If you are feeling blue and wish to be Cheered Up, I suggest you take a few minutes and read this brief profile of Sheriff Dave Mahoney, the official responsible for public safety in Madison during the labor protests against the GOP’s jihadist assault on people who work for a living. Mahoney comes across as a professional who understands that his job is to defend democracy, not authority:
Sheriff Mahoney’s determination to preserve the peace, protect demonstrators and officials and respect basic liberties has earned him the scorn of those who are calling for an aggressive crackdown on dissent.
As the governor and his aides have attempted to limit access to the state Capitol—which the Wisconsin constitution says must remain open to all citizens—Sheriff Mahoney has steadily argued that he and his deputies are present both to maintain public safety and to defend the right of citizens to assemble and petition for the redress of grievances….
Even the signs on that decorate the walls of the Capitol met with his approval. “Freedom of speech!” he said, explaining that even as the building is cleaned, efforts are made to keep the displays of sentiment with regard to the budget bill in place.
“We’re an example to the world about how to run a democracy,” said Sheriff Mahoney, with clear pride in his voice.
The Madison protests have indeed been remarkably peaceful. Sure, imbeciles such as Fox’s junior cub apparatchik Mike Tobin have endeavored to prove otherwise, with largely hilarious results. (“Help help I am being oppressed,” etc. Bonus yuks for Tobin’s repeated claims that the protesters’ hostility to Fox is a sign of their “hate,” as opposed to a logical reaction to Fox’s clear hostility towards them.)
Mahoney’s approach to protests is not just principled, it’s eminently sensible. Contrast the likely consequence of Mahoney’s strategy with, say, the entirely predictable consequences of the NYPD’s brutal and buttheaded policies during the 2004 GOP convention — namely, lots of money pissed away in lawsuits that never would have occurred if the impulse towards authoritarianism had been resisted. A 2007 Gotham Gazette report noted that NYC had coughed up $696,000 in damages after getting sued for the NYPD’s nasty tactics. And that’s just for openers.
Democracy works — and pays. Too bad wingnuts don’t actually believe in it.