Last year, America was forced to endure a summer of love redux. In what Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan predicted would be a repeat of the 1960s hippie phenomenon, progressives took to the streets and established an autonomous shantytown to demand defunding and abolishing the police. What initially appeared to be as foolish as Occupy Wall Street evolved into a serious public policymaking endeavor for many Democrats at the local and state level. As the issue climbed its way to Capitol Hill, allowing Republicans to seize the opportunity to ridicule the other side, Democrats contended that conservatives were misunderstanding what defund the police meant. If the political right failed to understand, voters certainly have realized what it means – and many are not happy with the results in their communities.
Minneapolis Disappoints Ilhan Omar?
Minneapolis voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to disband the city’s police department and replace it with a new Department of Public Safety. Fifty-six percent supported keeping the police department intact, compared to 44% who wanted it abolished.
If the proposition had been approved, the amendment would have eliminated the Minneapolis Police Department from the city’s charter and erased the police chief’s position. It would also have eradicated staff requirements for law enforcement. Under state law, there needs to be a law enforcement response to 13 types of incidents.
If citizens approved the plan, city hall would have established a Department of Public Safety that would have introduced “a comprehensive public health approach to the delivery of functions … which could include licensed peace officers (police officers), if necessary.”
Minneapolis residents were not persuaded, especially as crime has become a substantial issue in the jurisdiction. According to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, violent crime soared 17% across Minnesota, with murders rising 58% to a record-high 185 (Minneapolis accounted for 97 of the homicides). In addition, crime has been escalating in various areas, including arson, motor vehicle thefts, and robberies.
Minneapolis City Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham (D) described the results as “really unfortunate,” telling CNN: “We have just seen a clear backlash to progress in our city.”
To Defund or Not to Defund
Other cities held similar ballot measures but the electoral outcomes were not the same as Minneapolis.
Austin, TX voted overwhelmingly not to add as much as $120 million a year to the police budget. The initiative would have added more police officers and better training for “critical thinking, defensive tactics, intermediate weapons proficiency, active shooter scenarios, and hasty react team reactions.” But 68% voted “No” on Proposition A compared to 32%.
Like Minneapolis, Austin has witnessed the homicide rate reaching an all-time high this year. In the first nine months of 2021, the city has recorded 60 homicides, up from 48 in 2020. As Liberty Nation’s Leesa K. Donner noted in October: “Defunding the police may have sounded like a good idea to city officials in Austin, Texas, but the consequences have been nothing short of disastrous. Crime is up – as in way up – and now residents are being warned not to call 911 unless it’s absolutely necessary.”
Ninety-four percent of Cleveland voters supported the Safer Cleveland Ballot Initiative (Issue 24). This measure introduces extra oversight of the police departments, including a new Community Policing Commission involving 13 civilians who have final decision-making power pertaining to the discipline of police misconduct cases. Mayor-Elect Justin Bibb (D) endorsed Issue 24.
Cleveland has also been dealing with rampant crime as homicides are up 24% compared to a year ago.
In Des Moines, IA, Democratic activist Indira Sheumaker, 27, defeated eight-year incumbent Bill Gray for a Ward 1 City Council seat. Sheumaker ran on a defund the police platform, saying in a statement following her victory:
“We just won our campaign on a platform centered on Defunding the Police for Safety and Justice. It can be done. My goal for this city has always been to work from the bottom up. Not the top down. I’m more committed than ever to working with the residents of Des Moines to get their needs met, prioritizing the people, and acting as a true representative for Ward 1.”
Will the Marxist Crusade Continue?
In the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, Vishnu states, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Is this the inherent nature of today’s cultural Marxist dogma? While economic thought has dominated the campaign to usher in Karl Marx’s vision, the concept has evolved into a more society-altering crusade. Defunding the police is one of these tenets of 21st-century Marxist orthodoxy, allocating resources and power to snippets of wokeology, from social workers to bureaucrats. But, at least in the case of Minneapolis, there has been a substantial wokelash to the left’s belief that calling 911 is a privilege of being white. Communities just want to be safe.
~ Read more from Andrew Moran.