One of the most memorable right-wing rhetorical flourishes that came out of the Viet Nam War war era was, “My country right or wrong.” No doubt the working class patriots who often invoked that sentiment to express disapproval of anti-war protesters really believed that they were the true American patriots at that incredibly divisive, painful moment in our nation’s history. I also have no doubt that they didn’t realize that the notion of “my country right or wrong” is the antithesis of what a democracy that celebrates freedom of speech is all about. But it is a perfectly appropriate sentiment for an autocratic, populist, authoritarian dictatorship.
Since the announcement that there would be no indictment of any policeman for placing the unarmed Eric Gardner in a strangle-hold that cost him his life, Mayor Bill de Balsio’s efforts to identify and address an obvious problem in American law enforcement while simultaneously showing respect and support for New York’s men in blue has triggered a revolt by many rank and file officers who feel unjustly reprimanded.
The disrespect the thousands of New York policemen have shown the mayor by turning their backs on him in public, speaks volumes about them, their values and their priorities:
- If you criticize us for any reason, you are undermining our status as professionals.
- The fact that we arrest and shoot more men from minority groups is because “they” are more likely to be criminals, so what?
- How dare Mayor DeBlasio tell his inter-racial son to always be extra cooperative with police because our level tolerance for the behavior of teens of color is not the same as for white kids! No such problem really exists, what’s he talking about?
- We believe that public servants who do dangerous jobs like ours should never be criticized or challenged for any aspect of their job performance. Don’t forget, we belong to a powerful union that could shut this city down!
- But if you dare criticize us, we will blame you for the actions of a mentally ill criminal when he kills two policemen.
- If a kid doesn’t like a report card she gets; if a worker doesn’t like the annual job review of their supervisor; if an elected official has to confront voters who are unhappy with his/her job performance, they can just blow their critics off. Right? That’s how mature adults deal with criticism, right?
NYPD Cops Again Turn Backs on Mayor at Second Slain Officer’s Funeral
By BEN CANDEA
NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton earlier in the week sent a warning to officers who planned to attend the funeral, saying it was “about grieving, not grievance,” after several officers turned their backs to de Blasio as he spoke at another officer’s funeral last weekend.
“A hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance,” Bratton wrote in a memo sent to officers. The gesture “stole the valor, honor, and attention that rightfully belonged to the memory of Detective Rafael Ramos’s life and sacrifice.”
The shooting deaths of Liu and Ramos came amid heightened tensions between the police and the mayor over what some police saw as a lack of support for the force.