U.S. Sen. Tina Smith recently said that I am trying to portray the alternative our country faces on Nov. 3 as “a choice between law and order and rioting and mayhem in the streets.”
She’s right — this election is indeed a choice between law and order and violence and anarchy. And do not think for one second this problem is exclusive to our cities.
This is mob rule, and it is coming to the suburbs next.
We got a preview of this when a DFL-endorsed Minnesota House candidate tried starting a riot in Hugo, Minn., by encouraging an angry mob to burn down the town. And we saw it again when a Brooklyn Center family’s garage was vandalized with “Biden 2020,” “BLM,” and an anarchy symbol before being burned down. Curiously enough, the family had recently displayed a large “Trump 2020” sign.
Gone is the Minnesota DFL of Hubert Humphrey and Wendell Anderson. It is now the party of Ilhan Omar and Tina Smith.
In fact, when Omar said the Minneapolis Police Department is “rotten to the root” and that we need to completely “dismantle” it, Sen. Smith enthusiastically endorsed her.
Smith’s comment on the need to “reimagine” policing is something right out of Bernie Sanders’ “soft on crime” manifesto. She even wants to strip personal liability protection from police men and women. Most disturbing, Smith actually said from the floor of the U.S. Senate that “there is something dangerously wrong with the role that police play in our society.”
This inflammatory and irresponsible rhetoric has only emboldened the violent mob.
As the husband and son-in-law of former St. Paul police officers, I will always back the blue, you may rest assured. That is why I’ve received the endorsement of multiple police organizations including the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers’ Association and the Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police.
As your senator, I would immediately take the following three steps to restore public order:
First, I would correct the oversight in 2009 when Congress expanded the federal definition of hate crimes but left out the targeting of police officers. I would introduce federal legislation that would make the assault of a police officer a federal hate crime.
Second, Attorney General William Barr has designated “anarchist jurisdictions” that “have refused to undertake reasonable measures” to restore order. I would also vote to remove federal funding from those cities that move to abolish or defund their police departments.
Lastly, because the high court has already OK’d applying the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act against pro-life protesters, I would support the investigation and prosecution of violent groups such as antifa under the RICO Act.
Joe Biden and Tina Smith may believe antifa is just “an idea, not an organization.” I do not.
And neither do the dozens of Twin Cities business owners I’ve met with, most of whom are people of color, whose life work was burned to the ground. They uniformly told me they want more law enforcement, not less.
Do their constitutional rights not matter?
Apparently they don’t. Everything the left is undertaking at this moment is designed to fundamentally alter our American institutions and intimidate us into silence and obedience. We all believe in due process, and that’s why I worked across the aisle with Rep. Bobby Scott to pass juvenile justice reform in the 115th Congress.
But the left’s “my way or the highway” approach is not just counterproductive. It’s dangerous. And now they are openly talking about packing the Supreme Court.
The new left really isn’t new at all — it’s the same old violent tactics of targeting the police and anyone else who got in the way of the Weather Underground and the SDS in the 1960s. The difference today is that they have the backing of the Democrat Party.
If you display a Trump sign on your lawn or if you’re a journalist in Hugo who happens to be married to a police union official, then in the radical left’s America you need to be prepared for the possibility that your property will be set ablaze, your life threatened, your family’s safety put in danger.
My fellow Minnesotans, this is not the country you and I grew up in.
Nor is it the one our founders gave us. Thomas Jefferson not only declared that we are endowed by our “Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness,” but he also wrote, “That to secure these rights Governments are instituted. …”
This campaign is now about these first principles. Sadly, they will not be secure with public officials who refuse to do their duty and condemn violence and intimidation. But they will soon be restored by those of us who acknowledge that our God-given rights are protected by the Constitution we swear an oath to uphold.
Jason Lewis represented Minnesota’s Second Congressional District, 2017-2019, and is the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 2020.