Thursday, January 18, 2007


One supposed benchmark of success for a minority rights movement is to see members of the minority ascend to positions of power hitherto closed to them.

For instance, having a black president would signal that black people had “come a long way.”

The power structure can turn this impulse into a cruel burlesque, giving us Clarence Thomas (black), Alberto Gonzales (brown), Elaine Chao (yellow), and Ken Mehlmen (nerd--gays have disowned him).

The current police crisis in San Francisco (cop friends beat Yale choirboys) shows a clear failure of this standard as regards the women’s movement.

The only job description item that makes policing unique is the use of force. A police officer must, when it gets down to it, be willing and able to apply force to apprehend criminals and to protect the public.

The willingness to crack heads, while a necessary trait in the police force, requires effective management. Just as we want police dogs to be gentle and non-aggressive except when aggression is called for by their jobs, the same principle applies to human police.

In San Francisco there are three people who bear responsibility for the behavior of the police: the Chief of Police, the District Attorney, and the Mayor. All three at this time, happen to be women.

All three are defending, or cooperating in the defense of the cops who covered up and the cops’ friends who actually did the beating. This is a setback for the women’s movement.

Heather Fong is our chief of police. She was brought in as some sort of sop after goodoldboy police brass were indicted for covering up a previous off-duty cop beating sandal. I’m sorry, but when I look at her I think Barney Fife. She’s backing up the cop lies.

Kamala (sort of rhymes with Pamela) Harris is our District Attorney. She has done nothing except delay. And as we know from TV, delay is the friend of the guilty. The strategy is to let things cool down, in hopes that the outrageous decision not to prosecute, when finally announced, will cause less outrage.

Gavin Newsom is our mayor. He looks so good, I’m making him an honorary woman. And his behavior in this case is what misogynists used to call “womanly.”

Why? There are two reasons why cop power would trump obvious public interest:

1) The cops, or their friends, have dirt on Fong/Harris/Newsom, that keeps them from doing the right thing,

2) Fong/Harris/Newsom are afraid of being murdered by the police. This has happened before. Dan White, an (ex)cop murdered our liberal mayor and a county supervisor, and his cop friends and the D.A. helped him get off with five years for manslaughter. Our top prosecutor was supposedly caught off guard by the Twinkie defense.

It’s a shame our police department can’t do better. I went to school with lots of kids who became cops, and I would personally vouch for the integrity of most of them.

But the police department is a bureaucracy, and left unattended, bureaucracies will be taken over by the mediocre and the venal.

I wonder how we good-government advocates can make things easier for the great majority of policemen and women who want to do a decent, honest job, and who don’t enjoy licking the asses of our podunk (wikilink) aristocracy.

[Editorial note: Pud thinks that associating Gavin Newsom with the women’s movement is grossly unfair and “stupid.” I tend to agree. To call Gavin Newsom “a woman” is an insult to women everywhere, and I apologize.]

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