Military and Police

The Right to Be Let Alone

I’ve learned over the course of a law enforcement career many problems Americans face are because some folks just won’t leave other folks alone. In fact, most of my 911 calls came because someone would not leave someone else alone. People steal from, extort, assault, kidnap, rape, and kill other people. The last of which is the ultimate example of not leaving people alone. The great liberal Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously declared people had a right to be let alone.

But the liberals of today have no interest in letting people alone. In fact, liberal no longer defines them, as liberals used to support free speech and individual liberty. Now, they are the left and the far left (divided into Democrats, Social-Democrats, Socialists, and Marxists). They protest traditional America, prevent conservatives from speaking, assault people wearing MAGA hats, damage cars with Trump stickers, and rip Republican campaign signs out of public and private property. Where is the liberal in these actions?

The midterms are over, and we have a split decision. The Democrat “blue wave” never materialized, but even a trickle is too much. Now, it will be a fight between the Rs wanting to leave us alone, and the Ds who wish to shove government in our faces, as it was with the Dems under President Obama.

These rabid lefties won’t even leave us alone in conversation. I’ve noticed, by far, that leftists start most political discussions/arguments. I’m not afraid to engage in a political discussion or debate, but it’s a waste of time (and valuable brain cells) to debate many leftists.

For instance, my wife was reading the public responses to a PBS online story about the elections. One woman still sincerely believes President Trump beat Hillary exclusively because “the election process wasn’t fair” due to Russian interference. Really? How can you get anywhere with someone who may, as well, believe the world is flat?

I think I mentioned this story a while back from during the Bush “W” administration. But it’s worth repeating. I was at a party in a firefighter‘s home. Also there were the host’s wife’s public school teacher friends. I was stuck in conversation with them when they got around to talking about how much they hated President Bush. I smiled and nodded. After all, I was a guest in her home. And, what did it matter what they think? I care about what I think.

Then I made two mistakes. One was answering a direct question. She asked me what I thought of President Bush. I said, “I like him. He’s done good things for our country.” That was it. No fawning, no hyperbole, no adoration, just a simple statement. Oops!

You know how when you’re driving down a lonely, unlit back road in the wee hours and you see the glow of eyes reflected back at you? Well, that was me, standing in the kitchen, the teachers’ eyes as big as half-dollars, mouths agape, sputtering because they didn’t know how to handle someone in their midst they liked but who didn’t think like they did politically. How much of a bubble could they be in to be surprised a cop was conservative?

“How could you like him?” the host said as if she were trying to scrape dog crap off her shoe. A sea of heads nodded their approval of the question. Here’s my second mistake: I answered again. “He seems like a good man who wants to do what he thinks is best for the country.”

Again with the eyes, the jaw-drops, and the grimaces dripping with contempt. You’d think I was talking about Hitler. I suppose, for them, the so-called “educated class,” I was. They were immersed in the leftist groupthink brought on by the poisonous political rhetoric that contaminates critical thinking. And whether subliminally or overtly, they teach this political conformity to our kids. And, it’s many times worse now with President Trump.

I’ve often wondered about this phenomenon because not leaving people alone is also at the heart of racism and other forms of bigotry. Some people care about how other people look, how they behave, and even what they think. It bothers some people to the point they will harm another person, sometimes verbally, sometimes professionally, and sometimes even physically.

I may not appreciate or condone what other folks do, but, if it directly harms no one, what business is it of mine? Isn’t it my duty to tolerate it? In the 1780s, Thomas Jefferson said, “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

And if that historical reference doesn’t nudge you, how about a quote from the TV show “Cheers”? In the 1980s, when asked about a controversial subject, Norm Peterson replied, “Will it change the price of beer? No? Then what do we care?”

This certainly rings true with me, as regular readers of my articles know, I am a bit of a microbrew aficionado (though, I’ve also been known to tip a PBR, a Bud Light, or a can of Rainier occasionally).

