I had been expecting it, but when it finally came it was far worse than I had feared. I could scarcely believe my eyes.
The message that appeared in my email in-box Thursday evening came from the board of directors of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents rank-and-file LAPD officers, of which I have been a member for many years. It was an email version of the latest post on the LAPPL Blog, and it began thus: “The attack on Wisconsin workers is an attack on union members across the nation.”
A bit hyperbolic, perhaps, but no big surprise so far. The League has for some time been engaged in a preemptive campaign against legislation here in California that is in any way similar to that which has caused the recent furor in Wisconsin. (Such a law is all but unthinkable here in Democrat-controlled California, but one must be vigilant nonetheless.)
But in later paragraphs the directors took their appeal a bit farther. Too far, apparently, for many of their members. “As widely covered by the media in recent weeks,” they wrote, “Wisconsin’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, is moving to strip the majority of non-safety public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights. The shocking plan has prompted massive protests and a walkout by Democratic lawmakers there, and has led to increasingly large rallies across the nation.”
I must point out there is nothing particularly shocking about what Gov. Walker and the Republican majority in the Wisconsin legislature seek to accomplish, especially given that they campaigned and won election largely on their vow to curb state spending and close a looming deficit. They are merely trying to do as officeholders what they promised to do as candidates (which, on reflection, is shocking enough in itself). And it is troubling that we as police officers were being asked to endorse the lawless actions of the 14 Wisconsin state Senate Democrats who bugged out like a bunch of crooks with the cops at the door rather than allow the democratic process to unfold. Elections have consequences, I suppose, unless you can take it on the lam and prevent them.
The directors went on to express their condemnation for the growing campaign to deny collective bargaining rights to public sector employees, a position which, no doubt to a man, their members surely share. All of this would hardly have been worth comment had they stopped there.
There then came this paragraph:
At noon local time on Saturday, February 26, MoveOn.org will hold rallies in front of every statehouse and in every major city to stand in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin. Find a Rally to Save the American Dream near you by visiting the website and entering your zip code. You can also show your support by sending words of encouragement to Wisconsin’s workers via a special website created by the SEIU.
What? MoveOn.org? The SEIU? And they were asking cops to march in this parade? Surely this had to be some kind of elaborate Internet hoax.
And it got worse. If you dared to click on the link to find a rally, you learned that in addition to MoveOn.org and the SEIU, the events were to be sponsored by National People’s Action, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, USAction, the Daily Kos, Media Matters, and every other leftist fringe cabal this side of the Socialist Workers Party. The post concluded with a stirring exhortation: “Our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin are under attack. They need and deserve our support. The time to pull together is NOW.” They might have gone with something a bit punchier, like “Workers of the world, unite!”
It was no hoax. Would that it had been.