A few weeks ago, I wrote about being a kid and visiting my grandparents in north Minneapolis. I’d ask them for a dime, walk a block from their apartment on the second story of a neighborhood house and head down to the five-and-dime on Dupont and Broadway for hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day. My maternal grandparents didn’t have money, but they had a safe neighborhood.
I couldn’t have imagined what was about to unfold in the Twin Cities.
After decades of liberal governance in Minneapolis and St. Paul, the reality is things have deteriorated to the breaking point we have all sadly witnessed.
Race relations are worse than ever along with rising crime rates under successive Democrat administrations. Housing is out of reach, taxes are at record levels, and a substandard education—despite spending increases—is the norm for too many inner-city children.
The promise of the “good life in Minnesota” is starting to ring hollow
In the wake of an injustice that everyone agreed must be corrected, entire neighborhoods were nevertheless left to looters and arsonists. Businesses like the local Auto Zone were turned into a war zone. It goes without saying this did nothing to relieve the grief of George Floyd’s family. Just the opposite.
We cannot condone politicians who stand by and allow our neighborhoods and businesses to perish. For the same reason government must never abuse the power of force, it must not fail to exercise it in the name of peace, order and public safety.
Otherwise, as we have seen, society breaks down.
Local officials bear the most culpability for the inexplicable inaction as they were in the direct chain of command. How sadly ironic that these were the politicians most eager to impose stay-at-home orders and mandatory masks for law-abiding citizens but who refused to enact and enforce a curfew on rioters until it was too late.
It is now clear they had no plan, then the wrong one to “retreat” and then they got caught lying about who was behind it all.
But all elected officials have a responsibility to lead or at the least, not make things worse. Unfortunately—and on several fronts—Al Franken’s replacement in the U.S. Senate, Tina Smith, has made things far worse. On the Saturday after the expedited arrest of Derek Chauvin, the New Mexico native took to the podium to criticize Minnesotans for “the racism that is too much a part of our state.”
Smith then went on to call for a continuation of “righteous protests,” saying “that is how we change the state and this country so it is worthy of all of us” while tweeting about “taking to the streets to demand change,” even though it “may make the folks in charge uncomfortable.” Finally, Smith took to the Senate floor to declare, “there’s something inherently dangerous about the role police play in our society.”
Of course, she couches these inflammatory remarks with a call for “peaceful protest.”
The fact is Smith has always had an affinity for the “resistance” Antifa-style faction now in control of the Democrat Party. While serving on a “working group” as chief of staff for the mayor of Minneapolis, she opposed a routine requirement that protestors apply for a demonstration permit so as to avoid public confrontations during the Republican National Convention in 2008.
On Thursday afternoon, before the weekend carnage, I called for an immediate curfew and repeatedly warned that if more chaos erupts, the President should consider “federalizing” the National Guard and deploy it under more competent leadership. This was an exigency and leaders needed to act.
Even before the Orwellian COVID-19 lockdown—which Smith has enthusiastically supported while my campaign was suing Governor Walz over the unconstitutional infringement of our civil liberties—businesses were already flat on their back. Abandoning them in the most vulnerable of areas has finished many of them off.
But the former Planned Parenthood executive has indeed enjoyed “the good life,” rising from Chief of Staff for a liberal Minneapolis mayor to appointed Lt. Governor for a scandal-plagued Governor Dayton. Why Smith even kept her paycheck during the administration’s state government shutdown. Naturally, in St. Paul’s own version of the swamp, she was eventually appointed U.S. Senator after Franken’s resignation.
Liberals have had their way in Minnesota for some time and no one represents that more than Smith. These wealthy elites pat themselves on the back for being compassionate with other people’s money while hollowing out the middle class.
In the wake of the mayhem, far too many residents of our great state are asking themselves, “who lost Minnesota?”
They should be asking Tina Smith.
Former Congressman Jason Lewis is the Republican-endorsed candidate for the US Senate in 2020.