Today you are hearing a lot about Hillary, Black lives matter, and super predators.
First, besides my impression that to me the so-called protester was little more than a Bernie supporter attempting to smear Clinton, the absurdity of what she was saying becomes clear when you see the full speech, which I have provided below.
I hear a lot about the Clinton's creation of the incarceration state, but I have never really addressed it here. Why? Because the idea is absurd. For one thing, most of the incarceration is done by the states, not the Federal government. Secondly, the federal law that everyone points to was coming out of an era of increased drug and gang activity, that had everyone concerned, especially the Black community, who was and still is bearing the brunt of the violence. Finally, it was Congress that blocked changes to the sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine, by an overwhelming majority.
" Today, both blacks and whites are convinced that in neighborhoods with heavy drug traffic, more law enforcement - and less drug-related police corruption - are essential." - "Drug trade in the inner city: trying to halt a cause of crime"
I will not list here the numerous respected community leaders and elected officials that were demanding action, going so far as to stage protests, even hunger strikes, to get action on crime. These people have all been forgotten, along with our history, to make way for yet another disconnected and self-interested orgy of finger pointing that does absolutely nothing to address public policy or community issues.
"It's the government's job to protect the general public and the government's not doing that," says Dr. David Horton, a sociology professor at the University of Texas and St. Edwards University.
Beyond all that, lost in the out-of-context focus on one term, is the rest of Clinton's speech during which she called for several liberal initiatives, like a higher minimum wage, money for people to go to college, and community policing. Like so many allegations against Hillary Clinton, a closer look quickly reveals this to be just another disgusting smear. Separately from all this, last night's incident raises serious questions about the state of the protest movement in this country. Disruption is a powerful, important, and necessary tactic. But when its use becomes more about attention seeking than making change, and more about conflict than progress, it becomes a caricature and a detriment to its own cause. I don't want to paint an entire movement with one broad brush, but we have been seeing more and more of this sort of defective protest and squandered opportunity from #blacklivesmatter. And it is sad and disappointing.
It started backstage at a Clinton event when activists met with Hillary Clinton, and were able to address their concerns face to face with one of the most powerful women activists in the world. Watch the video. It quickly becomes clear that their focus is a litany of complaints and criticisms, even after Clinton practically begs them for steps she can take to help their cause.
It continued when BLM activists demanded from the DNC a debate focused on Black issues, going so far as to start a petition and issue demands. At the time, seeing the movement and its efforts being squandered, I messaged them. If the candidates themselves, and significant numbers of their supports can not get the DNC to add a debate, there was absolutely no chance that one would be added for BLM. I pleaded with them to organize a town hall. It would be a better format, it would be widely supported, and it would be a win for the movement, instead of setting the movement up to publicly lose a confrontation they never had a chance of winning. As you now know, we ended up with neither a debate or a town hall on these issues. Latinos did have one, sponsored in part by Telemundo.
The decay continued when Aislinn Pulley, who co-founded Black Lives Matter: Chicago, refused to attend a White House event, during Black History Month, to discuss criminal justice reform. Instead of seizing the opportunity to meet with other national leaders and address Black issues face to face with the President, she dismissed the event as a "photo-op", instead publishing an article criticizing the event that she did not attend and knew nothing about.
Which brings us to last night's event. I had some vague memory of the term 'super predator' but could not recall what the term was about, and did not understand the issue the protester was trying to highlight. "Bring them to heel" is certainly an evocative turn of phrase. As someone who is naturally curious, I wanted to know more, to understand the issue, to see what Clinton had to say. However, as is now sadly typical, the supposed actual issue would never be addressed. Despite Clinton offering several times, "OK, we can talk about it", the protester refused to engage, refused to do little more than rant in a barely coherent fashion, and tried to absurdly tie one speech, that likely happened before she was born, to her personal circumstance today, as a student who was able to pay $500 to attend a political event. So instead of the issue being aired, with the opportunity to have the most interested players share their positions on the spot, I was left on my own with google.
Which leads me to the conclusion that the protester was uninformed, and had absolutely no understanding of the issue she was protesting. All she had was a sign and a rant.
Black Lives Matter was a valuable, important movement. It started a fire and changed the national conversation in necessary ways. But every action can't be a protest action. If direct action never leads to change or benefits to the causes it promotes, then what is the point? We have seen time and time again throughout history that protest for protest's sake leads nowhere except to the death of a movement. We have a glaring example with Occupy Wall Street. So now we have two great movements, that actually are still protesting through direct action, and the country, the media, and political leadership has moved on.
We are all granted only so many years on this Earth. People die. Movements die. Political winds change. Endless protest is no more appealing than endless war. Movements must seize the moment to advocate for specific changes to advance their cause, to improve lives. People die. Few are willing to sacrifice their limited time on the altar of disruption without end.