Indianapolis Has Fallen: A Red State Capital City Degrades Itself to Blue City Levels
I had known this mid-size metropolis since the seventies when I lived here as a medical student, attending the Indiana University School of Medicine. Then, Indianapolis was referred to as India-no-place or Naptown. But Indianapolis has come a long way since then, attracting professional sports teams, stadiums, and major corporations. There are cultural and art districts, comedy clubs, and trendy, upscale neighborhoods. It has an array of tech-schools and universities, gondola rides along its canal, distilleries, symphony halls, theaters, ethnic restaurants, an excellent zoo, and several museums including the largest children’s museum in the world. My children and I have enjoyed much of what this city has to offer, in particular its downtown area, known as Monument Circle. Here, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument inspires and dazzles, with its glorious fountains, pools, and statues honoring our valiant soldiers and sailors from Indiana who fought and died in our nation’s wars. The Christmas lights are iconic and splendid, and each year we visited the great memorial at night, lit up brilliantly, our Rockefeller Center. It had always been a clean and safe downtown, a place I had felt comfortable visiting with my young family – until now.
This year, Monument Circle swarmed not with tourists and patrons but with a succession of homeless encampments, bedecked with tents, sleeping bags, blankets, cardboard shelters, and, of course, hundreds of vagrants sleeping or milling about. What had been one of the cleanest, most scenic, and safe downtown centers in the country had deteriorated into a third-world, garbage-strewn, threatening urban nightmare.
The entrances to the Hilbert Circle Theater and the nearby Indiana Repertory Theater were boarded up and crammed with itinerants, trash, and debris. It was demoralizing and disgusting, an urban cesspool of dystopia and vagrancy.
The next morning, we walked around a trendy and historic neighborhood, adjacent to downtown, known as Lockerbie Square. Here are individual homes, tree-lined streets, coffee shops, yoga studios, and delightful, antique cobblestone paving. The former home of James Whitcomb Riley, Indiana’s great poet laureate, is located here. I did not see vagrants or garbage, but there was a plethora of BLM (Black Lives Matter) signs, with the clenched fist emblem, and other expressions of solidarity for the racist, Marxist, anti-Semitic organization. Had the neighborhood gone “woke,” upscale, leftish, and chic as it was? Or were the signs a form of insurance, with homeowners hoping to avoid the wrath of marauding peaceful protesters from nearby downtown?
Post George Floyd, the riots, looting and violence that occurred in cities throughout the country also beset Indianapolis. Then, of course, there was the pandemic, with its crushing lockdowns, closures, and mask and social distance mandates, devastating to small businesses everywhere.
Democrat mayor Joe Hogsett voiced standard liberal bromides about “inequities” and “underlying causes.” In a recent article, he and two associates wrote:
“…many cities still use punitive measures to respond to homelessness. Using police to sweep homeless encampments or issue citations and arrests doesn’t reduce homelessness or help people find stability. Instead, it traps people in a homelessness-jail cycle…
Yes, Mayor, of course.
“This pandemic has exposed failures and inequities across our society, including in how we respond to homelessness. But we know what works. Now is the time for policymakers at all levels of government to invest in housing with services that address the underlying problem, rather than using punitive responses that fail to help anyone...”
And so on.
Mayor Giuliani, where are you?
But, no, Mayor Hogsett, the answer is to hold the “homeless” (vagrants, drug addicts, bums) to the same middle-class standards that we hold everyone else to. These include taking a shower, dressing up, not drinking or using drugs, learning a skill, finding a job, obtaining a dwelling, and getting off the street.
There is also a cornucopia of welfare programs that provide assistance for those in need. Some of these include food stamps, direct financial aid, Medicaid, housing and heating subsidies, and more. There are church or faith-based charities. Such public generosity should require a minimum of 20 hours community service, beginning with cleaning up the messes they have made.
Our Declaration of Independence proclaims an inalienable right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Nowhere does it mention a “right” to a home. That, dear liberals, is up the individual.
We stayed on Pennsylvania Avenue, a block away from Monument Circle. Next to my building was the office of Senator Mike Braun, also from Jasper, one of our two Republican, allegedly conservative, senators. On the other side of the Circle, a mere block away, was the state capitol, a majestic, classical structure. All of our representatives must have seen what I saw.
In the state of Indiana, a very red, pro-Trump state, both houses of our bicameral state assembly are overwhelmingly Republican. The governor, who recently won a second term, is also a Republican. Our two U.S. senators are Republican and seven out of nine congressman are Republican. Vice President Mike Pence was an Indiana congressman and then governor before ascending to the vice presidency.
While recognizing that state and federal representatives do not operate on the local level, and that the current mayor of Indianapolis is a Democrat, is there no influence they could exert on local officials to clean up this nauseating mess in our capitol city?
The filth and squalor of America’s Democrat-run cities is well known. We have seen and heard the horror stories of New York City, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, D.C., and elsewhere. There is rampant homelessness, public defecation, open drug abuse, skyrocketing crime, shuttering of businesses, and closing of parks, schools, churches, and temples. We have witnessed and experienced the destruction of the economy and the forfeiture of our civil and religious liberties, and the humiliating forced wearing of Chinese facial diapers by tyrannical left-wing mayors and governors.
But we don’t expect this to occur in deep red states.
Yet it does.
Other than Florida and South Dakota, which have both given a good account of themselves through the pandemic, Republican-run states have been as slovenly, craven, and ruthless as any blue state. They have given over to the mindless anarchy and violence of BLM/Antifa/SJW mobs running our streets and the homeless bivouacs. Likewise, they have been as tyrannical as the Democrats, enforcing demeaning masks of submission mandates, lockdowns and closures, including, unfortunately, here in Indiana.
Indianapolis is the crown jewel of Indiana, particularly Monument Circle. And so it should remain.
When will our elected Republican leaders at all levels of government stand up to the degradation of our cities, the anarchy and tyranny in open display? When will they challenge a level of oppression that King George III never dreamed of imposing upon the colonies in his day?
If Republicans other than Trump are unwilling to fight as Democrats do, then a new model of organization and defiance for patriots is needed. Modeled after the Tea Party movement, it should avoid the mistakes of that crusade. It should remain independent and prevent the Republican Party from co-opting it. We will require a more local, county-level system of defense, aid, and resistance.
Who will stand up for regular, scorned, taxpaying, working, patriotic Americans? Who will defend the deplorables that love their country?
Hoosiers, their elected representatives, and a new grassroots coalition of patriots must restore our beloved capital city, Indianapolis, even as we push back against the jackals in what must remain the freest and greatest nation in the world.
Richard Moss, M.D., a surgeon practicing in Jasper, IN, was a candidate for Congress in 2016 and 2018. He has written A Surgeon’s Odyssey and Matilda’s Triumph, available on amazon.com. Contact him at richardmossmd.com or Richard Moss, M.D. on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.