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Some months ago I had the misfortune of having to perform an administrative task that had only the most tangential of connections to actual police work. It was my further misfortune that the task required a trip to the LAPD headquarters building in downtown L.A., a place I visit as seldom as possible.
There, in one of the offices where the LAPD’s vast bureaucracy churns out a steady stream of mostly meaningless paperwork, I chanced to see, adorning the wall of one of the many cubicles, something I had never seen in any police station I had worked in or visited: a Barack Obama campaign sticker.
I had come with another officer, and I very discretely directed his attention to the sticker, bringing a roll of his eyes and the whispered question: “What’s going on here?”
The cubicle’s occupant was absent, preventing what might have been an uncomfortable conversation. My partner and I finished our business, and as we drove back to our assigned station I asked him if he knew of any cops who had voted for Barack Obama. He didn’t, nor did I.
Which is not to say there aren’t any. The LAPD prides itself on diversity, after all, so I expect Mr. Obama got a few votes from within its ranks. But not from anyone at my station, where posting an Obama sticker on one’s cubicle would be all but unthinkable.
I’m a bit ashamed to admit I was once a liberal, the product of a Jesuit high school and what is often referred to as an elite university. A few years of police work cured me of this affliction, but even before I came around I knew enough to keep my political opinions to myself. (I described my political conversion for NRO back in 2000. Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here.)
Cops tend to be conservatives, perhaps because they spend the bulk of their day dealing with the consequences of failed liberal policies. Whatever liberals you might find in the department can mostly be found, like the absent cubicle dweller discussed above, in bureaucratic assignments that keep them safely shielded from the hazards of actual police work, and from those pesky consequences.
My thanks to Rob Long and everyone at Ricochet for the opportunity to join the conversation this week.