Reflection is Good for the Soul and for Politics

Every so often, especially for those of us who’ve chosen to immerse ourselves in the political mud pit, it seems a good idea to sit back and reflect on our political views. It’s important to recognize whether you believe something because it’s promoted by “your side,” or because the issue is worth your support. The difference is critical with all the group-think proliferating within America today.

Not too long ago, while watching Tucker Carlson Tonight on the Fox News Channel, he was interviewing a liberal guest. Now, I don’t remember the specific issue but for this discussion, it’s not important. What is important is that I found myself thinking the guest was making sense. After he finished speaking, looking surprised, Carlson said something to the effect of, “I think you’ve convinced me. I hadn’t thought about it that way, but it makes sense.” I was thinking the same thing. I value independent thought, but it felt good to have a similar reaction to the guest’s point validated so immediately by someone of like mind.

I appreciate that about intellectual honesty and political consistency. People such as Tucker Carlson on the right and Alan Dershowitz on the left, both of whom have taken positions unpopular with their fellow political travelers, remain consistent. For example, some of Carlson’s foreign policy stances tweak me, and I will never understand Professor Dershowitz’ loyalty to Hillary Clinton, but both men are consistent on policy. I like that about myself, too. It tells me that I will listen to reasonable opposing opinions—I always try to keep my mind open.

With some political adversaries, my views and theirs are simply “on the other side.” I don’t consider those folks my enemies. For instance, I, and many conservatives may think voting to reintroduce archaic rail transportation technology into a modern city is unwise. My left-leaning political counterparts may feel voting to build trains and streetcars is a fabulous idea.

So, even though I’m still right, and they’re still wrong (said with a sardonic smirk on my face), they simply voted to take more money from me, in the form of taxes, for something I don’t support. I don’t like it, but that’s life in a democratic republic—sometimes I lose. My side will win on some issues, too.

However, when someone “on the other side” wants to use the force of government to mandate how I should live because they’ve extrapolated that my freedom is somehow directly, negatively affecting their lives, that person is my political enemy. That person is mucking around with my liberty. Antifa, BLM, anarchists, communists, socialists, etc. are my enemies because they threaten a traditionally free America, which includes the liberty to pursue my happiness peacefully as I see fit.

I reassess my views and try to make sure they are critically thought through and intellectually honest. Then I distill my primary political belief down to its foundation. How does the country look if I get my political way compared with how it looks under my political enemies’ leadership?

If I get my way, the government would recognize my constitutional right to live my life free from government interference into areas where it doesn’t belong and so would everyone else. To the contrary, if the left, particularly the far-left, gets its way, I do not get to decide many of what should be my life choices. Whether it’s the soft oppression of European democratic-socialism, the political illusion of Chinese “commu-capitalism,” or the cruel despotism of North Korean communism, I do not get to live my peaceful life as I choose, as the original ideals of the U.S. Constitution guarantee.

(Credit: Facebook/TalkNetwork.com)

We’re talking about individuals agreeing to the relatively few government functions necessary to sustain the social contract but to be otherwise sovereign over his or her life. To the contrary, leftist, collectivist government is a virtual monarch (or slave master) dependent on big, intrusive government. A government that decides if you can buy a Slurpee or use a straw to drink it, where you may live, how much of your earnings and wealth you may keep, where your kids must go to school, who you may rent your property to, who you may employ, what kind of schedule employees must have, what kind of car you may drive, whether you may own a firearm, even what lightbulbs or toilets you may buy, etc. is contrary to living in a free society. Sadly, all of these rules, laws, or policies are in effect or threatening to be, somewhere in America today.

As a cop, I got to see firsthand the effects of good government force—stopping Peter from harming Paul. And bad government force—coercing Peter to comply with government edicts that have nothing to do with public safety. Often, the bad government begins by forcing peaceful people to do things to promote a partisan political principle and not to foster a true public safety goal. In Seattle, before the court struck it down, the city actually inspected its residents’ garbage to make sure they were recycling “properly.” If not, the city fined them.

Not surprisingly, in this same city, a former mayor, Greg Nickels, tried to infringe on his constituents’ Second Amendment rights by issuing a fiat prohibiting carrying firearms onto certain city property, such as parks and recreational centers. In New York City, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, among other “nannycrat” diktats, famously (or infamously) criminalized salt, trans fats, and Big Gulps. Fortunately, the courts shot down both mayors’ overreaches.

I’ll take a political philosophy that allows grown adults to decide for themselves what makes up pursuing their happiness over one that doesn’t, any day. The left disrespects the individual human being in each of us when it assumes authority over our peaceful decisions. The left has a penchant for turning its political issues into self-serving bludgeons, which it uses to beat its political foes unconscious. It conflates issues important to them with issues they believe must be important to everyone. According to the left, if you don’t agree with them, you are not only wrong, you are evil.

Today, I read news reports that the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, had the audacity to tweet that he’d used the Chick-fil-A app to order some food (oh, the humanity!). The left came down on him like a ton of morons. Apparently, Dorsey fell victim to, well…being human. He’d forgotten that the left considers the fast food restaurant anti-gay for its opposition to government-recognized gay marriage. He stuck to his guns and told the lefty idiots to leave him alone and let him eat his lunch, right? Nope. Sticking his tail between his legs, he did what any courageous CEO of a liberal company would do: He groveled for absolution from the keepers of the public virtue otherwise known as the intolerant left.

(Credit: Facebook/Front Nasionaal SA)


Think about the issue of manmade global warming. Needing a crisis to control people, it’s a pseudo-scientific opinion-turned-fact the left has fabricated. They want to warn you about the imminent crisis and convince you, by force of government if necessary, to pay higher taxes and change your behavior all to mitigate a myth. After all, it’s for your own good. People on the left have appointed themselves the final arbiters of what is virtuous and of the universal issues that affect us all. There can be no disagreement with their “scientific consensus,” even if many prominent scientists buck the intimidation and threats and dare to disagree.

Currently, in Seattle again, since I know this city best, the area is trying to tell landlords who they must rent to. They’re also trying to outlaw conducting criminal background checks on tenants. If the ordinance passes, the city can fine landlords thousands of dollars for failure to comply—for a first offense. Think about that. You own a house or apartment building for rent. It’s your responsibility to choose tenants who will take care of your property and respect your other tenants’ property and safety. However, someone sitting behind a desk at city hall wants to take that right from you because—well, you know why. Because they know better than you what’s good for your property. What’s good for everyone.

Of course, these overreaches come from a city council with an openly socialist, emotionally erratic city councilwoman to which some other members appear to be aspiring. Councilwoman Kshama Sawant unashamedly accuses police officers of murder. And in a remarkable display of just how radical she is, she recently chided the Women’s March for tweeting, “Rest in peace and power, Barbara Bush,” after the former First Lady died. Yes, really!

Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant. (Credit: Facebook/The Seattle Times)

She didn’t like that rare act of civility and kindness from left to right. And if you don’t think that city councilwoman, elected by voters of a major American city, wouldn’t shift to hard communism in a heartbeat if she could, you’re deluding yourself. She’s willing to send two fine police officers to prison (the gulag) for doing their jobs. She also recoils when her feminist comrades show a morsel of respect and compassion for a deceased former U.S. President’s wife.

In the end, if I get my way, you live your life the way you choose to—everyone does. Well, unless the way you live your life is by telling other people how to live theirs. If the left gets their way, I don’t get to choose how to live my life and neither do you—and, ironically, neither do they. Historically, leftist revolutionaries eventually eat their own. That tells me my way is obviously, objectively (not to mention overly adjectively and adverbially) superior.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

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