As Democrats roll out their 2020 platform this week, they continue to offer socialist policies that reject the American dream and aim to reshape our great nation into something unrecognizable.
One of their most dangerous policies, which Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) would advance, is their push to defund and dismantle the police. Wherever this has been tried, it has been a disaster. No one has suffered more under these policies than Americans living in lower-income urban areas who, unlike wealthy San Francisco liberals, can't afford to hire private security.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio cut an alarming $1 billion from the city's police budget. Tragically, murders in New York City rose 59 percent in July compared to the same month last year, while shootings skyrocketed by 177 percent. Liberal politicians in cities like Seattle, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., have all followed this trend and proposed or passed budgets to defund their police departments.
The liberal media continues to depict riots in blue cities as "peaceful" protests, but they are often anything but peaceful. Just this Sunday, a video from Portland, Ore., showed Black Lives Matter militants beating a man unconscious after dragging him from his vehicle. In June, the Portland City Council voted to cut $15 million from its police budget.
Every day we witness the surrender of our cities to the liberal mob, resulting in dramatic increases in violent crime. Burning buildings, looting, and the beating and murdering of innocent Americans is the result of violent mob rule and decades of mismanagement in Democrat-run cities.
Democrats have controlled Baltimore for all but eight of the last 89 years. In Atlanta, Democrats have held the majority in the city for the past 140 years. Democrats have been in charge of Chicago since 1931. The Democrats' record in our urban areas is atrocious. It's no wonder they want to rewrite history.
We need a smarter plan of action to ensure public safety. Local communities are leading the way. In my district in Kansas, the Wichita Police Department has created a partnership with Sedgwick County that involves a police officer, a social worker, and a paramedic that go out as a team on mental health calls. In addition to all officers wearing body cameras, the WPD has a citizen review board to help with transparency and ensure accountability.
To rebuild our cities from the chaos and violence, we must start with defending the men and women in uniform who keep our streets safe and secure. I recently was an original co-sponsor of legislation introduced by Rep. Jody Arrington (R-Texas) that would reform federal law to better support our law enforcement professionals amidst the mob violence. If passed, these bills would double imprisonment and establish a fine for violent rioting, increase penalties for assault on federal officers, and support the federal government's ability to restore justice and order to cities.
It's important now, more than ever, that Congress and elected officials defend - not defund - our police. The radical left's war on public safety is just the beginning. The Biden-Pelosi coalition will continue to tear down American institutions and threaten our freedoms.
America can't afford the counterfeit compassion of the far left. If their record is any measure, they don't care about people. They care about power and their ability to impose their radical, socialist agenda on the nation. If we want to return safely to our lives, we must not turn America over to the liberal mob.
Ron Estes is a 5th generation Kansan and represents Kansas' 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means.