Stop Sniveling, Get Up and Fight

I’m feeling better today, thank you, and I hope you are too. As was the case for most of you in the Ricochetti, it was a long and dark week here in the Dunphy house, ever since the news came that Ohio – and the election itself – would disappoint. Disconsolate was the mood for a few days, but we are determined that gloominess not give way to despair. And so . . .

I mostly confine myself in these postings to commentary on law enforcement matters. It is in police work, after all, that I have made my living for 30 years or so, and the reader may therefore presume that in that time I have developed sufficient expertise to shed light on issues of crime and punishment. On politics, however, the roster here at Ricochet is well stocked with people much more qualified than I to offer opinions. But still, I have found over these 30 years that lessons learned on the streets of Los Angeles can sometimes be applied to national and even international events.

In 1997, the Los Angeles Police Department was enduring the aftermath of a scandal. A change in leadership brought new policies whose effect was to discourage police officers from doing police work. Murders in the city had been decreasing steadily since the high-water mark of 1,092 set in 1992. In 1998, there were 419 murders in the city, but by 2002 the number had gone up to 647, an increase directly attributable to a demoralized police force in which the goals of preventing and solving crimes were subordinated to that of avoiding trouble. 

And so it is on the world stage. A sentiment often expressed among a war-weary populace is that America should not be the world’s policeman. It’s a tidy little adage, one that gives the speaker the air of wisdom and authority but, on closer examination, is revealed to be just so much bilge. The world, like cities, needs authority figures to maintain order, and for the last 70 years that authority figure has been the United States of America. We’ll never know how much mischief around the globe has been prevented by planting the thought in any number of would-be troublemakers’ heads that a step too far out of line would invite a cruise missile through the palace window or a visit from some angry Marines.

With President Obama’s reelection, the world’s cop will be taking it easy, hanging around the station and not deterring the hoodlums by walking the beat. And if it will not be the United States that maintains order, who then? Perhaps no one, in which case the crime wave that ensues may envelop some who today feel so secure as to take the guards off the fence. Or perhaps order will be imposed by some other nation, one whose interests do not coincide with our own. We’ll only know when it happens. In 1935, would anyone have imagined that Germany, Japan, and Italy would soon form an alliance and seek to rule the world? They saw America as weak, and by the time she showed her strength, millions had been slaughtered.

We may busy ourselves in talking about turnout models and demographics and gender gaps and all the other esoterica surrounding our political choices, but as we do so the world is watching and sizing us up, wondering if we’ll respond to provocation. I am less than confident in Mr. Obama’s commitment to keeping the world safe.

While walking the Dunphy dog through the neighborhood last night, I passed a house in whose yard was proudly displayed, perhaps defiantly displayed, a Romney-Ryan sign. I wanted to knock on the door, shake these neighbors’ hands, pat their children on the head, and give their dog a bone. The mere act of displaying that sign days after a losing effort tells me that family has not abandoned the fight, that they have not allowed themselves to be given over to the despondency now gripping so many on our side as it is celebrated by so many on the other.

There is too much at stake to quit. The midterms are two years away. We march on.

  1. Mole-eye

    Hear, hear.

  2. grotiushug

    I wish I could join you.  Really, I do.  But this was not just another loss, we’ll get ‘em next time.  This was the big one.  Sure, there was no guarantee that Romney would have been able to turn it around.  But he was our last shot.  Now it’s decline–slowly, for a while, then fast.  Does it take two, ten, or twenty years?  Who knows? 

    As I’ve gone about my business here in New York the past week, seeing people high-fiving over their man’s win I’ve thought about what will happen to this place and these people when the system collapses under the weight of its contradictions.  They think it will go on forever!  I wonder, what will they do when there’s no money to pay the police and the feral people they’ve been placating with welfare checks and food stamps find that their EBT cards don’t work anymore? 

  3. Xennady

    Perhaps I’m just especially hardheaded but I don’t feel any more despair now than I felt before the election.

    We’re still on the same road to ruin, folks. It’s just a matter of time before the bottom drops out, and all those people high-fiving each other are going to face a rude awakening.

    They’ve earned it. And they’re going to get taught good and hard why Obama was a bad choice for President.

    At least knowing that worse times are ahead I can prepare. Obama voters are completely oblivious.

    Pity them.

  4. iWc

    An academic named Bancroft once pointed out that the real class distinctions in America are linked to time horizons. Only we are looking even 2, let alone 20, years ahead.

  5. Percival
    Jack Dunphy:

    In 1935, would anyone have imagined that Germany, Japan, and Italy would soon form an alliance and seek to rule the world?

