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The Drawing of the Lines

The degree to which the Right is hysterically attacking Mayor Bill de Blasio over the murder of two New York policemen is either the measure of knee-jerk right-wing racism or knee-jerk right-wing animus toward anything they label “Left,” or both.

For example, Bill O’Reilly is calling Mayor de Blasio a “villain” who must resign. Let us not forget that this is the same Bill O’Reilly who helped incite the murder of Dr. George Tiller. O’Reilly has never taken responsibility or expressed remorse about Dr. Tiller’s murder, I don’t believe.

Meanwhile, convicted felon Bernie Kerik says “war is being raged on our homeland.” He also says Eric Garner’s death was Garner’s own fault.

On the other hand, the New York Times has been supportive of the Mayor and the protesters.

I believe I’ve already written that the reactions to police violence have been somewhat different from what they might have been in years past. The wall of white obliviousness doesn’t seem quite so solid, anyway.

It’s still there, though. By now you’ve probably heard about the Fox News Affiliate that was so eager to blame protesters for the murder of the two officers that they doctored a video to claim the crowd was chanting to “kill a cop.” But it was not. And the claim that Mayor de Blasio somehow made inflammatory anti-police statements is just conjured out of thin air. As Michael Tomasky wrote,

I covered New York politics for 15 years, and I saw some awfully tense moments between the police and Democratic politicians. But there has never been anything remotely like the war the cops are waging right now against Mayor Bill de Blasio for the thought crime of saying something that was completely unremarkable and so obviously true that in other contexts we don’t even bat an eye when someone says it. And for that, the mayor has blood on his hands, as Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Pat Lynch said Saturday evening after the hideous assassinations of two NYPD officers?

And what did Mayor de Blasio say?

This is profoundly personal for me. I was at the White House the other day, and the president of the United States turned to me, and he met Dante a few months ago, and he said that Dante reminded him of what he looked like as a teenager. And he said, I know you see this crisis through a very personal lens. I said to him I did. Because Chirlane and I have had to talk to Dante for years, about the dangers he may face. A good young man, a law-abiding young man, who would never think to do anything wrong, and yet, because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face—we’ve had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.

And this was bad, because … ? It reminds me of the outrage when the President remarked that if he’d had a son he would have looked like Trayvon Martin. Yes, possibly so. But the way the Right reacted to this innocuous remark was so out of proportion to anything, you’d have thought the President had called for a melanin deficiency tax.

Whatever goes on in rightie heads is utterly alien to me.

But here is where the real lines are drawn. It’s not really between whites and blacks. It’s between the sane and the crazy. And it’s between people who actually want peace and justice and those that just want to politicize and hate and refuse to take responsibility.

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