- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Last summer, amid the Black Lives Matter protests and the “defund the police” movement, Seattle’s first black police chief resigned.

Carmen Best announced her retirement hours after Seattle’s City Council voted to slash her budget and lay off young officers — all in the name of woke reform. Many of those officers who she would’ve been forced to fire were minorities, hired in part to improve diversity within the force.

“That, for me — I’m done. Can’t do it,” she said of having to lay off her force. “It really is about the overarching lack of respect for the officers.”

Ms. Best is just one example of the unintended consequences of woke politics. Progressive justice warriors cloak themselves in moralistic virtue, but their radical demands often hurt the people they’re supposed to be helping the most.

Did Ms. Best want to leave the police force? No. Did she bring more diversity to the force? Absolutely, yes. But the defund the police movement and the White, privileged progressive and corporate sponsors behind it, made her job untenable. 

There is not one Black person who sits on Seattle’s City Council, yet they decided it was best for the Black community to cut almost 20% of their police department’s budget, including a last-minute $2 million reduction to intentionally slow the rehiring of officers. The City Council has also dedicated $100 million to community organizations and alternatives to police response. 

Last year, amid the chaos and reorganization, Seattle had the highest number of homicides in over two decades. In 2019, there were 31 homicides in the city. In 2020, that number increased by 61%, with most victims between the ages of 18 and 49 and nearly 50% of them were Black. To put that number in perspective, only 6.8% of Seattle’s residents are Black.

Minneapolis also experienced a crime surge after the death of George Floyd and push to dismantle the police and replace them with community organizers. Since Floyd’s death, violent crimes spiked nearly 21% in the city. The current number of Minneapolis police officers is 200 below normal levels because of attrition and early retirements. This year, the City Council backtracked on its efforts to completely dismantle the police force and to spend more than $6 million to pay for additional officers — realizing their woke efforts backfired.

Jonathan Lundberg of North Minneapolis told NBC 15 news the constant sound of gunfire over the last 8 months has deeply affected his family.

“My wife still feels very unsafe,” Mr. Lundberg told the local news outlet. “She has been diagnosed with PTSD by her counselor as a result of everything that has happened this summer. My son is not sleeping.”

Woke politics struck again last week — and again is hurting those it’s meant to help.

In response to President Biden calling Georgia’s new election laws “Jim Crow on steroids,” Major League Baseball moved its All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver. Minority-owned businesses will suffer, as Cobb County is set to lose $100 million in tourism revenue. 

Black-owned businesses are already struggling nationwide and especially in Georgia where they make up nearly 30% of businesses in Atlanta alone. The last thing these workers and entrepreneurs need, during a global pandemic and economic closures, is a boycott that will hurt them economically. Yet, here we are.

Former NBA star Charles Barkley spoke some truth this week when he said politicians are diving Americans along racial lines for personal gain.

“I think our system is set up where our politicians, whether they’re Republican or Democrats, are designed to make us not like each other so they can keep their grasp of money and power. They divide and conquer,” he said on Saturday night during the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament.

Mr. Barkley was partially correct. It’s not Republicans who are looking to divide our nation along racial lines — it’s progressive Democrats and woke corporations. They dress up their rhetoric as morally superior as they wage a culture war that demands total subservience. Disagree with them, and you’re a racist.

However, it’s their woke policies that further victimize those they seek to help. Perhaps, like Mr. Barkley suggests, that’s intentional. That way, there will be a class of people they can rule over forever — always promising better outcomes, but never having to deliver. 

It’s time we start holding them accountable — for their woke experiments are anti-American, anti-safety, anti-history, immoral and divisive. They’re destroying the cities they control and threatening our happiness and prosperity as a nation. They must be stopped.

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