Oakland Removes Traffic Lights as It Continues Its Slide Into the Third World

In the once-fine city of Oakland, California, these days, we can all watch how a nation can move from the first world to the third world, right under the noses of its elected officials and most of its people, while hardly anyone dares to talk about what’s going on.

Great civilizations can be destroyed in a day. The conquest of Constantinople on May 29, 1453, marking the end of the Roman Empire after over two thousand years as a continuous polity, is a case in point. More often, however, once-powerful empires expire gradually, becoming a shadow of their former selves little by little, without attracting much notice, until it is undeniable that the former glory is gone, never to return. A case in point for that is the demise of the Western Roman Empire, which according to the historians fell in 476, yet without anyone much noticing until decades later. And in our own age, the decline of the United States of America in these dark days of the Biden regime can be seen vividly in Oakland.

For several years I lived a short drive from Oakland, and went there often. Although it had its bad areas, it was for the most part a delightful place. There was the zoo, and Jack London Square, where the greatest jazz artists in the land could be seen at Yoshi’s. There were the Oakland Athletics and Raiders, as well as the Golden State Warriors. Oakland had beautiful weather, lovely scenery, and world-class attractions. Now the Raiders and Warriors are gone, and the A’s are woeful and despised and on their way out as well. Yoshi’s is still there and still first-rate, but every day it gets harder to justify wanting to spend an evening in downtown Oakland.

The reasons for this are the usual effects of far-left rule. They can be seen all over America, but in Oakland they’re as bad or worse as they are anywhere. Fox News reported Sunday that “violent crime in Oakland increased 22% this year, according to the most recently available police data, which also show a nearly 10% increase in commercial burglary.” Even in the far-left Mecca that is Oakland, many business owners are fed up: “In September, over 200 business owners shut down their stores to strike against the government’s handling of public safety amid rising crime. The protest was held days after city officials admitted to missing a deadline to apply for state funding to fight retail theft.”

And now the city is taking down traffic lights. Oakland, Fox News explains, “has been experiencing high crime and theft, including people stealing copper wires and the city’s infrastructure.” The city tried to stop this by putting up cement barriers around electrical boxes, but the brigands proved resourceful enough to overcome that. And so now the wise Communists who rule the city have “taken to removing the traffic lights at a busy intersection and replacing them with stop signs.” 

A nearby business owner spells out what this signifies. Tam Le of Le’s Auto Body & Engine Repair said: “It’s just telling us that the city is giving up on us.” That’s right, Tam Le. That’s exactly what it’s telling you. Tam Le continued: “If you really want to fix the stop sign, I think you really have to clean up this homeless encampment.” Yes, but there is no chance that Oakland officials will do that. It would go against so many leftist dogmas that they would be impeached and removed from office within minutes. And so the traffic lights have to go. 

Related: In Michigan, Leftists Have Started Knocking on Doors in the Middle of the Night

They won’t really be much missed. They haven’t been working, anyway: “The lights had been working on and off for months due to criminals tampering with the electricity and stealing the wires, the report said. One local, Mason Young, said it was becoming extremely dangerous to drive through the intersection, and noted an accident that recently occurred there.” Now, of course, there will just be more accidents, but at least the thieves won’t be able to steal copper wire anymore. They’ll have to content themselves with strolling into the remaining local stores and carrying out $949 worth of merchandise.

Rampant theft. Declining city services. Rising violent crime. This is not the sunny Oakland that I once knew, that was so inviting and delightful to visit. This is a crime-ridden hellhole dominated by potentially violent homeless people and criminals who know they can act with virtual impunity and go unpunished. Decent people are following the city’s old sports teams on the way out the door. Soon enough, no one will be left in Oakland except those who are willing to live by the law of the streets. The rule of law will be a dimming memory. Oakland is a case study for what has gone wrong with America. This is an American city under decades of far-left rule. And it’s only going to get worse.

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