FrontPage Magazine’s Man of the Year: America’s Sheriff

One man stands tall against Obama and the Left.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

There is a war on police.

It’s the post-Ferguson truth that every cop knows, but there is one man who has emerged as a passionate and articulate spokesman for law enforcement and is willing to call it a “war on police.”

“War had been declared on the American police officer led by some high profile people, one of them coming out of the White House, and one coming out of the United States Department of Justice,” he said. “And it’s open season right now.”

For decades, Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr. put his life and his energies into protecting and serving the people of Milwaukee County. Though always a man of strong opinions, it was when the White House cheered a war on police and pushed through pro-crime policies, freeing drug dealers while locking up police officers that he emerged as a national figure of unquestionable moral authority.

When Attorney General Eric Holder met Sheriff Clarke he sneered, “What's up with the hat?” Political opponents have mocked Sheriff Clarke as a “big cowboy.” And indeed, the Sheriff of Milwaukee County wears a cowboy hat and he can be seen riding a horse. He also preaches “cowboy values” like speaking frankly and telling people that they have to be ready to stand up to criminals.

“You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed or you can fight back,” he told his constituents. “You have a duty to protect yourself and your family.”

The meeting between Holder and Clarke was a clash of worldviews. In Holder’s social justice worldview, fighting crime only feeds the root causes of crime. The criminal is the victim. The crime victim is the perpetrator. Every arrest, whether of a drug dealer or a terrorist, only causes more crime.

Under Holder and Lynch’s social justice policing, the Ferguson Effect has crippled cops and juiced up crime. Cities are returning back to the bad old days when social justice reformers passed their pro-crime policies and some neighborhoods became nightmarish territories where the violence never stopped.

Sheriff Clarke started his career as a patrol officer. He was a Homicide Detective. Crime isn’t a theory for him. It’s a fact. Its victims aren’t faceless statistics. They’re mothers and daughters, fathers and sons.

Underneath that cowboy hat is a law enforcement professional with a degree in Criminal Justice Management¸ who has passed through training and leadership programs at Harvard and Quantico, the former Commanding Officer of the Intelligence Division of the Milwaukee Police Department, who knows both the theory of law enforcement and its grim reality at every level. Along the way, Clarke had earned a reputation for standing up for the men and women in law enforcement under his leadership.

When he fought back against the White House’s war on police, he was doing what he had always done.

“In the early days of this cop hating we didn’t have a voice to counter that message: we are racist, blood-thirsty. We didn’t have a counter narrative which is why I stepped up and tried to be that counter narrative,” Clarke explained. “I realized once I started taking on the attorney general and the president of the United States I was in the deep end of the pool. It is dangerous in the deep end of the pool.”

And Sheriff Clarke has stood up to smears of the White House and its billionaire allies and survived.

Michael Bloomberg threw six figures worth of ads at him and lost every dime of that money.  “I trust the voters. The voters can’t be bought,” Clarke said. The voters of Milwaukee County picked the big cowboy over the big city billionaire. They chose a man who would stand up for them over the powerful progressives who are determined to walk all over them and tell them that it’s for their own good.

 Many police officers fear for their jobs and their lives while appointed urban police brass pander to radical leftists in public office. Police officers are being wrongly arrested to appease mobs while violent drug dealers and gang members are freed by the order of the White House. Meanwhile children are shot by gang members and ordinary people are beaten, raped and robbed on formerly safe streets.

Just as in his days as a patrol officer, Sheriff Clarke came running to the rescue as the courageous face of a beleaguered law enforcement community. In interviews and speeches, he spoke the hard truth without a hint of political correctness, fighting to keep Americans safe well beyond his own jurisdiction.

As he had always done.

Sheriff Clarke’s conservative worldview was formed by the influence of his father who was an African-American Airborne Ranger in Korea and guided him to law enforcement. As a boy, he lived in a housing project. He worked his way up through perseverance. He has seen a city where crime was a rarity take a turn toward the terrifying statistics of Detroit. And he is equally blunt about the causes.

“Parents have turned over their duty to raise their kids to federal and state government programs,” Clarke says. “These kids suffer from a lot of emotional baggage spawned by ineffective parenting, which is worsened by white bleeding-heart liberals who use these troubled kids for their liberal agenda. Social liberalism is a sadistic ideology.”

“White liberal social policies have become the new racism in America.”

Sheriff Clarke has been speaking out against the disease of government dependency for a long time. Ten years ago, he wrote, “Liberal elites and their interest groups have continued to deal with their own guilt of the legacy of slavery by pursuing the flawed strategy of creating more social service programs with little or no accountability and nothing other than anecdotal evidence of results.”

“Keeping alive programs that do nothing more than keep minorities mired in a culture of dependency is self-defeating and hurts the very people that liberals profess to want to help,” he had warned.

The pro-crime theorists of the left prefer to think of men like Sheriff Clarke as thoughtless proponents of brute force who are unwilling to consider root causes, but Clarke understands root causes far better than they do. When he warns that it’s the ghetto rather than the police that needs fixing, he can back the argument up with a wealth of statistics. When he shoots down the lies of #BlackLivesMatter about “genocide” or the ACLU’s false claims about “racial profiling,” he does it with hard numbers.

Sheriff Clarke is the left’s worst nightmare, a dedicated cop and a relentless thinker who can take apart their political and social failures with the same methodology that he used at crime scenes. 

The left likes to castigate black conservatives as alien to the community, but Sheriff Clarke has proven them wrong by winning election after election. When he asks, “How do we go from Rosa Parks to Mike Brown as symbols of the Civil Rights Movement,“ he is speaking as the voice of a true civil rights movement which meets dependency with responsibility and victimhood with courage.

The war on police is really a debate about personal responsibility. And personal responsibility is the new and final civil rights movement. As weeping community organizers sell t-shirts decorated with photos of criminals, Sheriff Clarke rides tall with a call for personal responsibility and individual freedom.

 That is why Sheriff Clarke is FrontPage Magazine’s Man of the Year.  

While the media celebrates whining crybullies, we stand with the courage and commitment shown by one man. By taking a stand, Sheriff Clarke has become more than the Sheriff of Milwaukee County.

He has become America’s Sheriff.

His leadership is an inspiration to all of us to take a stand in our profession and in our community for our values, our freedom and our country.