We were Silent When the Woke Mob Came out this Summer. Not Next Time | Opinion

Last summer, most Americans stayed home and watched while protesters took over the streets of our cities. We were silent. And our silence was mistaken for consent. Our country and our cities are worse off for it.

But then Joe Biden was elected president. The woke Left stood down. America entered a period of social peace and harmony.

Not quite. History teaches that revolutions occur when expectations are raised but not fulfilled. The Left's expectations have most certainly been raised. But the Biden administration won't fulfill them. It's doubtful any administration could. The protests of the summer will likely turn out to be a preview, not a finale.

That's why I and other concerned citizens launched the Emergency Committee for America. Our goal is simple: to give a voice to the silent majority of Americans who support social justice but oppose the protesters' dangerous agenda. We're determined to build this movement now, while things are relatively quiet. We intend to be prepared for the inevitable next round.

We, like the vast majority of Americans, abhor racism and police brutality. Most of us were sympathetic when our fellow citizens first took to the streets to protest the killing of George Floyd. But we grew concerned as the protesters' demands became increasingly radical. Our concern grew urgent as peaceful protests gave way to arson, looting and violence.

The protesters were out in force. We were not. So weak leaders did what they always do—they caved in to the mob. Without hearings or debate, politicians began defunding our police departments. They removed statues of American heroes from our public squares and refused to prosecute the vandals who often beat them to it. They agreed to teach one-sided versions of American history that deny our progress and destroy our hope.

We reject this radical, transformative agenda. We reject it because it misunderstands our virtues, our advances and the best path forward. We reject it because the privileged progressives promoting it ignore both expert opinion and common sense. We reject it because it harms the very Americans it purports to help.

Those seeking to understand the danger of the protesters' agenda need go no further than its central demand: defunding the police. Polls have repeatedly shown that large majorities of Americans oppose defunding the police. The very people this policy supposedly helps—African Americans—share this overwhelming opposition. A recent Gallup poll reported that 81 percent of black respondents wanted the police presence in their community to remain the same or increase, while only 19 percent wanted it reduced. Why the opposition?

It's not rocket science. As the police presence decreases, crime rates increase. That's what's happened in the past. And that's exactly what happened over the summer. In Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed, the city council slashed the police budget in June and threatened further defunding. Violent crime skyrocketed. According to police statistics, more than 500 people were shot in Minneapolis last year—twice as many as in 2019—while murders rose more than 50 percent.

As defunding the police spread to additional cities, so too did the spike in violent crime. Professor Paul Cassell has observed a nationwide "Minneapolis effect" in which "reduced proactive policing resulted in about 710 more homicides and 2,800 more shootings in June and July alone. The victims of these crimes are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic, often living in disadvantaged and low-income neighborhoods."

Portland protest
Black bloc protesters burn an American flag on November 4, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. Multiple protests, some peaceful and others violent, broke out in Portland as the presidential election remained undecided. Nathan Howard/Getty

The protesters lacked the common sense to see this. Or, even worse, they understood but didn't care. After all, so many of them go home to safe suburbs after spending the night demanding that our inner cities be stripped of their protection. And while they sleep the sleep of the self-righteous, people are dying.

Shame on us for abandoning the public square to people who know so little and care even less. But let's face it—most of us just aren't the street protest type. We have jobs and families to support. We need to get up early in the morning. And we're afraid. We're afraid of being physically attacked if we take to the streets. And we're afraid of being cancelled if we dare to disagree with the mob.

We created the Emergency Committee for America to repent of our silence and overcome these challenges. Through the latest in civic engagement software, like one-click email and social media campaigns, we'll offer our members quick and easy ways to speak out. By empowering citizens to act from home, we'll free them from the dilemma of choosing between physical danger and silence. And by enabling them to speak as part of a larger grassroots effort, we'll protect them from being singled out by the cancel mob. Together, we'll give a voice to the silent majority that prefers common sense, careful analysis and thoughtful policy.

We won't be partisan. To the contrary, we intend to take positions that unite a large majority of Americans. We invite both Democrats and Republicans to join us.

We will fight the lie that America is a racist project. We recognize that our ideals and institutions defeated slavery and segregation and are now pushing racism ever further to the margins of society. We understand that we'll make further progress by living up to our principles, not rejecting them.

We will oppose the cancel culture. Reasonable people can and should disagree about what's best for our country, our cities and our most vulnerable citizens. Shouting "racist" is not an argument. Calling others "fascists" doesn't make your policies any wiser.

We will defend statues of American heroes such as Washington, Lincoln and Douglass and oppose the self-appointed demolition squads.

We will oppose efforts to defund the police and demand that defunded departments have their budgets restored. Punish the bad cops. Let the rest do their jobs.

We will defend our history and demand that schools stop using curricula designed to attack America's founding and progress. We can acknowledge our sins and flaws without disregarding our virtues. Just because the protesters couldn't handle nuance doesn't mean that our children can't.

If and when the mob returns to our streets, they won't enjoy the passivity or silence of the prior round. This time, the silent majority will have a vehicle and a voice. We will speak out. We will demand that our leaders lead. And we will insist that there is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what is right about America. If you agree with us, we hope you'll join us.

David Brog is the chairman of the Emergency Committee for America and the president of the Edmund Burke Foundation.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.