Following the shooting of a man who allegedly threatened two police officers with a knife, Philadelphia has become the latest site in the ongoing racially-motivated protests, riots, and looting that have marked 2020.
Walter Wallace, a 27-year-old African American, was shot to death by police in “The City of Brotherly Love” who said he refused orders to drop his weapon and advanced on them. His death, the latest in a series of police-related incidents that started in Minneapolis and over the last few months have fueled wanton destruction of public and private property in Seattle, Louisville, Portland, Washington D.C., Richmond, Va, Atlanta, and other cities.
The destruction that is becoming near-commonplace has put the issue of police conduct squarely in the center of the national conversation. President Donald J. Trump repeatedly denounces the activities of the rioters and has taken steps to rein in their campaign of terror. Former Vice President Joe Biden, on the other hand, continues to be somewhat lackluster when attempting to repudiate the violence and those who commit it. More than once he has made it clear that he, like his running mate, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, supports many of the stated objectives of those who consider themselves members of the movement known as Black Lives Matter.
Biden and Harris have, for example, repeatedly seconded many of the BLM’s comments and criticisms made on social media including the charge the nation is “systemically racist” and have mimicked the movement’s calls for policies that advance racial “equity” in place of equality. Yet the Democratic presidential candidate has remained strangely mute regarding The BREATHE Act, the passage of which through Congress has been defined by some as the chief goal of those who have taken to the streets in protest.
The legislation, which has been endorsed by several prominent House Democrats, could see early action early in the next session of Congress if Biden wins the presidency and his party takes control of the U.S. Senate while retaining the majority in the House of Representatives under Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
In October the American Principles Project, a non-partisan organization, released a report that took a deep dive into The BREATHE Act, examining its implications for law enforcement and other areas of public policy. The group concluded the bill, which is being marketed as an aggressive and thoughtful approach to the problem of police brutality is in reality “a radical left-wing wish list” that includes provisions that would turn the nation on its head.
Among the provisions found by APP in the bill are:
“Joe Biden should answer some simple questions: Does he support the BREATHE Act? Would he sign it into law? If the answer is no, which provisions does he disagree with? Does he support establishing reparations commissions? Would he get rid of federal law enforcement? Would he abolish prisons? Would he provide criminals under the age of 24 with total immunity from prosecution for crimes they commit? Would he fund abortions and sex changes? Which parts of the BREATHE Act does he support, and which parts does he oppose?” asked Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project upon the report’s release.
Needless to say, each of these provisions is well outside the American mainstream. This may be why Biden has been less-than-forthcoming in his comments on the proposed legislation. His endorsement of any or all of these radical ideas raises significant questions about his vision for the nation’s future.