Who is responsible for the mess in Minneapolis? The answer to that question is not unknowable — but it is, in many political quarters, unspeakable.
Minneapolis’s municipal government, its institutions, and its police department are what they are not because of the abstract Hegelian forces of capital-H History, but because of decisions that have been made by people. Who these people are is a matter of public record. We know their names: Jacob Frey, Betsy Hodges, R. T. Rybak, Sharon Sayles Belton, Medaria Arradondo, Janeé Harteau, Tim Walz, Mark Dayton . . . the rogues’ gallery is practically inexhaustible.
But, oh, the transmuting magic of partisanship! Minneapolis is a Democratic city, with a Democratic mayor and a Democratic city council (0.0 Republicans on that body), in a state with a Democratic governor and a Democratic state house; these are the people who hire police chiefs and organize police departments, who specify their procedures and priorities, who write the laws that the police are tasked with enforcing — Democrats and progressives practically to a man. (Not every member of the Minneapolis city council is a Democrat — there’s a Green, too.) That’s a lot of lefty power, hardly anything except lefty power — but, somehow, the bad guy in this story must be Donald Trump.
But of course.
On social media the other day, in discussions of George Floyd’s death, I saw an increasing number of references from Democrats and Democratic friends about the problem of systemic racism. I wrote the following post, citing only a few municipal examples:
“Below are pertinent questions, given the way the Democratic Party defines itself as being the party of tolerance and inclusion, and many Democrats’ characterizations of Republicans or conservatives as racists or racially insensitive.
“Minneapolis, Minn. has been under Democratic control since 1978. Chicago has been under Democratic control for 89 years; its present mayor is a black woman. Philadelphia has had Democratic mayors for 68 years; three of its last five mayors have been black men. Six of the last seven Atlanta, Ga., mayoral administrations were led by black Democratic mayors, and the present mayor is a black woman.
“A city runs its police department and other services; therefore, if there is so much ‘systemic racism’ in these organizations, why hasn’t it been corrected over so many years under Democratic leaders?
“Why aren’t these cities garden spots of racial tolerance, understanding, and virtue?”
There have been no answers.
Nor will there be.