Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Not your average liberal

My journey into the world of political activism during the past 12 months has been a little strange, to say the least.  I have reflected on this quite often lately, and am acutely aware of the fact that I am not what some consider a "typical" liberal.

There are the emotional hazards that come with my profession:  I have a dark sense of humor, much darker than many of you realize or would consider healthy.  So dark at times that I will choose to elaborate no further, lest I drive off the two or so people that are actually reading this blog.  I hang out with a fantastic group of guys on my SWAT team, but we sometimes have conversations that revolve around bullet placement and hostage rescue tactics, and other topics which are not appropriate for a family blog.  I swear way too much, sleep way too little, and have seen 15 years of the horrors human existence can offer.  In short, my outlook on life isn't always "normal."

However, I am coming to realize that the Progressive movement in this country needs more people like me and my Cops for Labor friends.  We aren't afraid of a fight, and we aren't afraid to call BS when we see it.  We realize that there are fundamental choices between right and wrong in this world, and sometimes life is as simple as just doing the right thing.  We face physical danger every time we go to work, and as such, are not easily bought with money or bullied with power.

Governor Walker discovered this when he tried to buy us with an exemption from his union busting legislation.  Apparently he didn't realize the complexities of trying to bribe people who wear body armor and carry a gun to work.  An unnamed source told me the administration privately was most unhappy with our response.

I believe the Progressive movement has just been too nice historically.  Liberals are often too willing to compromise.  We feel an almost compulsive need to see the other side's point of view all of the time, and modify our positions to accommodate that point of view.  We don't like confrontation, and we truly don't like people to be mad at us.

Pardon my French, but f*%k that.  We need fighters.  Not in a physical sense, lest I be accused by my attempted censors of advocating violence.  To be clear, this movement would promptly lose my service if it resorted to violence.

However, we need fighters like my good friend David.  David has a lot of compassion for people, but he also has the warrior's spirit.  If you severed David's arm, he would beat you to death with it.  No, really, I mean it.  David also happens to be a real-life convert: a political conservative turned die-hard Progressive.  He now sports a giant solidarity fist tattoo on one of those arms (still attached, thankfully).  Let's just say I am happy he is on my side.

It's critically important for our movement to understand that a warrior's spirit is not contradictory to the ideals of kindness and compassion.  I serve in a profession where I might be called upon to lay down my life in the performance of my duties.  When boiled down to its fundamental element, I am willing to do this because of the love I have for my coworkers and the citizens I serve.  Without that love, courage would be hollow.

We also need to understand that it is not morally required, or even defensible, to compromise with an immoral position.  The greed of the special interests that now own our nation is so toxic that it cannot be reasoned or bargained with, nor should we try.  It is why we desperately need to drive the money out of our political system.  I will speak much more on that topic in the days and weeks to come.

The consequence of incessant compromise is that the political conversation in this country has been pushed so far to the right that positions that were once considered extreme are now considered moderate, and positions which were considered moderate are now labeled as Socialist or Communist.  It is time to stop capitulating to the sociopaths that control most of the wealth in this country and their puppets like Grover Norquist, who views our government as something he would like to drag into the bathtub and drown.  His words, not mine, and a disturbing image even for someone as jaded as I am.

I believe Mr. Norquist's view of our government is treasonous.  It is what almost destabilized our fragile economy during the recent debt ceiling debate.  It threatens our national security by allowing our military technology to be brought overseas by multinational corporations without a peep of protest from our government.  It puts war profiteering and no-bid contracts above the lives of our brave soldiers.  It fundamentally threatens the ability of average people to earn a living wage and prosper in this great nation.  

It's time to recognize that these people are playing for keeps.  Let me borrow from Mr. Norquist's homicidal analogy for a moment: If someone is in the process of dragging you to the bathtub so they can drown you, it is absurd to kindly request that they stop, if they wouldn't mind and if it isn't too much trouble.  That kind of response would not be conducive to long term survival.  A shockingly small number of people are extracting the vitality out of our nation and the money out of our bank accounts.  It's time to act like warriors and drive them, by pen and ballot, out of our political system.

So to those few who currently control our country:  We are here.  We know what you are doing.  And we are pissed.

As a postscript for the day, I have a quote for my trolls from the right.  Thanks for the props, guys!

I believe in censorship.  I made a fortune out of it.  ~Mae West



  1. Wonderfully written. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  2. Great post! I'm from the traditional bleeding heart - pacifist - hates guns - admittedly wimpy part of the progressive movement, so it's great to hear your view of things. I think I could learn a few things from you, so I intend to come back.

