There is a lot of talk about how impertinent it is for the NYPD to turn their backs on Bill DeBlasio at a recent funeral of two murdered officers, but, so what? They’re not the military; they’re civilian government workers. True, he’s their boss, but he’s also an elected official, and he has gone out of his way to disparage the police and undermine public confidence in them. There is a price to be paid for such rhetoric.
True, like the military, part of their compensation is widespread public support for the risks they take, and they are organized along military lines in part. But they’re not required to have the same degree of cohesion and lockstep discipline and obedience to orders. Nor are they subject to special judicial proceedings and discipline for free speech activities. Perhaps, it’s a bit much to do what they did in uniform, but DeBlasio is not, contrary to the rhetoric of some, their commander in chief, and it’s healthy in a democratic system that government workers do not lose all independence of mind and spirit. Police in particular are supposed to exercise independence and judgment, and it’s incredible that DeBlasio at one moment is blasting the police comparing them all to racist wannabe Bull Connors, and the next lauding their sacrifice. If you mean the latter, you should give them some benefit of the doubt and respect on the whole. Sure, there’s bad cops, just like there are bad soldiers, priests, and school teachers. That doesn’t mean soldiers, cops, priests, and school teachers are not generally good and trying generally to have a positive impact on the world. But for DeBlasio and the hard left, their narrative of racism blinds them to this fact, obscures the real engine of police friction with minority communities (that is, black crime), and puts too little blame on troublemakers as part of its larger narrative of “oppressive institutions.” It’s a useless way to think, and for people that burned American flags in protest and talked extensively about the need to rebel, it’s funny how they now demand lockstep obedience from the very forces of law and order they have spent decades undermining.