25 Jul Selective Enforcement Support
“Lock her up” chant the law enforcement supporters of one political stripe. “And go after the ‘Biden crime family,’” they demand.
“More cops on the streets,” another group insists.
“No one is above the law,” opines a third set of law enforcement advocates, defending criminal charges brought against Donald Trump.
Oh, sure, everyone “supports” law enforcement. Police unions and advocacy groups do that by lobbying for more, better-paid officers with legal rights and protections. Community activists and downtown business leaders express their support by calling for more cops in the neighborhoods and on the streets. Some citizens show their feelings through bumper stickers or by flying flags with blue stripes. The media plasters coverage all over their papers and screens whenever an officer is killed while on duty.
Politicians, in turn, call for “law and order,” public safety, and livable communities. They promise to preserve and protect as much, if elected.
Yep. It is unanimous. Everyone supports law enforcement, right? Not so fast.
Except when they come after a particular political hero. The loudest supporters of law enforcement are quick to change their tune when a politician in their own party – especially one specific former president – is the subject of criminal investigations, grand jury proceedings, and indictments. Then the investigators (including the FBI), prosecutors, district attorneys, and the Department of Justice are accused of being “weaponized” for “political purposes.”
Conversely, these same law enforcement supporters are outraged with law enforcement when the justice system does not become a weapon aimed at their own political enemies and the family members of those opponents.
Except when a black man is killed in a police confrontation. When this happens, another group of “law enforcement supporters” protest, demand justice for the deceased, riot, and even can make the mistake of wanting to “Defund the police!” Sometimes this even happens when the person shot was a blonde lady in nice South Minneapolis neighborhood.
Except when officers are protecting the U.S. Capitol Building and its occupants. Then, political zealots who want to stop an election certification maliciously beat, curse, chase, and throw things at the law enforcement personnel on duty.
Except when a criminal jury reaches a verdict they do not like, or a judge imposes a sentence they think is too long or too short. In those cases, Monday morning quarterbacks rush to substitute their own judgment and express their disagreement, even though they do not know the facts or the law anywhere close to as well as the judge and jury do.
Except when border patrols don’t enforce the immigration laws well enough. Or, except when they enforce the immigration laws too harshly, as other critics see it. Hypocrites are found on all sides of this issue.
Except on the Fourth of July. On that holiday, troublemakers in Minneapolis (and other cities) launch fireworks directly at law enforcement officers.
Even Then, We Should Support Them
Even when law enforcement personnel do not make decisions that we think they should make, we should support them by giving them the benefit of all possible doubts while we wait for all of the evidence to come out. Even when one particular cop does something clearly wrong, we should remember that the vast majority of law enforcement officers do so many good things for our communities and nation. In all events, we should aspire to enhance the lives of law enforcement personnel, thereby attracting more and better people to those crucial professions.
The police, obviously, are law enforcement, and they must be properly funded, staffed, and trained. But so too is the Department of Justice law enforcement. So are special prosecutors, district attorneys, and their investigators. So are border patrol agents. If you really support law enforcement, you should support them all. Always.
Except if they pull you over when you are “barely” speeding (we all say). Well, maybe even then.
Written by Quentin R. Wittrock, founder of Principle Based Politics.
Look for his posts each week, as this blog will explore and promote the idea of principle in politics, both as to individual elected leaders and our federal government as an institution.