I was just glancing at A Dictionary of Euphemisms and Other Doubletalk by Hugh Rawson, whom I take to be a liberal by whom he's criticizing and how, published in 1981, when I came across this:
safety in the streets.
Law and order,- doubletalk by liberals who objected so strongly to conservative calls for law and order that they felt unable to use the same phrase when they also decided to exploit crime as a political issue. An alternative slogan is domestic tranquillity.
Representative Mario Biaggi was talking about crime. Only a few years ago, he was saying,- "law and order" were dirty words among liberals, coded language for antiblack attitudes. "Now my opponents in the Democratic primary for Mayor have discovered the issue but they call it 'safety in the streets. ' They've just discovered that the poor and the black are the most victimized by crime. That makes it O. K. to talk about." (New York Times, 3/18/73)
Biaggi, a much-decorated policeman prior to his entry into politics, didn't get the nomination, but the issue—and the code phrase—has remained very much alive.
Why did the Democrats think they needed a euphemism for a positive good like law and order? Because "law and order" is an anti-black phrase, on account of the fact that it's mostly blacks who are breaking the law and creating disorder.
I've discussed this before here in an article on disparate impact:
any standard at all that Americans may want to maintain is considered to be racist if minorities, on average, don't measure up. Broader examples would include
- The whole idea, popular in the 70s, that "law and order" was a "code word" for bigotry.
The article quoted by Rawson above [Biaggi Tells His Listeners: I, Too, Have Worked Hard, by Tom Buckley, NYT, March 19, 1973], which is, as Steve Sailer likes to point out, technically in the news section of the paper, goes on to say:
Bayside, near the Nassau County line, isn't exactly high‐crime territory, but his audience, perhaps a hundred men and women, were listening with the rapt attention of people who will have to brave a double line of muggers as soon as they leave the American Legion hall where the meeting was being held.
“I know people who are waiting to decide where to buy a house or whether to sell their house,” Mr. Biaggi continued. “If I get elected they'll stay. If I don't, they're moving out.”
Biaggi didn't get a chance to enforce "safety in the streets" in 1973, when there were 2,040 murders in New York, and thus murders would keep climbing until there was a record of 2,605 in 1990. A crime crackdown and mass incarceration of the murderous brought that down to 558 murders in 2019, before George Floyd, but they're rising, and all because Democrats think it's wrong to enforce the law against black lawbreakers.