It’s tempting to feel discouraged in the face of progressive legislators’ theatrical committee related to the Jan. 6 Capitol breach and the brand new indoor mask mandate announced Thursday by the Biden administration. But it’s important to recognize the overreach is a reaction to what the Biden administration and progressives on the Hill are confronting: they’re already losing on some pretty serious fronts.
The National Police Association, a non-profit that purports to advocate for law enforcement officers in the face of the defund the police movement, called the January 6 Committee a “dog and pony show” and said the committee theatrics are supplanting the stories of officers injured during last summer’s nationwide Black Lives Matter/Antifa riots across the country.
“The 2020 riots, we can’t just say the whole George Floyd thing was bad and that’s what cops have to deal with and then watch these four weeping men talk about their experiences, ignoring thousands and thousands of police officers, ignoring their feelings and their experiences and their injuries,” she said.
Brantner Smith also blasted the “defund the police” movement for dehumanizing law enforcement officers, and she argued the policies enacted allegedly for the purpose of saving Black lives are doing the opposite.
“It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “I have some cops who would rather go back to Iraq than continue to work on the street, just because of the massive amounts of blood and bodies and everything they deal with that people don’t see.”
“It’s taking its toll,” she said. “We already had a police officer mental health crisis in this country before George Floyd, and now the uptick in police officer suicides is reaching a crisis level.”
Police unions, while generally more supportive of the officers giving testimony at the committee hearings, are also on record a month ago criticizing the Capitol Police leadership for their failures on January 6.
The head of the U.S. Capitol Police union called on acting Chief Yogananda Pittman to step aside Wednesday after a joint Senate committee report on the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot.
Gus Papathanasiou, chairman of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee, said the report showed that Pittman and other senior leaders failed to adequately prepare their officers with equipment and intelligence to respond to the breach, as well as failed to communicate with their officers while the attack was happening.
“The time has come for those in senior leadership who failed us, to stand aside. It is not enough to scapegoat others,” Papathanasiou said in a statement.
“Those most responsible, including Acting Chief Pittman who was in charge of intelligence prior to the insurrection, need to step aside for the good of the department,” he said. “As the Senate report found, our leadership failed us and we paid a horrible price.”
Progressives have been feeling pushback from their historically reliable union friends on some other important issues lately as well, notably the vaccination mandates hinted at by both the Biden administration and dark blue cities like New York and states like California.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, announced Monday that public employees of The Big Apple need to be fully vaccinated by mid-September are they would be required to get tested for the coronavirus on a weekly basis. Officials note that it is not a mandate because employees have a choice, but some employees and unions say the measure goes too far and stamps on workers’ rights.
FDNY EMS Local 2507 President Oren Barzilay blasted the mayor’s decision following the news, saying his union – which represents the city’s 4,300 EMS workers – took them by surprise with the move. “The city and the mayor cannot simply disregard the civil liberties of the workforce,” he told The Associated Press.
“The unions are really, really aggravated that the mayor sprung this on everybody,” sanitation workers’ union President Harry Nespoli told The New York Times.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, facing recall, announced Monday all workers would need to be vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID, prompting sharp rebukes from one of the nation’s largest labor unions, the SEIU.
Richard L. Brown, president of the Service Employees International Union chapter that represents 43% of California approximately 238,000 state employees, said in a video posted online that he was appalled by Mr. Newsom’s announcement and that the state’s new policy violated his members’ privacy and healthcare rights.
The long and short of it is as Biden and progressive lawmakers pick and choose crises, reinstitute mandates, and push for mandatory vaccinations, they’re irritating groups that have tended to vote Democrat in the past. That could signal the overreach may already have gone too far, which should make for an interesting midterm election if the nation can hold on to its collective sanity that long.