Here’s to Your Thin Blue Line

Step 1: show your respect for law enforcement by slapping a sanctimonious sticker on your car.

Step 2: disrespect the law by parking your car illegally. 

Funny thing: if this driver were an illegal immigrant, I guess we’d have to think about deporting him, right? I mean, the law is the law is the law. And lawbreakers have to be dealt with, ideally by breaking up their families and sending them to their “countries of origin,” regardless of their job prospects, level of familiarity, or linguistic competence there. Luckily, this driver probably isn’t an illegal immigrant. So I guess it’s entirely appropriate that he should have the opportunity to break the law with impunity, then trumpet his respect for law enforcement. That’s how we roll in America.

If he were an illegal, the greatest irony, I suppose, would be to have him deported by one of his classmates. Because DHS and CPB are certainly chomping at the bit to recruit them. From an email in my inbox:

Good morning,

On Wednesday, April 25, 2018 from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Frontline will be hosting a webinar on job and internship opportunities for students and recent graduates. The virtual event will feature an overview of Frontline positions, including: Border Patrol Agent, CBP Officer, Air Interdiction Agent, Marine Interdiction Agent, Aviation Enforcement Agent, and Agriculture Specialist. Presenters will provide an overview of the application and hiring process, and a panel of CBP Frontline experts will answer live questions from webinar participants. Please register here:

In addition, last month the Office of Academic Engagement launched a Recruitment Listserv specifically for students and recent graduates. Each month subscribers will receive updates on job and internship opportunities, Q&A with DHS employees, opportunities to tour DHS facilities, upcoming webinars, and more.  Please subscribe here:

 Thank you,

DHS Office of Academic Engagement

Oh, no: thank you. And have a blessed day making our country great again.  But you’ll have to do it without me. Because I’m educating my students for bigger and better things.

I hope someone recognizes the Van Halen allusions in the last three posts I’ve done.

2 thoughts on “Here’s to Your Thin Blue Line

  1. I have to imagine, knowing you, that your apparent cognitive dissonance in seeing this apparently “devoted fan of law enforcement agents” show blatant disregard for the actual law is tongue-in-cheek. Without dissecting the symbolism of the “blue line American flag” bumper sticker (that could be its own blog post), anyone raised in the U.S. knows that the juxtaposition of this “Rah-Rah Cops” totem with an ongoing traffic violation doesn’t represent an anomaly so much as an implicit transaction. It’s the same transaction that takes place when someone gets pulled over for going 70 in a school zone and when prompted to hand over license/insurance/registration, a PBA card somehow finds its way into the officer’s hand as well, and a warning ensues. And possessing these little “Get Out Of A Fine and Points Free” cards is a privilege visited on some in our society, but not others. The assumptions underpinning the implicit transaction, to lay it bare, are the following:

    1. When it comes down to it, the reality is that police can and sometimes do exercise absolute power over civilians in an arbitrary and unchecked manner. This sometimes is backed by selective enforcement of vague and arcane laws and statutes (e.g., jaywalking, loitering, exceeding the posted speed limit on roads where literally everyone exceeds the posted speed limit, disturbing the peace), but doesn’t even have to be if you can be dubbed a “suspicious person,” if you “fit a description,” etc.

    2. Once you’ve been selected for this treatment by police, there is essentially nothing you can do to escape a cascade of misfortunes. Plead your case and you can be cited as “hostile to law enforcement,” resisting,” etc. (If you’re black or brown, this alone can end up being a life-defining, or -ending, event.) Further, if you’re poor, you may not be able to afford the fine, setting off a chain reaction of punishments for delinquency to pay in the form of more fines, etc. etc. Hence, your best interest lies in doing whatever you can to not be selected.

    3. Like, prophylactically ingratiate yourself with police by prominently advertising that you’re on “their side” in whatever way you can.

    The irony in all of this is that all of this blind “my cops right or wrong” worship, whether it’s authentic or ersatz, only seems to positively reinforce the arbitrary (at least as far as lawfulness is concerned) and unchecked power-tripping behavior chosen by a subset of law enforcement officers.


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