published Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Start anew with Ferguson

Even those people who didn't vote for Barack Obama in 2008 had hoped some things about race relations might change for the better.

The national media, who championed his election, crowed that he would be the first post-racial president, that his mere presence in office would tamp down racial strife in the country, that his soaring leadership would overcome any differences.

Some of us who didn't believe one man could change all that overnight held a more realistic, hopeful view -- that President Obama could use his election as the first black president to be a father or big brother to young black men across the country who lived for gun violence, who clung to gangs to get the love they never found at home and who killed each other in numbers that grew each year.

If a message to stop warring brother against brother became an overarching theme, if he touched on it everywhere he went, if he spun a companion message of the possibility of hope and change and a better life, then after four or eight years, if things had changed for young black men, then policy issues on which we had disagreements with him would at least be tempered.

Sad to say, of course, that Obama did not follow that line of thinking. While he has broached the subject occasionally during more than five and a half years in office, he has not made these young men a priority. So black-on-black gun crime, black unemployment and black gang involvement remain unacceptably high.

Which brings us to Ferguson, Mo., where a personal visit to the St. Louis suburb to call for calm from all parties after a young black man was shot by a white policeman and where a re-start to better race relations in general might have been crafted.

Instead, Obama interrupted his vacation long enough to return to Washington, D.C., last week for a brief statement about the Middle East, then headed back to the links on Martha's Vineyard.

In his stead, he sent his divisive attorney general, Eric Holder, who proceeded to tell already agitated residents about his perception of being profiled and "how angry I was."

That came in the wake of the arrival of the usual helpful guests, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who fan racial flames with gasoline. To wit, Jackson called the Ferguson shooting a "state execution," and Sharpton said police were "at war with ... citizens."

The problem is, as the days roll by since Michael Brown's death, the truth looks less and less like what Jackson, Sharpton and protesters who arrived from New York, California, Texas, Illinois, Alabama and Iowa maintain it was.

Two autopsies suggest the young man was shot from the front, not in the back as he supposedly ran from the police officer, as had been claimed. And now more sources are coming forward, backing the officer's statements that Brown had tried to grab his service revolver and punched him in the face.

Investigations, if not already tainted, eventually may sort out the truth. But the incident was another lost opportunity for Obama to play a role that only the first black president could play.

History, though, shows the president has been unwilling to make measured comments over similar incidents.

In 2009, when black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested while trying to break into his own house, the president admitted he knew none of the facts but proclaimed "the Cambridge [Mass.] police acted stupidly."

And in 2012, after black teenager Trayvon Martin was shot in Sanford, Fla., he opined that "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago," and "if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."

Mr. President, it's still not too late. Put up your putter, go to Missouri and start a healing conversation. Don't empathize, don't accuse. Say you want the facts to come out, wherever they lead.

Then begin a strategy that marks your last two years in which black-on-black shootings -- there were 26 in your home of Chicago alone on the weekend Brown was shot -- decline because the black man in the White House has made it his priority. It could be

your legacy.

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LibDem said...

Finally someone with the courage to say this is President Obama's fault because he hasn't been black enough.

August 22, 2014 at 9:49 a.m.

BO has never been "down with the struggle". He's an elitist who happens to have a white mother and a black father. He cares more about golf than he does about really addressing issues. He comes across as detached and aloof. I think he has others do his dirty work for him. He behaves as if he's not president and that nothing is happening on his watch.

August 22, 2014 at 10:58 a.m.
Ki said...

Coop, you have written some dumb jazz caca at times, but this one trumps all the others. Do you hold Nixon and Ford responsible for the murderous reign committed by serial killer ted Bundy? Ted Bundy, who would have likely ran for president at some point if he hadn't been caught? And what does electing a black man to the white house have to do with ending racial bigotry in America? If anything it brought all the racism once hidden under a rock out into the open. There's been more open and unchecked racism, primarily against blacks, than there was in the segregated/pre-civil rights era that existed across the nation. The black man in the white house just allowed racism and racist hatred a level of comfort to be openly expressed and acted upon some once struggled to downplay or pretend the elephant had left the room. And every time that black-dude in the white house does something or doesn't do something to the dislike of some, some black person somewhere in america is made to suffer and pay a high price, because the racists can't openly get to the black dude in the white house, so they go after the closest thing to him. 'nuf said!

August 22, 2014 at 11:36 a.m.
Ki said...

This just in' da coop. Darren Wilson did not! suffer a broken eye socket, according to CNN reporter Don Lemon and as it was originally reported on faux news by Hollie McKay who cited some top brass at Ferguson police dept as her source.

August 22, 2014 at 9:57 p.m.
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