History will eventually show, when it is finally written, that the rioting and looting that occurred during these last months was widespread in large and medium American cities. But far more important was that it was all explicitly and tacitly enabled and often overtly encouraged by municipal government leaders in all of those locations. The prime directive — the social contract — that all elected leaders strike with their voters was always that they would act first to protect life and property. The most significant happening that history will have no choice but record is that municipal and often state elected leaders — in significant numbers and all over the country — abrogated that basic duty for the first time on such a scale in the nation’s history. What that will mean as the country lurches on into the future, if what happened goes unrecognized, unpunished, and never remedied in new electoral outcomes, is an extended era of more of the same. With a lot of far-reaching societal repercussions that can only be recorded as national “decline.”

Todd Bensman is Senior National Security Fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies, a 9-year counterterrorism intelligence manager, and 23-year journalist

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