Following Joe Biden’s “projected” victory in the 2020 election, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and her administration have urged businesses to take down their plywood and other protective measures. This is a mistake and another flagrant example of Bowser trading her constituents’ wellbeing for token political wins.
Christopher Rodriguez, director of the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, claimed that:
“Our suggestion and our ask of the businesses is that given our threat environment that they should take down all the boards or cardboard that has been put up there.”
Administrators claim that there was, as of Nov. 9, “no credible information” that suggested impending violence. However, in the days leading up to Nov. 3, groups like ShutDownDC, whose members are still active, espoused plans to potentially cause chaos following the election.
On Oct. 20, Lisa Fithian, known notoriously for her involvement in movements like Occupy Wall Street and the 1999 Seattle WTO protests, hosted a Zoom training session about a possible “post-election phase in the streets.” The session was leaked, posted to YouTube and later picked up by CNSnews.
Fithian asked participants, “what would it take to surround the White House, and have people do stuff?” She continued, urging protestors, “to be willing to put our bodies on the line and take on some discomfort, sacrifice, risk, in order to change things.”
Referencing tactics used in Tahir Square, Cairo, during the Arab Spring, Fithian asserted that:
“We may find ourselves on the streets with people with different tactics than ours. Like, there may be some people who are willing to break the windows to get into the government buildings. Like, [if] that’s what we need to do then we shouldn’t fight about that. Let’s do that – let’s take over the buildings.”
Although violence in and around the White House on election night was relatively minimal, three people were stabbed during the protests later that evening.
ShutDownDC has now turned its attention towards the President’s backers. Last week, the organization “paid a visit” to two law firms representing the Campaign in its ongoing litigation in key battleground states. As ShutDownDC argues, these Trump “enablers” are “complicit in helping Trump bully and cheat in his desperate effort to take votes away from Black, Indigenous, and brown people in this country.”
Bowser, who has been accused of personal hypocrisy following her “essential” trip to Delaware to attend Biden’s victory speech, cannot credibly claim that she is not aware of these eyebrow-raising developments.
Under her watch as Mayor, DC witnessed mass unrest this past summer. Beginning in late May, following the death of George Floyd, countless businesses were looted and defaced as violence erupted on the streets. Never once did the Mayor urge businesses to board up. Instead, the District’s government pursued a reactionary approach, with Bowser preferring not to damage her “woke” reputation.
When President Trump brought in National Guard troops to help quell the unrest, Mayor Bowser protested. In a formal letter to the President on June 5, the Mayor asserted that:
“The deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting…”
With the election fast approaching, it appeared that the DC government still hadn’t learned its lesson.
The Mayor’s office recommended businesses not board up at all ahead of the election. Bowser is seemingly moving with haste to legitimize a Biden presidency by returning to business as usual. The Mayor’s ideologically-driven policy did little to guard against the violence that emerged this previous weekend.
During the ‘Million Maga March,’ elements within Antifa-related groups, like Refuse Fascism, formed “Black Blocs” to harass and attack pro-Trump peaceful demonstrators and instigators alike. Both President Trump and ShutDownDC called on the DC Metropolitan Police (MPD) to intervene. MPD has made around 21 arrests related to the protests.
For the past 5 months, the government of the District of Columbia and its mayor, Muriel Bowser, have been preoccupied with partisan political theater. Instead of taking steps to ensure the safety of its residents, the local government has worked tirelessly to promote “wokeness.” Mayor Bowser should take heed of these serious threats to public safety. The local government should avoid using language that would lead business owners to put their guard down and instead permit them to freely make their own choices about ensuring their personal safety and safeguarding their property.