First he declared that protesting anti-black discrimination trumps any concern about the spread of the coronavirus. Now he spends time painting letters on streets while crime in his city skyrockets.
On July 9, with much fanfare, Mayor De Blasio helped paint, in huge yellow letters, the words “Black Lives Matter” on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan facing Trump Tower. He tweeted:
“Our city isn’t just painting the words on Fifth Avenue. We’re committed to the meaning of the message…. I think it’s a message about human respect and the value of human beings and addressing the fact that one group amongst us in particular has been devalued for centuries and that can’t go on.”
When asked why he didn’t allow a pro-cop group, Blue Lives Matter, to paint the name of their organization on a city street, the mayor said:
[The Black Lives Matter movement] transcends any notion of politics…. This is about something much bigger than any one group…. This is about righting wrong and moving forward. So I think that’s the right approach…. I think we have had a seismic moment in this country’s history [comparable to the] civil rights movement of ‘50s and ‘60s in terms of its importance. The original sin of the United States of America, slavery, and all of the effects over 400 years being brought out into the open in a new way, and a chance for this country to get it right, to address this problem, to move forward and it’s summarized in the three words: Black Lives Matter.
Of course, the claim of Black Lives Matter transcendency is hogwash. The Black Lives Matter movement has nasty anti-Semitic aspects to it. It also posits the fundamental illegitimacy of the United States and the need for the rule of the streets. It is virulently anti-Trump and anti-police.
These are hardly non-political positions. The mayor has arbitrarily picked and chosen which side of these positions he will provide a forum on public property. Even a devout liberal like Norman Siegel, the former head of the New York Civil Liberties Union, wasn’t buying it:
De Blasio once again doesn’t get it. He got it wrong. He’s putting something out there that isn’t valid. How can you argue that it’s not apolitical statement? How did he pick the block between 56th and 57th Street? Once you open the door and allow Black Lives Matter murals to be on the streets of New York, you can’t now turn down Blue Lives Matter. That would be a violation of the free speech provision of the Constitution.
So the ever-consistent Siegel nailed the mayor. He’s entitled to his own opinions, but he has no right to use public property to exclusively promote his pet political beliefs. We sincerely hope that he gets off the race kick and focus on being the mayor of all New Yorkers – the sooner the better.