JONAH ARRIVES IN THE BIG APPLE! TICKER-TAPE PARADE SCHEDULED
I am filing from New York today. That’s right, the land of divine pizza, assertive policing techniques, toilets so powerful they can swallow a human baby in a single flush. New York City — Metropolis for readers of early Superman, Gotham for readers of early Batman, Hymietown for readers of early Jesse Jackson. My home for readers of early me. In fact, if you would like to see some of my early œuvre, I’ve fished it out of my father’s closet. See the chiaroscuro of Mr. Cow? The subtle shadings of this pig, er, explosion thing. Brilliant, if I do say so myself.
But I am not writing today to dwell on past triumphs, or even to achieve new ones — which is where you probably expected that sentence to go. No, instead I am just looking to get the job done.
But the response to the killing is another kind of overkill. The hardscrabble, intellectual, garbage-can-picking remnant of New York’s old coalition is using this tragedy to go after Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The fact that they are going after Giuliani is neither striking or new. The fact that it is working is quite remarkable and disturbing.
If I remember correctly, the police improperly shot and killed innocent people when crime rates were through the roof. Cops making mistakes — and getting punished for it — is nothing new in New York. What is new — at least since the 1950s — is the fact that people feel safe, I mean really safe, walking down the street. I won’t quote all the crime stats, but everything that you saw in Deathwish I, II, and III is down a lot or doesn’t happen anymore. Giuliani didn’t create the techniques that have proved so successful. But he did have the guts to implement them in America’s most hostile political climate.
But Giuliani’s critics don’t care, even though their constituencies have the most to gain and have gained the most. Every day there are protestors gathering downtown. Maybe you saw Susan Sarandon on the news? The protests are being led by Al Sharpton, a man who should still be in jail for the fraud of Tawana Brawley. What Sharpton and his merry band are trying to do is discredit the entire Giuliani project. It’s sort of like saying the My Lai massacre discredited not just Richard Nixon, not just the Vietnam War, but anti- Communism. Fighting crime is — by definition — the government’s first obligation. Today we have this notion that deterring teen cigarette smoking is a more central mission of the nanny state than ensuring that people, black, white, Hispanic people, don’t get shot.
As John Podhoretz, associate editor of the New York Post, writes in the current issue of The Weekly Standard, the aim of the protestors is to “discredit a certain kind of conservative governance whose success is a dagger pointed at the heart of American liberalism.”
The effort is also, I think, a dagger pointed at the heart of the First Lady’s likely opponent for the Senate race in 2000. But that’s another story.
THE POLL, CONT.
|The Jonah Poll||The Mother of All Sweatiest Movies Poll|
In the Heat of the Night
The Rocky Movies
Bridge on the River Kwai
Cool Hand Luke