#Worse than the limousine liberal: ‘Prius woke-sters’ cheer chaos at personal risk

#Worse than the limousine liberal: ‘Prius woke-sters’ cheer chaos at personal risk

In 1969, New York mayoral candidate Mario Procaccino went after his rival, the movie-star-good-looking incumbent John Lindsay, by deriding him and his supporters as “limousine liberals” — people who, in the words of a Procaccino campaign memo, “preach the politics of confrontation and condone violent upheaval in society because they are not touched by it and are protected by their courtiers, doormen and private police guards.”

Procaccino’s sound bite immortalized one of the more enraging figures in modern US society — the preachy, self-righteous, anti-capitalist but conveniently rich and socially prominent person who decries American injustice and gives lip service to the need for radical change without ever having to fear the consequences of the often-violent forces he supports.

Half a century later, in the midst of America’s latest urban upheaval, we find a new American type — more interesting, perhaps, than the limousine liberal because she doesn’t really have doormen or private cops to protect her from the threat to civil order she welcomes. We might call her the “Prius wokester.”

An astonishing article by The Washington Post’s Greg Jaffe this week tells the tale. The headline: “After Killing of George Floyd, White Liberals ­Embrace Ideas That Once Seemed Radical.” It offers a portrait of two Minneapolitans, Meredith Webb and Michelle Garvey, mothers of young kids, who live across the street from each other in a neighborhood called Hiawatha.

Jaffe details how the aftermath of the killing and the developments in the streets of their city led them to embrace the looting and ­destruction around them.

When they learn of the complete trashing of a nearby Target, Michelle calls it “a perfectly warranted and justified response … an ­expression of righteous rage.”

For her part, Meredith, a standard-issue activist type who supported Elizabeth Warren’s presidential bid, is made uncomfortable by the wanton criminality. But, she says, “It felt wrong to say we’re with you until you start looting.” She castigates herself for the ­impulse “to let myself default to the simplistic reaction of wanting this all to go away.”

Despite Michelle’s positive feelings about looting a Target, owned by a large corporation and therefore apparently deserving of destruction, they worry about spillover. A neighborhood watch is formed.

Jaffe writes: “For several days, [Meredith] and her husband, like many of their neighbors, sat in their front lawns until well after 3 a.m. Garvey and neighbor gave chase to three white strangers she spotted in their neighborhood one evening.”

Still, Meredith is out cheering her viciously anti-Semitic member of Congress, Ilhan Omar, soon after, when Omar declares: “To every single person who has remained silent and been complicit . . . this is the time we step up and show the world what we’re made of!” She comes to support removing peace officers from local schools and defunding or abolishing the police.

“I am trying to push myself to understand looting, and understand that we have to go outside the law sometimes to make things happen,” she tells Jaffe. Then she drives by a burned-out drugstore. “Damn, the Walgreens,” Webb tells Jaffe, then quickly adds: “Not that I should be sad about a Walgreens.”

That a pretty standard-issue left-liberal 30-something mom should so easily make the shift from indignation about police brutality to outright support for brazen, violent criminality and robbery doesn’t seem an exception in these weeks.

Something horrifying is happening to the American moral sense — the plain evidence of one’s own eyes in the form of wanton destruction is overlooked in favor of offering some kind of generalized support for the “cause.”

The limousine liberal can buy himself out of the trouble he’s happy to visit on others. That is what made him a peerless hypocrite. But the Prius wokester can’t. Meredith and her husband and her neighbors may find themselves reaping the very whirlwind they have chosen, with such peculiar blindness, to welcome.

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