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Bruce Bialosky

We Are Becoming Venezuela

Those who regularly read my column know that The Beautiful Wife and I are experienced world travelers. We have been to 80 countries together and love to travel to all corners of the world. One of the countries I would really like to go to is Venezuela.

At one point not to long ago, Venezuela had the best economy in Latin America and was in the top 20 economies in the world. It has the largest oil reserves in the world. In the last two decades of the 20th century, the economy started to decline. It was still a country with which many people I knew did business and visited regularly. I wanted to vacation there. I heard wonderful things about Caracas, the capital.

Then Hugo Chavez became president promising a Bolivian (socialist) revolution. He indeed provided a revolution until he died. A revolution of despair. The current leader, Nicolas Maduro, took over the country and finished destroying any semblance of civilized life. Human Rights Watch has reported there is a full-blown humanitarian crisis lacking safe water, basic nutrition, and healthcare. Whoever can get out has gotten out.
We missed our opportunity to visit Venezuela and likely will never be able to safely vacation there in our lifetimes.

The same thing is happening to major cities in the United States, and it too is self-inflicted. The elected leaders of these cities have driven the economies into the ground, driven out businesses and created lawless environments.

I am specifically addressing San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. These are cities I have visited numerous times over the years. I walked around their downtown areas without a care for safety and experienced all aspects of the life there. No more. The elected leaders have allowed the cities to be driven into the ground. They have out-of-control homeless populations that make the entire environment unsafe and grimy.

I will no longer be driving down Lombard Street or walking around Union Square or enjoying a meal at Sears in San Francisco. I will no longer be walking over to Powell’s Books in Portland and then grabbing some lunch after cruising the book racks. I will no longer be heading over to Pike’s Place in Seattle to take in the wonderful fish market. Seattle handed over an entire section of their downtown to criminals and it has never fully recovered.

You cannot blame any of this on blacks or other minorities as they represent a minor portion of the population in these cities. No, the dismal decline of these cities is caused by the most dangerous people in America – white liberals. They have voted for hard-core Leftists to come into office with their extreme policies. They think they are doing well for others allowing the public-school systems to corrode while sending their own children to private schools. They believe criminals should not have ramifications for their crimes because the crimes were just a manifestation of their challenging past.

I will not be visiting any of these cities soon and maybe not ever again.
There is another city I am thinking of adding to the list. Just 18 months ago after numerous prior visits, we were in Chicago. We were there when possibly the worst mayor in American history was in office – Lori Lightfoot. She was so bad her constituency gave her only 17% in the election primary, thus eliminating her from the general election.

Given an opportunity to begin correcting the malaise Lightfoot created, the residents of Chicago doubled down by electing someone who could easily become worse. With a failing school system they elected someone who received 95% of his contributions from public employee unions, largely from the teachers’ union.

Even before Brandon Johnson was installed into office, he displayed what a disaster he will become. After a mob destroyed parts of his city and threatened tourists, he made an astonishing statement regarding their criminal activity. What he should have said was he condemned the actions and that when he becomes mayor, he will put a stop to these kinds of actions.

Instead, he stated, “In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend. It is and has no place in our city. However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities. Our city must work together to create spaces for youth to gather safely and responsibly, under adult guidance and supervision, to ensure that every part of our city remains welcome for both residents and visitors. This is one aspect of my comprehensive approach to improve public safety and make Chicago livable for everyone.”

That does not inspire confidence that I or anyone else walking his streets will be safe. While he is having social sessions, people will be beaten and robbed. His comments provided encouragement to the mob to continue their lawless actions because they will face no consequences.

Mr. Johnson won his election largely on the back of two groups voting for him — blacks and, you guessed it, the most dangerous group in America – white liberals. Funny, the area the mob attacked was where they live.

I may return to these cities once they decide to install sane leaders with sane policies. The Beautiful Wife and I have plenty of places to visit that are safer than the places mentioned above. I am thinking Bangladesh.