Did the ‘Back the Blue’ pledge mean what you thought it did?
Unless there are backroom deals between anti-police legislators and the power broker Republican leaders, then your job in Texas law enforcement should be safe for another biennium. Every single position of power in the state is held by the Republicans. The same Republicans who went way out on a limb, politically speaking, and gambled that the voters of Texas loved their cops. It worked, they won. Now is the time for you to ask the question: what does that mean when it comes to the attempts to attack your rights and reputation as one of Texas’ Finest?
Remember back when there was going to be a massive blue surge of Democrats elected in the Lone Star State? All the polls showed the ‘Reform the Police’ movement was solidly climbing to the top of the list of issues most likely to succeed in the 2020 election.
Then a funny thing happened. The police haters couldn’t accept their own political good fortune and simply turn out their vote from left to center. Their strategists began stacking all their chips on a fresh new idea. No Police! The ‘Defund the Police’ slogan immediately replaced calls for reform. The peaceful protests moved on to burning police stations and occupying government buildings. People set up police-free zones, attacked officers, and heralded the utopia that was surely upon us.
Even self-avowed socialists like Bernie Sanders began reaching for the emergency brake and cautioning that a world without police officers to protect communities would be a huge mistake, but the new left wouldn’t listen. Austin Mayor Steve Adler began reimagining a community where police resources were reallocated. The Austin City Council canceled police cadet classes and also prepared for the brave new world. Local anti-police Advocate Chas Moore openly pushed for “healing” instead of arrests for men accused of domestic violence against their partners.
While the trash, used needles, and tent villages piled up in Portland, Seattle, Austin and around the country the polls followed the sounds of the heavenly music of revolution and pushed ahead, expecting landslides in congressional races, state legislature, and even local races.
Finally, faced with the possibility of a Texas Democratic landslide, the Republican strategists strategically chose the only live round left in the message chamber… ‘Back the Blue.’ Governor Abbott and U.S. Senator John Cornyn led pledge signings all across the state. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick signed it, so did every single Republican State Senator. Speaker of the Texas House Dade Phelan signed the pledge, so did every single Republican House member. Patterned after Speaker Newt Gingrich’s ‘Contract with America,’ this message became the political wedge needed in Texas for Republicans to make a stunning comeback.
The wedge messaging worked for the Texas Republicans. Democrats are at only 67 of 150 seats in the Texas House of Representatives, 13 of 31 seats in the State Senate, and zero statewide elected officials. Without a doubt, the Republicans maintained their solid majorities because of the ‘Back the Blue’ pledge. It was well-timed and geographically executed.
As we go through the next 140 days of the Texas Legislative Session, please remember who rode to victory on your back. Remember to make sure when they begin having secret conversations with those who intend to denigrate your profession that you join in kindly reminding them that the ‘Back the Blue’ pledge worked, and they won.
Anti-police issues shouldn’t be able to move through any House or Senate Committee, much less wind up on the floor for debate and consideration. How could that even happen? They campaigned openly in contrast to those who were openly hating on the police, and they won!
It’s also a time to remember what’s really important. Your professional standards, your employment rights, and your ability to protect the communities you serve without fear of frivolous lawsuits that would hold you personally liable for official police actions. Any issues outside of those should belong to Chiefs, Sheriffs, and agency heads to defend. Higher standards, more training, and being reminded of our greater duty to protect and serve are not reasons to fight. Denigration, hatred, and false blame for society’s ills are not acceptable issues with which to seek to handcuff the good guys. We’ll call out the public policy of state-sponsored hatred of the police anytime we see it. You should too.
As we move toward the future, it’s incumbent on those leaders who use your good name, your honor, and your sacrifice to get themselves elected to remember their own signature on the ‘Back the Blue’ pledge. Was it real? Or just another political promise to be broken?
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