Month: July 2016

  • Politics (and the economy): ALREADY rigged

    I promised I'd next be arguing that "law enforcement" and "Black Lives Matter" activists need to stand side by side, publicly and loudly, in order to quash the wave of "black on cop" and "cop on black" shootings that seem to be engulfing the country.  Yeah, it seems to be only three times a week lately (note:  possible sarcasm there) but once a year is way more than too much already.

    But I'll leave it at that.  Partly because I've already said what I need to say, and partly because I want to address the latest hot political news:  according to WikiLeaks, Democratic National Committeepersons sent out at least 20,000 internal emails in an attempt to sabotage Bernie Sanders' primary campaign against Hillary Clinton.

    Big shock.  The system is rigged.

    No, it's not a shock.  We already knew that politics is rigged, and the economy, too, for that matter.  Sanders never had a chance, because of the rigging.  That same rigging favored Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in 2008, but Obama had sufficient talent, organizational skills, charisma, and more.  Sanders had none of those advantages.

    Heck, Sanders isn't (or at least wasn't, until and unless he had to join the party to be eligible for its primaries and caucuses) a Democrat.  So complaining that the party was rigged against him seems just a little weird.

    Then there's Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  I confess there are a few things I like about her.  I agree with her on "the issues."  And I like that when a reporter asks her a question, she answers it most of the time.  And when, like all politicians, she wants to avoid answering, she at least smiles when she gives a stock, canned, phony answer, so that the reporter can give up quickly and move on to something else.

    But Debbie is also one of those people who are going to do what they want, regardless of rules.  I know that from personal experience.  We both went to the 2004 Democratic state convention in Florida.  Because there were delegates to the convention in favor of various candidates, the first day of speeches were supposed to be free of favoritism toward any one candidate.  Debbie flouted that rule.  (And she and I had a personal discussion about the flouting afterward.)

    So none of this news about her being behind this latest email scandal surprises me in the least.

    (Hillary's not big on obeying rules her own self.  But I have to vote for her because she's the only reasonable choice being offered.  Voting for a third-party candidate is wasting a vote, especially when the stakes are this high.)

    I remain optimistic that the current flap will subside, and that the Democrats will coalesce in Philadelphia this week.

  • "Black Lives Matter" and "All Lives Matter"

    I changed "vs." to "and" in the title because I didn't want the misunderstanding that "conflict" is any part of my thinking.

    What this essay is about is the fact that when some people say "All Lives Matter" in reply to any conversation about "Black Lives Matter," they mean no harm.  They simply mean that all lives matter and black lives are not the only lives that matter.  We "Black Lives Matter" people simply reply, "Of course, all lives matter."  The name "Black Lives Matter" was chosen to emphasize that a few (very few) cops are killing black citizens AS IF black lives don't matter as much as other lives.  And that, obviously, is wrong-headed thinking on the part of those very few bad apples that every police force (or any other group of people) has.  A few bad apples in every barrel..  Of course.

    And there are also some people who say "All Lives Matter" and they DO mean harm.  I'm talking about the racists who defiled the sign in front of our Unitarian Universalist Church.  They scrawled "All Lives Matter" over our "Black Lives Matter" wording not innocently but meanly.  We have a lot of rednecks here in Indian River County in Florida.  I met them while campaigning for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.  And we have a lot of vehicles driving around displaying confederate flags and those drivers are delivering a message and it isn't a pretty message.

    I hope I said all that clearly enough.  I intend, in my next post, to address the need for "Black Lives Matter" folks to stand side by side, publicly and loudly, with supporters of law enforcement personnel.  I'm in both groups.  Sadly, some people are not.  And that's not to criticize. It's simply to state a fact.

  • Police Murders

    I noted with mixed satisfaction today articles by two black writers:

    Trey Ellis http://www.huffingtonpost.com/trey-ellis/the-police-hunting-and-mu_b_10859868.html

    Roxane Gay http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/07/opinion/alton-sterling-and-when-black-lives-stop-mattering.html?_r=0

    The murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were indeed tragic, avoidable, inexcusable, and outrageous.  The killers are unfit for careers in law enforcement.  I believe that only about 99%, because I don't know all of the facts of either killing.  But it seems highly probable that neither killer had justifiable reason to fear harm to himself.

    However, I don't agree with Rev. Al Sharpton that jail time is necessarily appropriate for either officer.  It's tough being a policeman, especially when encountering an armed citizen who is not being compliant.  It's obvious from the video that Sterling was not being compliant.  Castile apparently was even less deserving of being killed, but in his case, it seems entirely possible that neither he nor the officer followed proper protocol.

    When you're armed with a deadly weapon, as Castile was, it's imperative to make it clear to the officer that he is in no danger.  Castile immediately admitted he had a gun, but then apparently he reached into a pocket to pull out a driver's license instead of asking the officer how he should proceed.  And the officer should not have fired a gun into Castile's body until visibly seeing a gun (a fact I gleaned from hearing an interview on All Things Considered earlier today).

    I have more to say but Barbara just came home.  It's nearing 9 p.m., our bedtime.  More later.