American cities are in flames, and the leftist mayors of those cities are siding with those who have been lighting the matches.
President Trump, on numerous occasions, warned those mayors that if they didn’t take action to protect the people of their cities, he would.
They didn’t, so he did.
In recent days, President Trump and Attorney General Barr have sent federal law enforcement agents into places like Portland Oregon, Detroit, and Chicago. The mayors predictably howled protests, but Trump and Barr have not backed down.
On its face, sending in the federal officers and agents seems to be the obvious thing to do to protect citizens who have been abandoned by their radical leftist mayors. However, this action raises federalism issues. Law enforcement is a local and state matter unless federal crimes are being committed.
The leftist mayors and their leftist allies in governor’s mansions, Congress, and, of course, the “news” media, are screaming that the federal government is overstepping its bounds. None of these people have standing to make this argument after decades of thumbing their noses at federalism as they worked tirelessly expand the size and scope of the federal government at the expense of state and local governments.
Nevertheless, as principled conservatives, intellectual honesty requires that we ask whether the federal government has a legitimate basis for involving itself in the violence happening locally in those cities.
The answer is yes, and here’s why:
One obvious area where the federal government has a legitimate law enforcement interest is in protecting federal property. So, for example, it was entirely proper for the FBI to protect that federal courthouse in Portland yesterday. (Teargassing the Marxist mayor while he was participating in the violence was just an added bonus of delicious schadenfreude.)
But in a more general sense, both the actions and the agenda of those perpetrating this violence can reasonably be characterized as domestic terrorism, and in some instances, insurrection, and the federal government has a legitimate role in opposing those kinds of federal crimes.
The Oxford Dictionary definition of terrorism is “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”
Can anyone question that what is happening meets this definition? The rioters in these cities are vandalizing and burning buildings, both private and governmental. They are physically attacking police. They are destroying historical monuments. They are destroying businesses. They are murdering children.
And they are committing all of this violence in the pursuit of political aims.
In other words, these people are terrorists. And the mayors who are supporting them are terrorist sympathizers who are supporting terrorism.
The Oxford Dictionary definition of insurrection is “a violent uprising against an authority or government.”
The actions of these terrorists meet this definition as well.
The federal government has not only a right, but a responsibility, to protect American citizens anywhere and everywhere from terrorism and insurrection. This is especially true where the local government officials who should provide the front-line defense against such violence side with the terrorists and insurrectionists.
So, yes, it is entirely proper for the president to send federal law enforcement into these cities. He should continue to do so until these acts of terrorism and insurrection are entirely stopped – and until everyone involved is brought to justice.
That includes the mayors and governors who abandoned the citizens they swore oaths to protect and instead enabled and supported the terrorism and insurrection against them.