One of Donald Trump’s favorite catchphrases this election has been that he is the “law and order candidate,” an assertion that establishes his authority and credibility over the likes of the “crooked” — and allegedly criminal, according to Trump’s camp — Hillary Clinton. Up until now, one’s opinion of the veracity of such a claim has been left entirely up to personal judgment of the candidates’ respective political stances. But while, to some extent, this subjectivity will always remain true, a recent development has certainly lended some credence to Trump’s boasting: the Fraternal Order of Police, the largest law enforcement union in the world consisting of over 330,000 members, officially endorsed The Donald as its candidate of choice in the 2016 election.
Jim Pasco, the executive director of the FOP, told the press that he had sent a 12 page questionnaire to each of the candidates, to which Clinton did not respond until weeks after the deadline had passed. Trump, on the other hand, impressed members of the FOP enough through his questionnaire and public statements regarding police to earn their “full support” come November. In its press release detailing the reasoning behind the endorsement, the FOP said that Trump “understands and supports our priorities” and is a “proven leader,” qualities that more than make up for his lack of political experience.
In our present racially-charged, hyper-tense political climate, there are many who will probably assume that a police union’s endorsement of Trump is yet more proof of so-called systemic racism. The pieces are certainly there for those already looking to put them together; of course Trump, that close-minded harbinger of racism and bigotry, would appeal to the institution that spends its days killing innocent young black men! Or so goes the narrative, anyway. In reality, the FOP’s endorsement was not given in support of racism and divisiveness but rather to further the cause of the man they believe is fighting those things.
Do not believe any right-leaning political commentator when they say that the country has never been more divided amongst itself than it is now. It’s nothing more than a fear mongering, sensationalist talking point that ignores the Civil Rights era and the struggle to end legally-enforced segregation, not to mention that one time when we spent four years fighting a massive-scale civil war. Still, there must exist a reason why so many people find comfort in such an obviously false claim, and that reason is that cultural division, regardless of its relative value to the lowest points of American history, is once more on the rise in 2016. Every day in the news we are fed the fallacious story of a race war brewing in America with the police’s supposed targeting of African-Americans and the Black community’s indignation at such an action. These tensions in and of themselves are certainly real, but their genesis and rationale just do not seem to stack up with the facts.
How many times have you heard it said that Donald Trump is the source of the poisonous strain of balkanization that is sweeping the country, that it’s his boisterous attitude and refusal to self-censor that has unearthed such a powerful wave of hatred and bigotry? There’s a good chance you’ve had this telling of things drilled into your head so many times by liberal news sources and armchair social media political commentators that you’ve taken it as fact, but if it were true, you have to answer one question: why has this sort of racial tension been on the rise since before The Donald ever announced his candidacy?
Obviously, it is tough to pinpoint a specific moment when race relations began to regress after what was perhaps their most unified point in American history, the election of Barack Obama as president, but a good place to start might be with the death of Trayvon Martin and the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. It was that fatal shooting that really kickstarted the conversation concerning the higher rates of police victimization and criminality within the Black community, a discussion that began with valid points on both sides but quickly devolved into senseless race-baiting and baseless accusations of racism.
In reality there is little that is clear regarding the reasoning behind such high crime rates, incarcerations, and police-related fatalities in the African-American community. What should be obvious from a look at the FBI’s crime statistics though is that racial discrimination cannot be conclusively shown or even hinted at, unless you believe that it is wrong for the Black community to be punished disproportionately even after committing crimes like homicide and rape at rates more than 9 and 3 times the rates of Whites respectively, or that Whites are actually discriminated against in favor of Asian-Americans, who have the lowest incarceration, crime, and poverty rates across the board. Discrepancies remain that should be open to healthy dialogue (“since we know that no arbitrarily defined racial group is necessarily more inclined to be violent or disobedient, what is it about culture and social class that creates such a disparity?”) but instead of such a debate in the public forum, we are treated on the left to cries of racism that is perpetuated by a system rigged for White people. It’s an easy explanation that doesn’t require a whole lot of critical thinking, perfect for 21st century attention spans.
It is in that ill-informed milieu that anti-white and anti-cop mentalities have festered in the Black Lives Matter community, feelings that may not be shared by a majority of people seeking social justice but exist in large enough numbers to make them heard above the rest. Listen to chants of “pigs in a blanket, fry’em like bacon” in reference to police officers at BLM rallies, see the chaotic and violent rioting in cities like Milwaukee and Charlotte, observe how the court of public opinion is instantly turned against every officer who had to take a black man’s life, and it becomes easy to see why so many cops feel threatened or uneasy with the current state of the country. And when they feel that they are being unfairly targeted (what beautiful irony), of course they will push back against the negative force.
As far as it manifests itself in a presidential candidate, that negative force is Hillary Clinton. She and the rest of the moderate Democrats like her find themselves at the whims of the militant far left, who have managed so far to push their divisive narrative to ever greater limits with impunity. Trump, meanwhile, though he could probably show some more empathy towards the social condition of people who have been led to believe in the worldview constructed by Black Lives Matter, has at least so far been willing to call out the falsity while still recognizing the imperfections within law enforcement; despite a common strawman argument that insists in the right’s unequivocal support of police, Trump has come out and said, as he did in his statement after the attacks on Dallas police officers, that the shootings of unarmed black men “make clear how much more work we have to do to make every American feel that their safety is protected.” So of course the FOP will support the man who condemns the group that divides and demonizes police officers and not the candidate that stands behind said group! They, like every voter, just want to feel as though their voices are being heard. And whether you agree with that stance or not, please do better than to just blindly call them racists for having it.