A leader who shows up to a problem with a blowtorch instead of water …
I live in a New York City neighborhood that’s quiet to the point where I can hear different species of birds — not unless they’re drowned out by the occasional foghorn.
Far from being the anarchist jurisdiction that President Donald Trump’s Justice Department has just declared it to be.
My neighbors would agree with me.
There are many more neighborhoods in my town that haven’t seen chaos.
And based on my last check of the police scanner, there are no anarchist activities happening in NYC.
How about those riots in Portland? Restricted to a few blocks as Trump tells his supporters the entire city is ablaze.
But back to NYC. I won’t say the city is free from problems.
Massive wealth and social inequality has existed for decades — or centuries, depending on context.
The city also has one of the most segregated neighborhoods and school systems among large metropolitan areas.
Look at Black Brooklyn for a moment of visual realness, where African descendants are slowly disappearing from the borough’s center — blown eastward by costly gentrification and pulled in the same direction by lower housing costs. In 20-30 more years, Black Brooklyn could be pushed out of New York City and into Long Island, a collection of Jim Crow-like counties that will likely not provide a good social experience for those with darker hues. The other option is to leave the state.
Gun violence in neighborhoods like Crown Heights and Mott Haven have been persistent for years and in search of solutions that are more thoughtful and life-supporting than gentrification will ever be.
Black and Latino New Yorkers have premature mortality rates (pdf) that are far worse than what White New Yorkers have experienced.
Trump administration did more than ignore NYC’s curable warts to brand a world economic capital as an anarchist jurisdiction —- they have threatened to cut federal funding that could be used to address the city’s issues.
Sure, make the obvious point that constitutional constraints stand in the way of Team Trump’s funding threat, but the more obvious point is that even the thought of cutting funds from New York City, Seattle, and Portland so that the respective mayors have fewer tools to eliminate their cities’ inequities only makes Donald Trump the Anarchist in Chief.
I also wish the Mayors of these cities do their part by putting policies in place that reduce inequities. Otherwise, my lens will only view them as anarchist helpers …
song currently stuck in my head: “emerald tears” – dave holland