    Knowing there are warriers like you in our camp makes me far more optimistic than I was.


  3. Thank you - great words, great spirit, great passion! As a former Wisconsinite (my great great grandfather helped build the Capitol) whose entire family still lives around Madison, this last year has been emotionally savage. But one of the great joys was seeing Wisconsin's law enforcement community stand with their fellow citizens against the outrages of the Walker administration. (Maybe not all of them, but you know what I mean).

    Walker overplayed his hand and underestimated the intelligence, loyalty, courage and faithfulness to duty of the law enforcement community. Thank you for putting into words the spirit of that community.

  4. We need to fight but we need to fight smart. We need to state our case clearly and back it with facts and not get pulled down into name calling and demonization of the other side. Being right is not enough we have to be convincing and with people like you on our side I think that happens intrinsically.

  5. Got just two words for you, buddy: THANK YOU!

  6. Thanks Brian and we appreciate your "fight" and the "fight" in all who have helped us get the signatures needed to recall this selfish, greedy, inept, corrupt group including Walker and Kleefisch! Proud to have served the MPD and to stand with all of you in this "fight" to return our beloved State to its roots of Progressive and Democratic policies and beliefs!

  7. Brilliant! Yet another example of the high quality folks we have in WI law enforcement. We are lucky to have your service for the cause and for the public in general!

  8. I can only add my thanks and appreciation

  9. I've only discovered these blogs lately, when I found CONTEMPT. Read 3 so far and each was like a fresh breath of air from a mountain meadow, with a drink from a spring therein. As to this one: yes indeed, we are here. We know exactly what you are doing. And we are pissed, REALLY PISSED. I wonder when they will figure out how pissed we are!

  10. THANK YOU for speaking out with your sound voice of reason. I take great comfort in knowing there are many others like you who can recognize wrongdoing and be brave enough to stand against it and support liberty and justice for all. <3

  11. Reading your blog (most recent posts to this one) for the first time today. When I got to this post, I decided that I needed to stop right here and let you know that I've added another hero to my list. Thank you for your service protecting our state as a cop. Thank you for your work with Cops for Labor protecting the rights of workers in our state. And thank you for being an eloquent writer and champion for this cause. I, like Nanette, am a more traditional "bleeding-heart" liberal, and I'm also very, very grateful you're on our side. --Lisa

  12. Hi Brian – Just needed to take a moment to let you know how glad I am to have come across your blog. It surprised me to find that we’re not that different. Well… I don’t carry a gun and typically flight overrides the fight response for me in really scary situations, but seriously, I too have drifted into the Progressive Movement but brought and intend to keep the fighter spirit with me. Your article actually touched home because it echoes words I’ve often heard coming from my niece. Don’t be offended, she’s not a six year old. She’s the editor-in-chief of and considered by many to be a warrior for the Progressive Movement. Like hers, your words are inspirational. Thank you for what you do, both in your profession and the inspiration you provide here. I look forward to reading more!

  13. "I believe the Progressive movement has just been too nice historically. Liberals are often too willing to compromise. We feel an almost compulsive need to see the other side's point of view all of the time, and modify our positions to accommodate that point of view. We don't like confrontation, and we truly don't like people to be mad at us.

    Pardon my French, but f*%k that. We need fighters. Not in a physical sense, lest I be accused by my attempted censors of advocating violence. To be clear, this movement would promptly lose my service if it resorted to violence."

    Glad to know that I'm not alone in these feelings; probably a good bit of that is my ex-Navy, ex-DC cop, ex-FBI grandpa was my hero as a kid. Not sure if you'd call me "converted" like your buddy David: I joined the Libertarian Party right at 18, but in my 20's, I drifted to the left and jettisoned that "free market" ballast. I still believe in the US rolling back its foreign military presence to a great degree (maybe expand the Navy to balance it out?) and the traditional stance on personal liberties (for instance, your body, and what you do to it/put in it, should generally be your own business, etc)... but I can't stomach the "free market" dogma anymore. As Chumbawamba put it in their song Amnesia, "Out with the old, cheated by the new!"

    BTW... I don't run OcPo, but I do consider them my friends and keep up with them on the Facebook. We need to support our officers who are looking out for the interests of the people! Consider visiting, I'm sure your input would be welcome!

  14. A few years ago I heard Scott Ritter speak at the Historical Society Library. He said that the progressive movement lacked a "laser-like focus" and a sense of mission. The average anti-war demonstration, for example, involved the same people holding signs for all their favorite causes. The average passersby had no idea what they were protesting about. This made it easy for the Republicans to stereotype them as "crazy" or "hippies."