by Bruce Bawer
If you want to be thorough about the matter, of course, you can’t talk about the ongoing destruction of the city of Minneapolis under the auspices of its callow, hapless young mayor, Jacob Frey – aptly described by New York Post columnist Miranda Devine as a “soy boy,” a “man-child,” and a “half-price Justin Trudeau” (they’re both cute in the same doe-eyed, dumb-looking way) – without also taking into account the pernicious contributions of Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, whose mantra, since the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, has been “systemic racism”; Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, who, with breathtaking mendacity, blamed last year’s Antifa and BLM mayhem on “white supremacists”; the state’s Hamas-linked, Jew-hating Attorney General Keith Ellison, a serial girlfriend abuser and longtime Farrakhan acolyte who boasts continually of his efforts toward “social transformation”; and radical-left City Council President Lisa Bender, who, when challenged (by CNN, no less!) on her ridiculous call for “a future without police,” dismissed public concerns about armed home burglaries as coming from “a place of privilege.”
But although each of these reprehensible characters has played a significant role in Minneapolis’s current tragedy, Frey, who turns forty in July, is without question the star of the show. His big moment came on June 6 of last year, when, in what Devine characterized as “a scene reminiscent of a Maoist struggle session,” the masked, t-shirted mayor inanely confessed to a restive crowd of black radicals that he was “coming to grips with my own brokenness.” Yet even this wince-inducing display of abject contrition wasn’t enough for them: when he told them he wouldn’t defund the police (although, as he assured the New York Times, he believes fervently in “deep structural reform of a racist system”), they jeered at him, and Frey, looking for all the world like a teenager being sent to bed without dinner by his parents, meekly obeyed the rabble’s command to go home. Did it count for nothing with this mob that two days earlier, in an almost equally pathetic tableau, Frey had abased himself at a memorial service for George Floyd, sobbing hysterically for over a minute, his entire body trembling and heaving, as he knelt by the creep’s casket? Or did the June 6 horde, having observed this embarrassing spectacle, figure that if this wuss could be brought so low, so fast, so easily, then perhaps, with just a little more humiliation, he might not only shutter the police department but offer to put every last cop in front of a firing squad?
These scenes of well-nigh unprecedented public debasement, as it happens, came after several days during which Frey, not previously known for a preoccupation with race relations, privately strove, in the wake of Floyd’s demise, to play catch-up, holding mawkish phone calls with black staffers and colleagues and activists and clergy, attending what the Star-Tribune called a “listening session hosted by Black media outlets,” reading a book about “the long-lasting psychological damage of racism,” and essentially apologizing for his whiteness to pretty much everyone in town with a melanin count higher than his own. So eager was he to ingratiate himself with the canaille - justice be damned - that before the verdict came in at the Derek Chauvin trial, he declared, disgracefully: “Regardless of the decision made by the jury, there is one true reality, which is that George Floyd was killed at the hands of police.” And this in a burg that was once famous mainly for being safe, clean, and dull – identified in the American mind with wholesome Seventies sitcom heroine Mary Richards and with the hard-working, law-abiding Scandinavian-Americans who called it home.
Indeed, while racial unrest is old news in places like Baltimore, Detroit, St.Louis, and Los Angeles, it’s new to Minneapolis – and to Minnesota generally, where, as Powerline’s John Hinderaker noted recently, the “population was barely 1 percent African-American” until 1980 or so; in the decades since, the growth in the non-white population has been the result mostly of mass welfare migration and a tsunami of Somali refugees. If black people consider Minneapolis a white-supremacist hellhole, they sure have an odd way of showing it. Yet Frey would have you believe that his city has for generations been a locus of world-class tensions between oppressive whites and tyrannized blacks, that the Chauvin trial was part of a “global reckoning” after “centuries-long inequities and racial injustice.” And what was Frey’s own contribution to this momentous “reckoning”? Unforgivably, and to what we may hope will be his everlasting infamy, he decided to let criminal gangs run riot in the streets, laying waste to homes, banks, stores, libraries; faced with a decision either to send in the police to protect lives and property or to virtue signal by caving to a barbaric mob, he chose the latter, even instructing police to abandon a precinct house to the mindless jackals. After all, Frey pronounced, the havoc wrought by black rioters was the result of “400 years” of “built-up anger and sadness” and was thus “not only understandable” but “right.”
Among the victims of all this “understandable” violence have been several black Minneapolis children. On April 30 of this year, Ladavionne Garrett Jr., 10, was shot in the head in his parents’ car; he had brain surgery and slipped into a coma, but so far has managed to cling to life. On May 15, Trinity Ottoson-Smith, 9, was struck by a stray bullet at a birthday party and rushed to a hospital by police; when she died twelve days later, Frey tweeted tritely: “No parent should ever have to say goodbye to their child.” On May 17, Aniya Allen, 6, was shot by a stray bullet while eating a Happy Meal in a car outside her home; when she died two days later, Frey tweeted: “Aniya’s life mattered. Ladavionne and Trinity’s lives matter. We owe it to them and their families to help get answers.” Answers? The answers were obvious. Savages given carte blanche by Frey to go on shooting rampages had slaughtered innocent children. In all likelihood, these savages were black males – career criminals, probably, like Floyd, whom Frey had mourned so ostentatiously. But Frey, naturally, made no mention of this detail. (Nor, when he lamented, on March 17, the growing number of assaults on Asian-Americans, did he acknowledge that most of the perpetrators were black, and that these assaults were simply part of an overall rise in black crime; instead, he attributed them to “[h]ateful rhetoric,” presumably by white racists.)
