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In a cynical ploy to capitalize on our current hysteria over the video of George Floyd’s death, Democratic Reps Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) and Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts) announced the BREATHE Act last week. This proposed legislation seeks to radically transform America’s criminal justice system through a wide variety of actions:
- Eliminate life sentences
- Retroactively expunge drug crimes
- Permanently shut down multiple federal agencies
- Permanently close many prisons and detention centers
- End gang databases
- Establish pilot programs for universal basic income
- Give voting rights to all illegal immigrants
- Give voting rights to all incarcerated criminals
- Give free lifetime education to all illegal immigrants
- Give free lifetime education to all incarcerated criminals
This sweeping legislation brings up two groups of questions in my mind.
First, do the congresspeople who proposed this bill hope that it will become law? Or is this just their version of virtue-signaling? And if it does become law, do they expect it to help black communities? So they want to defund police and release criminals from jail. And they expect this to reduce crime. How, exactly? Is this a real effort to reduce the crime rate in black neighborhoods, or is it simply a cynical ploy to get votes?
Which brings up my second set of questions:
I have a lot of friends whom I respect who vote Democrat. How many of the proposals above would these Democrat voters be in favor of? Does the average Democrat voter actually believe that you can reduce crime by decreasing the number of police on the streets and increasing the number of criminals on the streets? How, exactly, do they expect that to work?
Which reminds me of another interesting news story from last week:
Kanye West is a rapper, Christian, and now, apparently, a presidential candidate. He recently made a statement about Planned Parenthood: “Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work.”
Remember that he has a point here. Planned Parenthood was started by famous eugenicist Margaret Sanger, who started it as “The Negro Project,” to limit reproduction of races she found to be mentally and culturally unfit. She even bragged about speaking for the KKK in this passage from her autobiography: “I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan… I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak…In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.”
Every year Planned Parenthood gives out its highest award, called “The Margaret Sanger Award” to honor the legacy of its founder. When Hillary Clinton received the award in 2009, she said during her acceptance: “It was a great privilege when I was told that I would receive this award. I admire Margaret Sanger enormously. … I’m really in awe of her. There are a lot of lessons we can learn from her life, from the causes she launched and fought for and sacrificed for so greatly.”
Kanye West has been known to say outrageous things with little basis in fact. But in this particular case, even if one disagrees with him, one can certainly understand how he might reach his conclusion that “Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work.”
Anyway, as one might expect, Planned Parenthood took exception to Mr. West’s statement. Nia Martin-Robinson (the director of Black Leadership and Engagement at Planned Parenthood’s national headquarters) said, “Black women are free to make our own decisions about our bodies and pregnancies, and want and deserve to have access to the best medical care available. Any insinuation that abortion is Black genocide is infantilizing. The real threat to Black communities’ safety, health, and lives stems from lack of access to quality, affordable health care, police violence and the criminalization of reproductive health care by anti-abortion opposition.”
So let’s do this again. Same two sets of questions:
First, does Ms. Martin-Robinson really believe that statement that I bolded above? Police violence kills more black people than abortion? A perceived lack of access to quality, affordable health care is more of a threat to black communities than gang violence? The ‘criminalization of reproductive health care’ is more of a threat to black communities than the destruction of the black family? Does she really believe any of that?
And second, does the average Democrat voter out there really believe those things? Are those statements a winning platform for Joe Biden?
The Democrat party seems to presume that their voters are stupid. In my experience, that is not true. But it does appear that the average Democrat seems to have an uncomfortable relationship with facts. So perhaps it’s not lack of intelligence, but a lack of interest in facts that don’t confirm your biases. For just one example:
Last year, Trump administration officials met with Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats to negotiate about the border wall. Attempting to explain why this wall is so important to American citizens, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen did a presentation that listed how many criminal aliens have been detained at the border, plus drug smugglers, terrorists, human traffickers, and various other undesirables. To her credit, Nielsen thought quickly on her feet (rather than running away screaming, which is what I generally do when I’m attacked by a rattlesnake). When Pelosi interrupted her presentation and flatly stated, “I reject your facts,” Nielsen immediately shot back, “These aren’t my facts, these are the facts.”
When the facts don’t fit their biases, they don’t propose their own reasoning or logic, they just deny the existence of those particular facts. Democrat voters of normal intelligence see this and vote for it. I don’t understand.
I’ve often wondered how my Democrat friends can vote for this stuff. I can say, “Your party intends to decrease crime by decreasing the number of police on the streets and increasing the number of criminals on the streets. They believe that lack of access to affordable health care is a greater threat to the black community than gang violence. They know what the weather will be like 500 years from now but they’re not sure how many genders there are this week. You won’t listen to a Ph.D. in climate science but you will listen to a Swedish teenager with a learning disability. You scream about Trump’s history of shady business dealings while you vote for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. C’mon – you’re voting for this stuff? You’re not stupid. I don’t understand.”
I’m not sure how they would respond, but I’m sure that they would go vote Democrat again. The Democrat party could run a career criminal with no record of success, a viciously unpleasant personality, and an affinity for tyrants and KKK sympathizers, and they would win half the vote.
In fact, in the last presidential election, they did exactly that.
I really don’t understand. These people are not stupid. But they vote for stuff that is absolutely, positively, mind-bogglingly stupid. Over and over and over again.
I just don’t understand.
And what I really don’t understand is how a Republican candidate can compete for the votes of such Democrats. How does one debate with such people? Imagine your attempts to discuss even obvious topics: “Yeah, well, you see, less police, more criminals…how do you think that’s likely to turn out?” And you would still lose the argument. To them. Somehow. I just don’t understand.
Those people are half the electorate. And I have no idea how to change that. Because I don’t understand how they think.Published in