    Well, Winston Churchill had his eye on Germany, but he was an out-of-power crank with no prospects for advancement – all the smart people said so.

    Jack Dunphy:

    There is too much at stake to quit.  The mid-terms are two years away.  We march on. · · 6 hours ago

    Absolutely.

  6. The Mugwump

    Nobody is quitting, Mr. Dunphy, but may I suggest that most people are looking in the wrong place for answers.  No nation in history has won a war by planning for the last one.  The Republican Party has become the Maginot Line of its day.  Working within the two party system isn’t going to solve our problems.  It’s time for a new paradigm.

    The first thing we have to accept is that a restoration of the republic will take generations.  That means we must plan for the long term – perhaps the very long term.  Antonio Gramsci certainly did, and today his minions control most of our cultural institutions.  But there is a way to fight this.

    You can’t defeat a juggernaut by throwing yourself under its wheels.  The error in the statist model is that eventually it will collapse of its own immensity.  It’s as predictable as the sunrise.

    We need to start preparing parallel institutions that will retake the culture when the time comes.  I’m going to pound this idea until it takes.  We have Harry Seldon on our side in his current incarnation as Bill Whittle. 

  7. TucsonSean

    Nah, I’m still on the mat.  Looking for ways to lash out and punish those who voted for Obama, but otherwise not doing anything productive.

  8. Larry3435

    Not me. I quit. Romney had it wrong – it isn’t 47%, it’s 51% We have passed the tipping point. Welcome to the Götterdämmerung. I no longer see any room for hope. I mourn America – the greatest power and force for good that has ever existed. R.I.P. As for what this country has now become, my sour consolation is that the misery these people will suffer was brought upon them by their own choice.

  9. Devereaux

    You raise some interesting questions, sir. ?What IS our role in the world. ?What SHOULD we be doing to recover our experiment. ?How bad will things get before we can see any improvement.There are some very basic ideas out there thst need revisiting. Too many people, for instance, believe in unions. There may even be some value in them, but not in their current versions. There very likely IS a role for us in projecting power around the world, but I question whether it’s in our current application. One might make a case for policing, but is it really in our best interests to have the police that we currently do. Solid legal systems are essential to peaceful existence, but ours seems to have been corrupted in rather extensive ways. We face a serious inimical philosophy, yet seem to spend no intellectual capital in combating it with ideas; we even seem afraid to say its name. We have schools that teach our children drivel.We have some very serious questions about our road ahead – and it may not be peaceful in the end. As someone pointed out elsewhere, wonder how the colonists felt in 1760′s.

  10. Masked Man

    As others have commented, the problem is as much the majority who voted for Obama, knowing all they do about him, as the man himself. I see little opportunity for improvement in our situation, given the will of the people, the effectiveness of regime propaganda, the complicity of the press and the cultural and demographic tides. So what’s a middle-ager to do? For us, the answer is the mute button on steroids (to borrow a metaphor advanced yesterday). Rather than witness the unfolding destruction and attendant violence, we’re planning to sit it out on the beach, offshore but not too far offshore. Close enough to attend to business and see friends and family, but psychologically, and physically, out of harm’s way. How exactly will this play out? Not sure yet but we’re working on it. As most Ricochetti agree, the destruction is on its way, and, for the moment, the Buddhist response may be the most appropriate.

  11. Cunctator

    I’m not bothering any more. I’m kinda done. FEMA a disaster under Bush, but things are going great in NY, right? Got it. Akin makes bone-headed comments draining away many potential votes from the entire party nationwide, but Jesse Jackson Jr faces jail time and is re-elected anyways? Got it. What and who is there to fight? Fellow citizens, the incurious press? “They” own it now, I did my part, and I’ve always worked hard. I’m just going to look after myself and those close to me. Politics used to thrill me, I’ve just lost interest. Sad.

  12. dittoheadadt

    What Erik said. And Larry, Sean, Masked, and Grot.I can feel it inside, palpably so, that I now have zero compassion and sympathy left for the people I know who I know voted for Obama. I don’t wish them ill, but when ill visits upon their homes because of what they just did despite all the information available, I will not care.And I will not waste my time or energy fighting with a peashooter against those who are wearing Kevlar. Until we address the media and the means of communication, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

  13. Sisyphus
    Larry3435: Not me. I quit. Romney had it wrong – it isn’t 47%, it’s 51% We have passed the tipping point. Welcome to the Götterdämmerung. I no longer see any room for hope. I mourn America – the greatest power and force for good that has ever existed. R.I.P. …

    So you really think that the Boston vote, for example, of 129% of eligible voters, represents a fair and honest measure of public sentiment? And that’s only one in a long list. Obama got sloppy in this one. Panicked because he was losing and went totally overboard. No longer afraid of showing their hand, and Romney rolled over like the milquetoast squish he always was. Worse than McCain when he “set aside” evidence of fraud for another day in 2008. Orca was almost the same order of failure as RomneyCare, but more telling. I do not regret Romney losing.

    The Tea Party isn’t going to play that way. Four of the five swing states allow recount by voter petition, including my Virginia. Find one, sign it, knock on any door that might sign it, get it done. The opposition wants you moaning helplessly, like Romney.

  14. Chris Campion

    There’s a natural tendency when things don’t work out, despite a lot of effort, to bail on it.  Bag out.  Walk away.  It’s normal, and it’s understandable.

    But where I come from, we call this by its real, true, and unavoidable name:

    Quitter talk.

    If you’re interested in quitting, no one’s going to stop you.  But you’re quitting.  You can list a thousand reasons why, but you’re still quitting.  Wars are rarely won by the quitters.

    The other point raised above is still true:  Even if Romney won, we’d still be in for a huge fight.  It was never going to be unicorns and daisies even if he won in a landslide, and we won the Senate back, too.  It was never, ever going to be easy.  Nothing worth having in life is easy.  Everyone here on this site should already know that, and that same idea applies to both cooking a good meal, and restoring a Democratic Republic.  If it was easy, everybody would already be doing it.

  15. The Mugwump
    dittoheadadt:  I now have zero compassion and sympathy left for the people I know who I know voted for Obama. I don’t wish them ill, but when ill visits upon their homes . . .

    You need to expand your thinking to another level.  Consider, for example, where the majority of Obama supporters make their homes.  The most staunch enclaves of Democratic support are found in urban areas.  They are by their very nature dependent, if not by policy, then by the specialization that occurs within the labor force.  This is characteristic of the consolidation, concentration, and urbanization necessary for an industrial revolution.  Such a system must be managed and regulated through a top-down vertical structure (ie. government).  It’s from these conditions that Leviathan is born.

    The problem is that Leviathan is more “dependent” (in the truest sense of the word) than a decentralized system.  Every cog must work, and work in perfect unison with every other cog for the machine to function.  If you get a single breakdown (like a power failure) in just one crucial area, the whole system fails.  Compare what’s happening right now on Long Island with what happened in Kentucky last winter.  

  16. Cunctator

    I agree with ~Paules, but would add that many city dwellers don’t have a clue how precarious their situation is. I’m not talking survivalist extremes, but rather about their total dependence on the assumption that food, shelter, and heat are a given and irrevocably guaranteed. I labored all summer on a small garden, it fed me for a *very* short period of time. We city dwellers are very dependent on what happens in the red swath, even if we don’t appreciate it (people here on this site do though I’m sure). But I’m done. If Obama is on the TV, I switch channels immediately. His cadences and verbal ticks bore me. If people try to engage about how wonderful it is Obama won and how disappointed I may be, I am just “whatever” – so good luck and Godspeed to you Sir or Madam. I just don’t care anymore. Not my problem. I tried, I now withdraw.

  17. Neolibertarian

    Well, had Romney won the election, I think we would have found, dishearteningly, that the hardest part of our job was ahead of us, anyway.

    No, you don’t give up. And no, there are no final victories, so it’s always time to soldier on…no matter what.

    But a setback this far, against an incumbent awash with severe liabilities and political weaknesses, and a record so horrible even his supporters couldn’t ignore it…one wonders if we wouldn’t be better off starting over.

    From scratch.

  18. Chris Johnson

    A note on the fraud issue:  FL is included amongst those listed, but some of that (all?) is based upon ignorance.  The FL ballot was so long this year that it required two ballot cards.  That has been interpreted by some as more votes than voters when, in fact, it is mostly based upon the count of ballot cards,  not over-votes.  There were more ballot cards than voters counted in my GOP county, as well, but nobody is noticing that, because it doesn’t fit the story.

  19. Jim  Ixtian
    dittoheadadt  And they ALL voted Obama anyway.  None dependent upon Leviathan.  Not an urbanite among them.

    Like you I tried my best before, during, and after Obama was elected to show who he really was and it made no difference.

    Obama reminds me more of Jim Jones and after dealing with his followers I think that is an apt analogy. With this election, I think we’re at the point where Obama has asked us all to drink the flavor-aid under view of armed guards. My plan? I’m planning on going into the jungle and surviving there.

    Post-2012 election, I think the best policy is to let people learn the hard way about the consequences of their choices. Addicts when they hit rock bottom face a choice: Change or Die. I think Americans who voted for Obama are going to have to face that same choice.

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