The deaths of Trinity and Aniya, and the ordeal of Ladavionne, taught Frey nothing. His tweets about them came off as perfunctory. Only when white cops kill black hooligans does he seem to break out the Kleenex. This was demonstrated on April 11, when a police officer in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center killed Daunte Wright, a black man resisting arrest on a weapons warrant; it was demonstrated again on June 3, when another black man, Winston Boogie Smith (was his mother an Orwell fan?), died during an exchange of gunfire with U.S. Marshals trying to arrest him for murder. Like Floyd’s death, but not those of Ladavionne or Trinity or Aniya, the deaths of Wright and Smith sparked new rounds of civil unrest in the Twin Cities – and more tearful hand-wringing by the reflexively repentant boy mayor: “The anguish in Katie Wright’s voice after losing her son echoes in my mind and across our entire state this morning….Minneapolis stands firmly with the people of Brooklyn Center in seeking justice for Daunte Wright and peace in our cities.”
Even when he isn’t weeping convulsively over dead hoodlums, Frey engages in an over-the-top brand of racial pandering that self-respecting black Minneapolitans must surely find condescending. Every time he stands at a lectern (invariably coming off like a kid who’s been cast as a mayor in a school play), he repeats the same absurd hyperbole about the “400 years of injustice” that are now hitting the black community “like a tidal wave”; about how he’s “building a new and inclusive community as we speak”; about the urgent need to transform the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, where Floyd died, into a “permanent memorial to George Floyd and everything that he stood for [!] in his life”; and about how the black citizens of Minneapolis should henceforth be the “key beneficiaries” of municipal largesse. Post-Floyd, pretty much every issue, in Frey’s anything-but-colorblind mind, seems to have become tinged with race: for example, he recently applauded a push in the Minnesota statehouse to legalize recreational pot use as an “encouraging step for racial justice.” You can’t make this stuff up.
As much as he’s genuflected toward blacks, moreover, Frey hasn’t neglected to fawn impressively over other non-whites. On April 12 (two days after tweeting that a newly opened Muslim eatery offered “the best goat I’ve ever had”), he bragged about having “granted a noise permit to Dar Al-Hijrah for Cedar-Riverside to broadcast the call to prayer for the holy month of Ramadan”; on May 13, he tweeted: “As this Holy Month comes to a close, I’m wishing all our Muslim friends and neighbors who observed Ramadan a happy and healthy Eid al-Fitr.” Note that while Frey, a Reform Jew, twice referred to Ramadan as “holy,” he failed, last fall, to tweet so much as a word about Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. As for the two major Christian holidays in 2020-21, he contented himself with a brief, breezy “Merry Christmas to those celebrating” and “Happy Easter, Minneapolis.” And this man who called Ramadan “holy” made no mention of God in his Thanksgiving tweet (“Our family couldn’t be more grateful for the frontline workers, healthcare heroes,” etc.), which, in any case, was considerably less enthusiastic than his tweet, a week later, about Native American Heritage Day: “Love seeing Indigenous voices lifted up & celebrated….Leaders like Autumn Dillie [of the American Indian Community Development Association] are working year round to make MPLS a better place.”
And, alas, his actions match his contemptible words. Repeatedly, he’s given the thumbs-up to special treatment for blacks at the expense of whites. In February he touted the Minneapolis Climate Action and Racial Equity Fund, which, in the name of pursuing an “inclusive” approach to climate change, distributes public funds exclusively to BIPOC- and immigrant-owned businesses; in March he promoted another initiative, this one administered by the Metropolitan Economic Development Association, that also enriches only black firms. The goal of Minneapolis’s post-COVID recovery, he explains, “has never been to return to the way things were. A more equitable economy means specifically lifting Black businesses.” Some might decry this policy as blatantly racist; but Frey calls it “inclusive recovery and transformation,” boasting that “equity has been the driving force behind allocating the limited funding we have.” Yes, not equality but equity – meaning systematic discrimination to address “systemic racism.” For if your city is emerging from a pandemic-induced economic crisis that was made even worse by a concomitant epidemic of black vandalism, arson, and looting, how to handle the recovery justly other than by throwing money at blacks and freezing out whites? On Martin Luther King Day, Frey proclaimed that he was “in awe of [King’s] legacy of championing meaningful change”; but virtually everything that this nincompoop has said and done during the last year has been utterly, and dangerously, at odds with King’s noble proposition that it’s character - not skin color - that counts.
First published in Frontpage.