mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Racism, Violence And The Politics Of Resentment”: It Shouldn’t Be Hard To Recognize Two Truths

We have a choice to make.

We can look at violence and racism as scourges that all of us must join together to fight. Or we can turn the issues of crime and policing into fodder for racial and political division.

In principle, it shouldn’t be hard to recognize two truths.

Too many young African Americans have been killed in confrontations with police when lethal force should not have been used. We should mourn their deaths and demand justice. Black Lives Matter turned into a social movement because there is legitimate anger over the reality that — to be very personal about it — I do not have to worry about my son being shot by the police in the way an African American parent does.

At the same time, too many of our police officers are killed while doing their jobs. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 1,466 men and women in law enforcement died in the line of duty over the past decade. We should mourn their deaths, appreciate the dangers they face and honor their courage.

Now I’ll admit: It’s easy for me to type these words on a computer screen. Circumstances are more complicated for those on either side of confrontations over the obligations of our police officers. Things get said (or, often, shouted) that call forth a reaction from the other side. A few demonstrators can scream vile slogans that can be used to taint a whole movement. Rage escalates.

Moreover, there are substantive disagreements over what needs to be done. Those trying to stop unjust police killings want to establish new rules and practices that many rank-and-file officers resist, arguing that the various measures could prevent them from doing their jobs. This resistance, in turn, only heightens mistrust of the police among their critics.

But politicians and, yes, even political commentators have an obligation: to try to make things better, not worse. There is always a choice between the politics of resentment and the politics of remedy. Resentment is easier.

And so it was this week that the murder of Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth inspired Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) to say on Monday: “Whether it’s in Ferguson or Baltimore, the response of senior officials of the president, of the attorney general, is to vilify law enforcement. That is fundamentally wrong, and it is endangering the safety and security of us all.” For good measure, the next day, Cruz condemned President Obama’s “silence” on Goforth’s murder.

The problem? For starters, Obama was not silent. He called the slain officer’s widow on Monday and issued a statement saying he had told Kathleen Goforth “that Michelle and I would keep her and her family in our prayers. I also promised that I would continue to highlight the uncommon bravery that the police show in our communities every single day. They put their lives on the line for our safety.” Obama has made statements of this sort over and over. Vilification this is not.

Over at Fox News, the campaign against Black Lives Matter has become fierce. Bill O’Reilly called the organization a “hate group” and declared: “I’m going to put them out of business.”

Let’s take five steps back. The movement for police reform was not the invention of some leftist claque. It was a response to real and genuinely tragic events. Silencing protesters won’t make anything better.

And some potential solutions don’t even make the political agenda. The easy availability of guns on U.S. streets is a threat to the police and to African Americans in our most violent neighborhoods. Why are those who seek reasonable gun regulations regularly blocked by interests far more powerful than those who demonstrate in our streets?

On April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Robert F. Kennedy — who himself would be fatally shot exactly two months later — said this to the Cleveland City Club:

“Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily — whether it is done in the name of the law or in defiance of the law, by one man or by a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence — whenever we tear at the fabric of our lives which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, whenever we do this, then the whole nation is degraded.”

How much more pain must we endure before we recognize that these words are still true?

By: E. J. Dionne, Jr., Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, September 2, 2015

September 5, 2015 Posted by | African Americans, Law Enforcement, Racism | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Backlash Notes, Cruz Edition”: Climbing On Board The Same Old Twentieth Century Law-And-Order Bandwagon

Ever since the virtual strike of cops in New York and Baltimore in conjunction with protests against police shootings of unarmed African-Americans, I’ve been concerned that on the brink of potential bipartisan action on criminal justice reform we’d see a 1960s-1970s style backlash fed by vote hungry conservative politicians. The recent spikein some forms of violent crime after decades of gradually declining rates struck me as likely to create some ugly racial dynamics as well, or at least “buyer’s remorse” among conservatives for police or criminal justice reform.

With his usual lack of inhibition, Donald Trump was first to get in touch with his inner Frank Rizzo, arguing that even if police were unjustly targeting African-Americans it was important to “give back power to the police” to deal with the “crime wave.”

Now Trump’s buddy Ted Cruz is climbing on board the same old twentieth century law-and-order bandwagon after the shooting of a police officer in Houston (as reported by TPM’s Allegra Kirkland:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggested President Obama bore some of the blame for Friday’s fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy in Houston, Texas. During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Cruz told reporters that “cops across this country are feeling the assault” thanks to the “vilification” of law enforcement by administration officials, the Dallas Morning News reported.

“These are brave heroes who risk their lives keeping us safe,” Cruz said. “And I do think we’re seeing the manifestation of the rhetoric and vilification of law enforcement, of police, that is coming from the president of the United States and it’s coming from senior officials.”

Cruz’s comments come just days after Harris County deputy Darren Goforth was shot 15 times while pumping gas at a Houston Chevron station. No motive has yet been found for the killing, but the alleged shooter, Shannon Miles, has been charged with capital murder.

Local authorities, including Harris County Sherriff Ron Hickman, believe Goforth “was a target because he wore a uniform.”

Cruz suggested President Obama’s condemnation of the fatal shootings of unarmed black teenagers in cities including Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland helped to inflame anti-cop sentiment.

There you have it: express concern about the police shooting black people without cause and you are inciting cop-killers. Yet in the same breath Cruz accuses Obama of inflaming “racial divisions.”

Yeah, it’s feeling mighty 1970 out there.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Post, September 2, 2015

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Law and Order, Police Shootings | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

%d bloggers like this: