Minneapolis is at the forefront of the defund the police movement and Ilhan Omar is the measure’s biggest cheerleader. A glimpse at the proposed change that will greet voters this Tuesday provides a preview of how transformative progressive policies will wreak havoc in America. Make no mistake, this vision will likely be coming to a city near you.
On the ballot this Tuesday is the controversial Public Safety Charter Amendment, a measure that would replace the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) with a Department of Public Safety. Also known as City Question #2, the issue is about more than mere semantics. For starters, the initiative will do away with the current minimum officer requirement, even though Minneapolis is already more than 100 officers short of its current mandated minimum. With the city currently on pace to set a grim new record for homicides this year, the amendment poses a clear and present threat not only to Minneapolis, but the surrounding suburbs where the crime rate has climbed exponentially as well.
With law enforcement vilified by elected officials and corporate media continuously grinding their ideological axes, officers have been leaving the force in droves, mostly through a wave of retirements and long-term leave. The scarcity of new recruits willing to join the force further exacerbates the shortage. Yet, supporters of the charter amendment tell us not to worry. After all, the newly imagined Department of Public Safety will include traditional police as well, albeit only “if necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of the department.”
Question #2 also eliminates the position of police chief who answers to the mayor, and replaces it with a commissioner answerable to each of the 13 city council members. Imagine having 13 bosses who lack even a basic understanding of public safety and who rarely agree on anything aside from the certainty that you’re the problem. Anyone who has held a job before or served in the military would immediately recognize these pitfalls. Replacing decisive and life-saving action with an endless committee debate could hardly be considered a leap forward in terms of public safety.
It’s also worth noting that the current police chief whose position would be eliminated is Medaria Arradondo, the one consensus official, in or outside of law enforcement, who engenders a positive response from the public and who had a recent poll finding he held a 55% favorable rating. That’s higher than the mayor (35%) and governor (49%), both of whom are Democrats. You might therefore assume Police Chief Arradondo’s input would be crucial when crafting such a consequential public safety amendment but his counsel was never sought.
The measure doesn’t stop there, even if it does stop short of providing vital details about what public safety plan comes next if it passes. That blueprint has yet to be written, leaving open the question of how this new department would function. Those specifics will be left up to the newly-empowered and wildly unpopular 13-member Minneapolis City Council. With a favorability rating topping out at a miniscule 28%, they are left to reimagine the department from scratch and hash out those vital details at some yet-to-be determined date. This goes well beyond Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s infamous 2010 line on Obamacare, “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it,” as Minneapolis residents are being asked to pass the amendment knowing there’s nothing in it beyond a gutted police force, more layers of bureaucratic red tape, and an unqualified collection of woke Imagineers left to protect the state’s largest metropolis.
If all of this sounds like a perfect storm of ill-advised absurdities, that’s because it is. This ballot measure is a dangerous progressive thought experiment masquerading as reform. Such nonsense may sound appealing in coffee shops and teachers lounges but it has no business being adopted in real world, life and death situations.
It is no wonder, then, that the amendment suffers no dearth of critics. Even the editorial board of the leading and irreconcilably liberal Minneapolis daily, Star Tribune, has come out against the measure, calling it “a dangerous and unacceptable gamble for the city.”
In fact, the initiative is seen as such a political albatross that leading Democrats in Minnesota have come out against the amendment, including Governor Tim Walz, and U.S. Senator and former presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar. The list of Democratic opposition also includes Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who gained national notoriety when he abandoned the Third Precinct to a “fiery, but mostly peaceful” mob that torched the police station on May 28, 2020.
In the meantime, some in the Minneapolis City Council, who also face voters at the ballot box this Tuesday, have been busy trying to memory-hole their support for the initiative but city residents are finding it hard to believe them. After all, in June 2020, council members spoke at a boisterous rally under a banner that read “DEFUND POLICE.” The message wasn’t subtle. Nor was their actual December 2020 vote to defund the police to the tune of $8 million.
Their decisions to walk back from their angry rhetorical cliff makes political sense when you consider that a September 2021 poll conducted by the Star Tribune, MPR News, KARE 11 and FRONTLINE found that a majority (55%) of registered, likely voters in Minneapolis do not think the city should reduce the size of its police force.
Those poll numbers told a deeper story as well. In keeping with today’s toxic brand of white liberal guilt that constantly seeks to decide on behalf of black people what is in their interest, the poll found a whopping 75% of black Minneapolis voters don’t want to cut the police force, compared to 51% of white voters. In other words, this kind of help is killing us.
But not every elected leader cares about their constituency or hides their support for this half-baked plan to turn the Twin Cities into a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah. The honor of the loudest voice in favor of turning the people she represents into the nation’s crash test dummy goes to my political opponent, Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-5). She leads the progressive pack in their tireless crusade to demilitarize, defund, or dismantle the police. Omar even finds former President Barack Obama too conservative for her taste. For example, when Obama said that political candidates lose support when using “snappy” slogans like “defund the police,” Ilhan was quick to fire back and clarify that it means precisely that.
And she is not alone. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison – who groomed Omar for her 2018 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives – also supports cutting law enforcement, even as he attempts to dress up the poison pill in a nonsensical word salad.
Ilhan Omar’s divisive, destructive, anti-black, and anti-Semitic policies and rhetoric may be considered standard fare at this point. Perhaps less well-known is her rank hypocrisy. While Omar has spent over a year clamoring for police departments to be defunded and dismantled, she has shelled out almost $80,000 to surround herself with private security, beginning just 23 days after she was sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives. While studiously working to strip law enforcement protections from average citizens, she has paid three separate firms to provide her with, as the firms promised, “peace of mind, and the confidence that the safety and security of [her] family… and assets are ensured.”
The reality is that for many progressives, police reform is a Trojan Horse for the radical transformation of America. However, few have taken the trouble to spell it out as clearly as Ilhan Omar has with a smorgasbord of pre-woke buzzwords that are now widespread among the political Left. Take, for instance, her 2018 campaign webpage where she called to “dismantle systemic racism in our country” and “radically transform our approach to criminal justice.” In 2021, our so-called “moderate” Democrat President Biden radically transformed the definition of “national security” just a few months after he was sworn in as part of his administration’s Interim National Security Guidance. It turned out, one of the few enemies Biden’s America will “aggressively combat” is “systemic racism.”
The dangerous and ascendant progressive politics of today are the ideological predecessors of mainstream Democrat thought tomorrow. Cutting the Minneapolis police force to a grossly insufficient number as violent crime is skyrocketing is cynical and dangerous. Empowering the same unpopular gang of woke ideologues who define “rethinking the police” as the enhancement of their own power is self-serving and foolhardy.
So much for the proverbial adults coming back into the room after the 2020 elections. Biden’s adults brought us the shame of the botched Afghanistan retreat while his progressive children are feeding us transformational poison pills they claim to be medicine. We need calm leaders with steady nerves, not one who will experiment with the lives of those she is supposed to safeguard. We need district and national leadership with a steady hand on the tiller, not one given to childish or geriatric spasms. We must start by holding them accountable at the ballot box on Tuesday and next November.