Ahlquist’s Armrest Revelations

One hesitates to make too much of an activist article like Steve Ahlquist’s August 9 report and transcription of a conversation with a Woonsocket city worker.  However, two observations are worth making, considering Progressives’ ascendance in Rhode Island and beyond.

The first relates to the underlying issue.  The city has installed armrests in the middle of some park benches, and activists are complaining that they’re “anti-homeless architecture,” as Ahlquist’s headline puts it.  By intent or otherwise, the armrests make it difficult for homeless people to lie down on the benches, which Progressives find to be an assault on their rights.

Just so do they disregard the rights of the broader public, who ought to be able to set standards for the character of public spaces.  Ahlquist and others may obstinately dispute the point, but the presence of homeless people changes the aesthetic of a space, not to mention raising legitimate concerns about health and safety.  One needn’t pass moral judgement on them to observe that the conditions and recent histories of the homeless tend to correspond with concerning behaviors and mental health challenges (at least those of the bench-sleeping subcategory) and speak to the condition of the surrounding society.

Indeed, as Ahlquist notes, a man’s dead body was found on one of these benches in the winter.  Helping people in these circumstances is an important concern (for which the Progressives and I would offer different solutions), but taking measures to prevent their dying on park benches is a reasonable step for their safety and for the public good.

The second point has to do with the light Ahlquist shines on the city worker.  For the moment, anyway, Progressives still claim to take the side of the workers of the world, although that may have more to do with the fact that labor unions’ core value is actually the financial and political support of the Wokers of the world, rather than honest labor.

Yet, note what happens when a worker’s job leads him to take a position Ahlquist doesn’t like.  Somebody has been removing these armrests, and the policy having been created at a higher level of authority, this man’s job is to maintain and replace them.  In Progressive eyes, this makes him an enforcer of unjust power.  He’s no longer within the fold but becomes part of the wicked power structure.

The job of a public worker, that is, must be to implement and enforce the Progressive ideology in whatever form it might take on a given day.  This conclusion is no surprise.  In all things, from media hypocrisy to the different standards of justice being applied to Americans based on their political beliefs to the ability to enjoy God-given freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, the decisive criteria is agreement with them, and everybody must choose between cooperation and common sense, on one side, and fealty to the Woke, on the other.


Featured image by Justin Katz on Adobe Firefly.

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