How The Police Union’s Decision To Endorse Trump For President Hurts Blue Lives
If you haven’t heard by now, the National Fraternal Order of Police, which is the nation’s largest law enforcement union, has officially endorsed Donald Trump’s bid for president.
And I, for one, am truly scared.
The FOP made its announcement on Friday, which ironically was also the day we had our last full moon of the summer.
It could be nothing.
But as FOP National President Chuck Canterbury noted in the press release about the cop organization’s decision to support the Republican nominee for president, “Obviously, this is an unusual election.”
He can say that again.
According to the press release, Trump was chosen as their candidate by at least two-third majority of its National Board, which is made up of one Trustee from each of the organization’s state lodges.
As far as how the FOP came to its decision, Canterbury states:
“We have a candidate who declined to seek an endorsement and a candidate without any record as an elected official. Mr. Trump, however, has seriously looked at the issues facing law enforcement today. He understands and supports our priorities and our members believe he will make America safe again.”
Adding more context is The Washington Post, which has reported:
“Trump responded to a 12-page questionnaire from the FOP and then met with its leaders last month in Trump Tower, the union’s executive director, Jim Pasco, said Friday. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton did not respond to the questionnaire until weeks after the early August deadline had passed, Pasco said, which did not give the FOP time to distribute her answers to state lodges across the state, and the union did not meet with her.”
It should be noted that there are over 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers serving in the United States, which means the FOP does not represent everyone. But we don’t know how individual members of the FOP feel about the national organization’s endorsement yet. And I’m sure all of the good cops are probably somewhere, mounting a protest, or taking a knee or something, in opposition to the union’s decision right now…
But seriously, who thought this was a good idea?
I mean, I shouldn’t at all be surprised considering the FOP, as well as other cop unions, have been notoriously hostile in both its defense of bad cops and resistance to police reform. As noted in this 2015 article in Vice entitled, “Police Unions’ Defense of ‘Bad Cops’ Draws Criticism in Brutality Debate,” it was the FOP who started a Go Fund Me for Baltimore officers charged in the Freddie Gray murder case.
It was also members of the FOP who started distributing “I am Darren Wilson” bracelets in support of the officer who killed Michael Brown. And it was the president of the New York-based Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association who banned Mayor Bill DeBlasio from all officer’s funerals and said he had “blood on his hands” after DeBlasio criticized the police for its role in Eric Garner’s death.
Like I said, there is nothing really to be surprised about.
Still, this endorsement does ring kind of hollow for an organization, which claims it cares about the well being of its officers.
For one, it had a choice.
And even if the FOP thought it was being snubbed by Clinton, it could have chosen to not endorse anyone rather than throw its weight behind a man whose entire campaign hinges on fear-based xenophobia, racism and sexism.
By endorsing Trump, the largest cop union has undercut the genuine work that some well-meaning officers have done and continue to do around the country, to bridge the gap between local police departments and the communities who do not trust them. That includes African-American, immigrant and low-income communities.
And through this endorsement the FOP continues to reaffirm and give validity to some pretty strong anti-cop sentiments in general. You know, sentiment like how cops are not here to protect and serve The People, but rather the interest of the political, social and corporate elite?
For all intents and purposes, this endorsement is a declaration by the FOP that it does not plan to make peace or even work for the benefit of All Lives. Instead it will continue its aggressive antagonism for the sake of political clout and likely, individual ambitions.
But in the wake of several violent attacks aimed at police officers, including the most recent police ambush shooting in Philadelphia (on the evening of the FOP’s endorsement of Trump), you have to wonder why it would continue to put its officers, who walk the beat on the front lines, in such a vulnerable position?
You have to wonder if Blue Lives Matters to the union heads at all?
Charing Ball is a writer, cultural critic, free-thinker, slick-mouth feminist and the reigning queen of unpopular opinions. She is also from Philadelphia. To learn more, visit NineteenSeventy-Seven.com.