want to hear about how this movement isn’t about defunding the police, and that it’s really about diverting funds to the community, because if that were true, the slogan would be, “Invest in our Community”. Which for the record, I am absolutely in agreement with. I would love for these cities to cut the inflated expenses and budgets that these Democratic-controlled local authorities have let run rampant over the past century. But, when activists say “Defund the Police”, they mean DEFUND. THE. POLICE. I empathize with the racial equality movement, I truly do, but I want to make it abundantly clear:
THE MOST IMPORTANT FUNCTION OF THE GOVERNMENT IS TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS AND THEIR PROPERTY.
As a libertarian, that’s about 90% of what I want my government to accomplish if they do nothing else, and over the past few weeks the government has failed at that job. Now, there is a movement in this country to fundamentally undermine the institution of law and order that has kept America functioning since its inception.
This fringe Twitter-angst has spilled over into the streets and is snowballing into a Marxist revolution…
Every single American, whether Democratic or Republican, old or young, rich or poor, that I’ve personally talked to or read their opinion since the murder of George Floyd has been in lockstep agreement about the egregious actions of the officers involved with the incident, and whole-heartedly condemn police brutality. The country WAS unified for a brief period in calling for justice in this case, and unlike controversial police brutality cases in the past, I see VERY few people standing up to defend these officers. How to enact tangible policy is where people begin to defect. Instead of having rational conversations about how we can address out-dated laws or improve accountability, we are having real discussions about overthrowing the institutions of the country.
What once was a call for racial equality and an inward inflection on systemic racism has quickly transformed into a socialist wishlist funded, organized by groups that have a vested interest in taking down the great power that is the United States. Venezuelan dictator, Nicholas Maduro has deployed and funded foreign protesters to help destabilize the US and incite riots. America’s enemies have used this moment to seize global positioning to legitimize authoritarian regimes. Russia, China, and Iran are all taking great pride in fanning the flames of these protests. If America’s institutions are dismantled by a combination of bad actors and “useful idiots” under the guise of racial equality, this generation of social justice warriors will one day wake up to the harsh reality of a failed state, and as seen in the aforementioned countries; it won’t be the beautiful, majestic, equal utopia that leftists promise.
America may not be perfect, but if elected leaders don’t stand up for common sense and reason, and instead opt for appeasing socialist leaders because they think it will make the problem go away or improve their poll numbers, this country will end up looking back at these major decisions wondering why the hell we decided to fund a cat-park instead of putting down a dangerous movement before it started.
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