The images out of New York City today are hard to believe even seeing them with my own eyes. Thinking beyond today, I know the flight from cities in the coming months and years will be significant. Some of these cities won’t recover for decades, if they ever do. Cities that experienced rioting in the sixties still to this day haven’t fully rebounded. America is in the throes of events that will fundamentally change her in many permanent ways.
We are all heartsick. On a personal level I am heartsick because I don’t know if my husband and I will ever take our kids to experience the New York City I’ve loved visiting, the New York City my husband and I visited on our honeymoon in 2009. I want to take my kids to see the tree at Rockefeller Center, to experience Broadway, to walk through Macy’s flagship store, which was ravaged last night. Sure, it is a Macy’s store; I understand that. The impact of what has happened and what will happen in the coming weeks and months is far more profound than simply saying a Macy’s store was destroyed.
I am more unsettled now than I was after September 11, 2001. Certainly some of that could be because I have children now, but I don’t think that is the totality of it. Our cities are being ravaged by a domestic enemy. People are taking to the streets, destroying property, committing theft and arson, and in several places last night people were killed.
We are seeing on a grand, tragic scale what can happen when you elect ineffective and weak local leaders who refuse to confront these mobs. A basic duty of government is to fend off threats, both foreign and domestic, so that citizens are free to live, to exercise their liberty, and to pursue happiness. Your happiness is not the government’s responsibility; securing an environment in which you can live in relative safety and pursue happiness is their responsibility. Many Americans are realizing they have elected leaders willing to throw them in jail over opening their business, yet they stand down while businesses are burned to the ground.
We are also seeing why we have the right to arm ourselves. Here in my home state of Louisiana we are doing well thus far. We are of course in a bit of an economic hole that will haunt us for some time, but we have seen only peaceful protests. I suspect this is due in part to the fact that almost all of us own guns.
In the midst of everything else happening we are having a national conversation about our right to protest. Americans do have a right to protest so long as it is done peacefully. Once you start throwing bricks and lighting fires there is no right with which you can drape yourself and beg for my sympathy to your cause.
We have heard Dr. King’s name and his words often lately. Dr. King had the wisdom and the discipline to protest peacefully. It occurs to me discipline is in short supply today, and I don’t believe most of the people on the streets are there seeking the kind of change Dr. King sought anyway. Most of them are undisciplined, selfish opportunists. If they had any sense at all they would stop destroying minority-owned businesses and minority communities. Dr. King was hopeful America could be different; his words and his actions were forward-looking rather than destructive and mired in past grievances.
The people pouring into our streets committing crimes and killing people are the culmination of a variety of factors: an education system that has taught them America is evil, poor or totally absent parenting, an irresponsible media that has pitched a three-year temper tantrum and hollered about resisting a duly elected President, and a two-month lockdown we were told was absolutely necessary that bred economic uncertainty. It is a perfect storm, and it is raging in the streets of our cities, destroying businesses and lives.
America has faced uncertain days before and emerged, changed but intact, on the other side. I am praying for our nation. I encourage you to do the same.