Not bugging as in recording us (though something tells me that Bloomberg wouldn’t be opposed to that if it would help him get elected. Bugging as in annoying, frustrating, and concerning to Americans all across the political spectrum, from Bernie Sanders supporters to those on board the Trump Train. Michael Bloomberg seems intent on buying his way to the White House, spending $350-million to date (pocket change for the billionaire), and his campaign ads are hard to avoid online and on your television screen.
Podcaster and author Benjamin Dixon, who’s supporting Sanders, made some waves this week when he shared audio of some of Bloomberg’s comments back in 2015 in Aspen, Colorado, where he talked about reducing crime in New York by disarming young black men, “throwing them up against the wall” and frisking them. Other audio has since been uncovered that reveal Bloomberg approving of minority neighborhoods being “afraid” of police thanks to stop-and-frisk, because if they’re afraid of cops throwing them up against the wall and patting them down, they’ll be less likely to carry a gun.
Bloomberg’s comments are bringing Americans together, because Dixon, a socialist, sat down with me, a conservative, to talk about Bloomberg’s comments and his policies, and why Americans of all political ideologies should reject the former mayor’s authoritarian impulses.
Dixon and I have plenty we disagree on, and I hope that he’ll come back for a deeper debate about the gun control laws that Bloomberg enforced with stop-and-frisk, because I believe that’s the bigger issue. Bloomberg’s legacy isn’t just about making neighborhoods live in fear of the police in hopes of reducing crime. It’s about denying constitutional rights to the residents of those neighborhoods, making it nearly impossible to legally own or carry a gun for self-defense while protecting himself with plenty of armed security. To this day there are a disproportionate number of young black men from New York City who are sent to prison for years for simply possessing a firearm without a license, which isn’t even a crime in many states.
I believe there’s a fundamental disconnect by many on the left who want criminal justice reform AND more gun control laws. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for instance, tweeted out her criticism of Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policies, but she’s never met a gun control bill she didn’t like.
Will people get their records expunged?
Will young people sucked into the spiderweb of incarceration get their lives back?
Unless there is restorative justice, there is no “moving on” from Stop & Frisk. It’s just a billionaire trying to cover up authoritarian & racist policy. https://t.co/2wv6KO9YJT
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 13, 2020
The authoritarian and racist gun control laws in New York City were enforced, in part, with stop-and-frisk tactics, but they’re still two sides of the same coin, even if AOC can’t acknowledge that fact.
Michael Bloomberg is spending a lot of money to try and convince Americans that he’s the reasonable and moderate choice for Democrats to nominate for President. In truth, there’s nothing moderate about his policies. He’s a ban-happy autocrat who believes that, because people will make different choices about their lives than he would, those choices should be made by him instead. And yes, in New York City the enforcement of his policies led to a disproportionate number of both stops and arrests for possessory offenses among young black men. Bloomberg’s policies are still sending young black men to prison for something that isn’t even a crime in many states, and is a simply misdemeanor in many others.
Check out the entire interview with Benjamin Dixon above, and I appreciate him coming on the show to talk despite our political differences. It just goes to show that Michael Bloomberg’s campaign really is bringing Americans of all walks of life together… in opposition.