It has become patently clear for decades that long-time liberal rule wreaks havoc on cities and states. Detroit is Exhibit A: More than 40 years of Democrats in charge led to high taxes, rampant crime, decayed neighborhoods, failing schools, massive corruption, greedy and self-serving public employee unions, pension fund graft, a steadily declining population, and finally, in 2013, bankruptcy.
The Motor City, which in 1950 had 1.8 million residents not including the suburbs, now has about 670,000 people. Many of its abandoned and arson-wracked homes have been leveled, leaving scores of empty blocks deemed "urban prairies." Indeed, urban farming is thriving in Detroit. Yes, you heard me right: Farming, in the city that laid the blueprint for assembly line production, the city that put America on wheels, the city whose industrial might earned it the title "Arsenal of Democracy" during World War II.
Under Mayor Mike Duggan and some more honest and competent city council members, Detroit has emerged from bankruptcy and is on the road to recovery. But it will be a long, hard road, because the damage progressive politics did was severe and cannot be overcome in a brief period of time.
Across the nation, cities ruled by Democrats have suffered the same types of pathologies as Detroit, although not to the same severe extent. You could name hundreds of cities with longtime Democrat rule that are hollowed out, with desolate, dangerous neighborhoods, high unemployment and hellhole schools. And adding insult to injury, ridiculously high property taxes -- and often a city income tax to boot -- really stick it to the long-suffering residents.
As a frequent reader of online news articles and blogs, as well as discussion forums, I have seen my argument presented quite often. And invariably, a liberal or liberals will respond with something like this: There are many successful, prosperous cities that have been led by progressives for decades. Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, as well as smaller university towns such as Ann Arbor, Mich., Madison, Wis., and Austin, Texas.
But I seldom see a rebuttal to this response, even though it's a slow pitch right over the plate, to use that old baseball analogy. Allow me to hit it out of the park.
On the surface, cities like San Francisco may seem like a liberal paradise: Beautiful homes, upscale shopping districts with plenty of trendy restaurants, night clubs & coffee shops, plus avant garde art galleries, clothing stores and the like. Leftist ordinances proliferate, including decriminalized pot, transgendered bathrooms and the ubiquitous "sanctuary city" status for illegal immigrants.
But look beneath the surface at what's really happening in many of these liberal paradises. High property taxes and rents force lower income people into homelessness or shelters. Many of the service industry employees who work in the hotels and restaurants must ride miserable public buses for hours to and from work because their homes are 50 miles away. Too, a considerable number of middle-class and upper middle-class workers endure lengthy, grinding commutes to and from work each day because, despite earning a decent salary, they cannot afford to live near where they work. This is another quality of life issue that may not be so obvious to the casual observer.
Meanwhile, in cities coast to coast (not just sanctuary cities), illegal immigrants commit crimes against innocent victims, endanger motorists with drunken driving, and burden hospital emergency rooms and local social service agencies with a litany of medical, psychological and substance abuse problems.
San Francisco has so coddled homeless people, many of whom are mentally ill, have substance abuse problems and need professional help, that it has dramatically degraded the quality of life. In the city's public library, patrons have had to put up with disgusting behavior by homeless vagrants, who have bathed in bathroom sinks, changed clothes in restrooms and dealt drugs in or near library buildings. Public defecation has been a real and serious problem. Isn't progressivism wonderful?
Liberal cities typically have horrible public schools, so white liberals who make good money, can afford to live in a nice neighborhood and have school age children invariably send their progeny to private schools. But woe unto poor black and hispanic families, for their children are often consigned to the run-down, drug-infested, gang-ridden hellhole schools. The corrupt politicians and teachers' unions conspire to oppose charter schools and educational vouchers, in effect waging war on minority children's future prospects.
Yes, some liberal cities have great neighborhoods, impressive culture, vibrant shopping districts and fairly low crime. But look beyond the surface issues, and the wreckage of liberalism will undoubtedly manifest itself.