By Elaine Magliaro
I just came across an interesting article titled Bill Clinton, Joe Biden and Democrats’ shameful complicity in our police state over at Salon. The article, written by Zaid Jilani, originally appeared on AlterNet. It talks about the role that liberals have played in the growing police state in this country. Jilani said that the recent past “tells us that the Democratic Party in the past three decades has abandoned concerns for civil liberties and civil rights in the pursuit of appearing to be just as tough on crime as their Republican counterparts.” Jilani said that it’s a story “that begins when Bill Clinton embraced the law-and-order policies of his Republican predecessors.”
Here is an excerpt from Jilani’s article:
Joe Biden: Clinton’s Crime Bill Enforcer
Biden was the chief author of the 1994 crime bill, which vastly increased the number of police officers on American streets, eliminated Pell Grants for prisoners, expanded the federal death penalty and upped the Border Patrol presence (recall that this bill was passed around the same time as NAFTA, which increased migration from Mexico).
The bill was passed in a political climate of hysteria about crime and Biden and Clinton used that climate to their advantage. Recall that during the earlier 1992 presidential campaign, Clinton himself flew back to Arkansas during the presidential campaign to ensure a mentally ill black man was executed. Following the execution, Clinton said, “I can be nicked a lot, but no one can say I’m soft on crime.”…
The Failed Effort To Stop Police Militarization
The crime legislation of the 1990′s didn’t just put more cops on the streets and build more prisons, it also made sure those cops were armed to the teeth. Throughout the 90′s, there was an expansion of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and Byrne grants, which financed local police departments to wage a heavy-handed drug war (both programs increased under President Obama).
This past June, progressive House Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) introduced an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would block the “transfer” of “aircraft (including unmanned aerial vehicles), armored vehicles, grenade launchers, silencers, toxicological agents, launch vehicles, guided missiles, ballistic missiles” from the Department of Defense to state and local police forces. The amendment received the support of only 62 Members, and those voting against it included Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), who represents Ferguson, and every senior member of Democratic Party leadership including Reps. Nancy Pelosi (CA), Steny Hoyer (MD), and James Clyburn (SC).
These Democrats (and Republicans, most of whom joined them) were courted by police unions such as the National Fraternal Order of Police and by weapons manufacturers who develop the Pentagon armaments that are now finding their way to the police.
Click here to read Zaid Jilani’s article Bill Clinton, Joe Biden and Democrats’ shameful complicity in our police state: Liberals looking to assign blame for our growing police militarization need to take a long, hard look in the mirror.