Jewish World Review Oct. 25, 2001 / 8 Mar-Cheshvan, 5762
Lewis A. Fein
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- BY NOW, Hillary Clinton has applied (or plans to administer) the political antiseptic of liberalism upon her wounds, received last Saturday before a crowd of angry New York City police officers and firemen. These protests are not about Bill or Hillary Clinton per se, as if one evening of uproarious outrage sufficiently captures America's fury at Mrs. Clinton.
Rather, this spontaneous disapproval involves Mrs. Clinton's latent attitudes concerning, and similarly liberal thoughts about, the alleged racism and illegitimacy of the police. For, notwithstanding the horror and murderous violence of last September, the police rightly suspect Mrs. Clinton (and others like her) would maintain her general philosophy about law enforcement: that it is a lowly profession - certainly one beneath the gifted genius of Yale alumni, excluding George W. Bush - reserved for society's racist beasts.
Yet why do the police dislike Mrs. Clinton, especially during a time when the entire country presumably stands united against evil? The answer is simple but controversial: we are militarily united abroad and culturally divided, between the eponymous blue and red states, at home. Or, to frame things more visually, Americans may wave Old Glory, but its colors assume many permutations - from the pastel patriotism of the soft left (where red, white and blue contrast too sharply off the orange sunsets of the Malibu coast) to the pink communism of extreme liberalism, neatly headquartered in Berkeley, California.
And, just as war against Hitler did not transform bigots into saints, last September's events do not acquit liberalism of its hatred toward law enforcement. The people that hate police officers - the kind of individuals permanently sequestered within the protective walls of Beverly Hills, California or Chappaqua, New York - enjoy the convenience of politics without consequences. That is, celebrities or affluent liberals can oppose school choice (though their own children attend private school) or trumpet gun control (provided armed personnel protect Rosie O'Donnell) without reprisal. Taken together, this philosophy represents the madness of money - like the rescue of Felix the cat by Officer Joe of the Beverly Hills Police Department, case number 553417.
Still, the broader issue concerning liberalism's hostility toward law enforcement remains. This cultural war (a conflict between two mutually incompatible groups, intellectuals and ordinary citizens) is about the potential supremacy of America's meritocracy. The liberal beneficiaries of America's meritocracy, including Mrs. Clinton and her Wellesley sisters, believe law enforcement is a brainless and brutal profession. By this standard, true power accrues only to those individuals with good grades and high SAT scores. Yet what police officers allegedly lack in intelligence, which itself is a terrible economic stereotype, they compensate for with something more exclusive and important: duty.
Every survivor of last September's terrorist attacks - especially every police officer privileged to have returned alive - enjoys the power of individual honor. Individual honor is liberalism's final and impossibly unsolvable theorem. For honor or the exercise of personal duty requires a form of selflessness, divorced from discussions of political viability or right-wing conspiracies, liberals cannot fathom. Think of honor as the captain of a great political Titanic, where liberals have consigned police officers, firemen and assembly workers to steerage - and final destruction.
The entombment of countless police officers and firemen, beneath a smoldering pile of rock, steel and glass, is the price of freedom . . . and liberalism's lunacy. Beneath the debris of the World Trade Center, there is another kind of metal: the police shields of the dead. Each badge contains a number and a name - these are the civilian dog tags of combat.
And then there is the pile of law enforcement's dead, brave officers with Irish-Catholic roots. These are the men that protect religion's very freedom, from the Latin recitations of their parish priest to the Hebraic chants of the neighborhood rabbi - even the Arabic calls of a peaceful imam. These are the soldiers of last September, for whom last rites were delivered and received from a distance and in every person's heart.
These are the soldiers liberalism