by Chris Braunlich
Nothing so epitomizes the Fairfax Democratic Party’s lurch leftward as the last 48 hours.
On the afternoon of Sunday, May 31, the Fairfax County Democratic Committee issued a re-tweet noting “riots are an integral part of the country’s march towards progress.” This came after a night of destruction, with civilians beaten, churches torched and millions of dollars in damages and looting.
Picked up and commented on by Josh Kraushaar, Politics editor at the National Journal, the Democratic endorsement of rioting began gaining steam and triggering a backlash – so much so that the Fairfax Democratic Committee took the post down on Monday morning.
The party chairman, Bryan Graham, blamed it all on a volunteer, deploying the time-honored political tradition of “throwing the volunteer under the bus.” He did not explain why a mere “volunteer” had access to the party’s Twitter account or why there was no adult leadership.
Fine. “The kid did it” has worked before and might even have the benefit of being true.
But what to make of Jeff McKay, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors?
In a Monday evening newsletter sent to his constituents – a newsletter of some 1,000 words no “volunteer” wrote — McKay noted “I’m angry and disgusted that today, for the third time in as many days, we saw peaceful protesters tear gassed and shot with pellet guns as they chanted for peace and change.”
He then noted his anger and disgust at the tremendous violence by some of the protesters, the millions of dollars in damage to stores serving the black community, the fires set at historic St. John’s church in DC and the AFL-CIO building.
No … just kidding. I made that last paragraph up. There was no anger and disgust aimed at violent protesters or looters.
In a deep bow to the forces that now control his party, McKay was silent. And in silence, he dishonored men like the owners of Waller’s Jewelry store in Richmond, a 100-year-old black-owned establishment that saw itself targeted and its merchandise looted.
Or K.B. Balla, a black firefighter in Minneapolis who invested his entire life savings in opening a sports bar and saw it wiped out and burned down – and then the looters came back for the safe while he was being interviewed by CBS.
He ignored his fellow local leaders like DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who noted “we do not and we will not allow the continued destruction of our hometown by people who are coming here to protest.” He ignored the history of such violence – that it often results in the destruction of black communities and black properties that take decades to undo.
And he dishonored the residents of those black communities who, as reported in today’s Washington Post, “have struggled to maintain peaceful protests in the face of young white men joining the fray, seemingly determined to commit mayhem.” The Post identified one such young white man, Brian Jordan Bartels, who is “militant about veganism.” This is not a joke.
In full disclosure, I had occasion to work with Mr. McKay when he was chief of staff to his predecessor and I was on the Fairfax County School Board. When he ran for Chairman of the Board, he ran as the “centrist” in the Democratic primary. But he has quickly turned leftward, in a county where nearly every elected official is a Democrat. When there is one-party rule, one needs only to get the nomination of that party to win and in this case it means one needs to cravenly appeal to the ideologues of the Left.
It is not what we need now, certainly not in local government.
The violence of the last several days obscures what should be the real point of the protests: The death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer, as well as that of Eric Garner and others that preceded him. There is a serious issue here — when Rush Limbaugh calls for a police officer to be prosecuted for first degree murder one knows there is a problem – and solving it won’t come from wanton destruction.
It requires conservatives to acknowledge that there is a racial dysfunction in America that demands a deep look within ourselves. It requires the Left to stop ignoring or making excuses for violent acts.
It means equally acknowledging the knot in the gut most police officers feel when he or she straps on the belt and answers a call … as well as the fear most law-abiding black men must feel these days when pulled over late at night. It means government should be focusing on lowering economic and regulatory barriers for everyone … not picking winners and losers to give advantages to some over others. It means empowering people to make their own informed decisions, not empowering a government to make those decisions for them and breeding a further dependency that is unhealthy and leads to further inequality.
And it requires those in political office to cease genuflecting to the ideological powers that put them there and instead represent all the people … in a way that deserves the title “Chairman.”
Chris Braunlich is president of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy. He may be reached at [email protected]There are currently no comments highlighted.