Why do we let what other people do, think, or believe, which does us no harm, bother us so much? How does it hurt me if my neighbor is gay, of a different race, different religion, is a Republican or—God forbid, a President Trump supporter—or all five?

It doesn’t. I mean I have enough to do just dealing with my own flaws than to be spending my finite internal resources worrying about what I feel are other people’s flaws. Like other people need my permission to be who they are. Come on!

Why does it bother some people so much when others support a different political view? No, really, some folks get upset if you don’t believe exactly as they do politically. Far leftist are rabid about it. Their organizations are constantly trying to launch boycotts to remove conservative pundits, or even entire media networks, from the air. They did it with Bill O’Reilly, and they’re still trying with Sean Hannity.

Hell, now they’re even showing up at these people’s houses and scaring the hell out of their families. I was encouraged to see both prominent left as well as right slamming this reprehensible behavior. Still, for those on the left who did, what took you so long?

They get so upset they have even forced out CEOs of large companies for making politically incorrect statements, making an “errant” donation, or for having done something leftist activists don’t condone. Such as, supporting an opposing political candidate or issue.

As a conservative-libertarian, I find this baffling. There are lots of folks who say and do things I don’t like. Who cares? What business of it is mine what you think or do as long as it doesn’t directly harm me? Do you know why I don’t care what Robert DeNiro or Jimmy Kimmel say about politics? For the same reason I don’t care about what my plumber, carpet installer, or auto mechanic says about politics, either. It doesn’t matter. They’re entitled to their opinion; I’m entitled to mine—or, at least, that used to be the case.

Sometimes we think because someone is famous they have a great influence on the public. It probably doesn’t hurt, but from what I’ve read, heard, and seen, while it may not hurt, what celebrities say doesn’t seem to help either. They change neither minds nor votes.

I used DeNiro and Kimmel because I’ve been a fan of their work for years. Now, their growing incivility over the past few years bothers me, but I couldn’t care less about what they say about politics. Still, the part of me that has enjoyed their work and used to respect them as entertainers, feels a little bad. I mean, I don’t lose sleep, but I don’t like having to think, what a great actor, or that guy’s hilarious, but also think… but he’s a leftist bully!

But that’s the thing with the left, famous and unknown, these days. They refuse to leave people alone. Look at DeNiro threatening to punch President Trump in the mouth, because he doesn’t like his politics. Kimmel telling people they are racist or evil because they don’t have the same political philosophy as he does.

And, how about Vice President Biden wanting to take President Trump “behind the barn”? These people are intolerant, political bullies. And what’s worse is they don’t seem to see it. They are people without an ounce of self-awareness.

Just watch how the commander-in-chief of the lefties, President Obama, got to throwing stones in his glass house recently. Talk about no self-awareness. He has the audacity to accuse President Trump of “making stuff up.” My goodness. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.” Sound familiar? And he knew he was making stuff up when he said it, which I believe is called lying.

His entire presidency consisted of not leaving people alone. It seems every morning I was waking up wondering what he was doing to interfere with my pursuit of happiness, today. If you didn’t want to buy a product, medical “insurance,” the government fined you. Think about it. You had to pay for the privilege of not paying for medical insurance. If you wanted a student loan, you had to go through the government, and tuitions and student debt skyrocketed. And that was, as they say, just the tip of the iceberg.

But the Democrats have gone so far left, this kind of interference is reflexive. Conservatives believe in limited government, God-granted rights, and personal responsibility. The left believes in big government, government-granted “rights,” and collective responsibility.

Thomas Jefferson warned us about eternal vigilance being necessary to ensure individual liberty endures. When one political party is constantly not leaving Americans alone—because they think they know better than we do what is good for us—they betray the nation conceived in individual liberty.

One good thing for all of us to remember is to let other people alone. If they think a certain way, dress a certain way, or whatever a certain way, even though it pricks our pet peeves and sensibilities, let it go. Just ask yourself: “Will it change the price of beer?” No. Then what do we care?

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

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