Daniel Turner sums up why and how the liberal elite has destroyed city life for him. He’s gone, and he isn’t looking back.
We put up with a lot in order to live in the city: lousy transportation, noise, traffic, pollution, and our fair share of homeless people. It’s all just a part of living in urban America. But I’ll gladly tolerate sirens and car horns in exchange for a new restaurant on the corner. For major league sports, performing arts, museums, and bars, I will put up with the occasional crazy guy on the street, metro derailment, or gridlocked traffic because an intersection is blocked by some group “raising awareness” about something or other. That’s just the price of the urban lifestyle, and as a life-long city dweller, I knew what I was paying for—and with what.
I did my part, too. My role in the fabric of urban society, overlooked but essential, was to spend my money. Eat, drink, shop, spend, tip, pay. And man, did I pay: taxes, rents, then a mortgage and HOA fees. I paid taxes on things the government deemed “bad” for me, like alcohol and cigarettes; taxes on services which organized labor deemed “bad” for them, like rideshare. I paid gas tax, cable tax, cell phone tax, and, of course, income tax. Lots of income tax.
All I asked in return was relative safety and to be left alone to enjoy the city. City-living in America, for decades, meant tolerating mild inconveniences so that you could be left alone, alongside millions of others. That was the tacit pact.
And DC broke it.
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The pact we made to live here has broken. What am I paying for? A defunded police force? More murder? More violence? Do the property taxes I’ve faithfully paid for years not protect the CVS I can see from my bedroom—a building which recently had every window smashed and was looted because of “justice”? When the metro was lousy, we turned to Uber. When the schools were failing, parents turned to charter schools. When one area turned bleak another neighborhood popped up. But when chaos and destruction permeate, and an exhausted people asking for relief are told their indifference–not violent looters—is the true culprit, then there is no alternative but to leave.
The protesters may think this is their moment, but there is a deep, dark secret that will crush every disaffected group now demanding “justice” or “awareness” is this: city people really don’t care. We have an amazing, almost unparalleled ability, to be indifferent.
. . .
The great beauty of the city is that we come from all walks of life and we get along. We accomplish this by leaving each other alone.
That’s why, when DC’s Mayor Bowser spray painted “Black Lives Matter” in front of my tea spot, I knew I was done. Not because of the issue itself or the cause (remember I don’t really care) but because through her actions, Bowser effectively mandated empathy. This was government-sanctioned compassion. The mayor used taxpayer dollars—the one’s I’ve forked over for years—to force her beliefs on me. And, just like that, the pact was broken.
. . .
I am a buying, consuming, spending, law-abiding DC citizen, one who adds and adds to the city’s coffers and never takes. DC needs me. Cities need me. Cities are now angry, dangerous, garbage dumps. I’ll take my money elsewhere.
There’s more at the link.
What I found particularly interesting about this article is that I’ve heard similar sentiments from a number of my friends, acquaintances and contacts, on both sides of the political spectrum, including some I’d classify as somewhat extreme in their views. They include:
- A university professor;
- A doctor;
- An executive at a major aircraft manufacturer;
- A writer;
- A member of the clergy;
- A Wall Street investment analyst.
At least two are card-carrying members of the ACLU. Four are Democrat and two Republican in their political outlook. All of them have either left the cities in which they lived, or are in the process of doing so. All of them have voiced sentiments similar to Mr. Turner’s. They were at home in the city, because they lived in tolerance of and with their neighbors, and paid their way. Suddenly that’s no longer enough. It’s expected – no, demanded – of them that they:
- Pay more than their “fair share”;
- Not only tolerate, but enthusiastically support, extremist views; and –
- Put up with major inconveniences and disruptions caused by riots and blatant thuggery.
Such investments of time, money and self are demanded of them with nothing in return – and they’ve found it too much to ask.
I reached my tipping point in Nashville, Tennessee some years ago, when the authorities not only allowed demonstrators to swarm onto a major Interstate highway through the central business district, blocking it to traffic, but the city actually provided coffee and portable toilets to the protesters. Motorists whose freedom of movement was impaired as a result were advised to be “patient” and “tolerant”. As far as I was concerned, that was the last straw. Those demonstrators had no right whatsoever to obstruct my, or anyone else’s passage. They deserved to be thrown in jail, not cosseted and “tolerated”!
The very next morning, I began the search that led Miss D. and I to move our home to Texas in 2016. We also moved from a large city into a much smaller town, one that also serves as a dormitory community for a nearby city, but is filled with people of sound common sense. Any suggestion here that demonstrators should be “tolerated” if they interrupt traffic on nearby major highways would be met with disbelief, abuse, and an immediate exodus of one’s audience to collect “items of persuasion” before heading for the disturbance, to demonstrate the error of the protesters’ actions. That sort of nonsense won’t fly here.
I think the cities doing the most to “tolerate” and even encourage the current demonstrations, protests and riots have no idea of the damage they’re doing to themselves in the long run. The first signs are already evident. As just one example, consider Minneapolis’ housing market. I’m willing to bet most of those newly trying to sell their homes aren’t doing so to move to another address in the same area. The same trends are becoming visible in other urban centers blighted by riots.
The departure of the urban middle class, with even millennials now joining the exodus, has left cities such as New York increasingly divided between a predominately white and Asian overclass and a large, and often struggling, predominantly minority population. Without the restraints that traditionally come from a politically engaged middle-class constituency pushing for moderate and necessary reform, urban politics have evolved in directions unlikely to attract desperately needed investment and higher wage jobs in the inner city.
These demographic changes have left the fate of our bluest cities in the hands of radicals such as the increasingly potent Black Lives Matter movement. The blue state political and media establishment, and their allies in the corporate elite, have conceded enormous credibility to a group whose stance is explicitly radical … Academic Melina Abdullah … explained: “We’ve been very deliberate in saying that the violence and pain and hurt that’s experienced on a daily basis by Black folks at the hands of a repressive system should also be visited upon, to a degree, to those who think that they can just retreat to white affluence.”
. . .
Caught between their poor constituents and a declining middle class, progressive politicians like Minneapolis’ Jacob Frey, Seattle’s Jenny Durkan, and New York’s Bill de Blasio, have looked the other way as their cities are trashed, sometimes refusing to arrest or jail vandals. Massachusetts District Attorney Maura Healey went so far as to excuse looting as a legitimate, even revered form of protest. Elite journalists compare the ransacking of Target and Apple stores to the protests to the Boston Tea Party.
This rapid reprise of what Fred Siegel labeled “the riot ideology”—unleashing violence and disorder as an intimidation tactic to achieve progressive policy goals and extract economic concessions from government agencies who just want a way to make the violence stop—has no chance of actually improving conditions in the lives of people on whose behalf, supposedly, it is carried out.
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To succeed, cities need to be aspirational, safe and healthy. No city thrives under contagion or the constant threat of violence or infectious disease; what humbled late Imperial Rome can also be visited on New York. Against such threats, the nonstop righteous anger, and ever-expanding demands, and the relentless “virtue signaling” by the urban elites will serve only to further alienate the middle class and the political center necessary to achieve compromise and reform.
Again, more at the link.
Those of my readers still living in such cities might want to seriously reconsider their options . . . before it’s too late. Don’t delay too long. As Mish Shedlock noted a short while ago:
It Takes 3 Weeks to Escape Illinois
Why 3 weeks? That’s how long it takes to reserve a one-way U-Haul outbound.
“Everyone is leaving. No one is coming,” a U-Haul agent told us a few weeks ago.
That’s a word to the wise if ever I heard one!