How to Show That Black Lives Really Matter
Hillary just wants laws, Rubio wants to show that Liberty is the way.
It seems like the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest is simply a problem for the Left. When a group of protesters jump up to interrupt the likes of Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders because their stances are not progressive enough, it appears they have placed themselves on the fringes of public debate.
Yet the movement that began as a response to the controversial deaths of Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray and Michael Brown has tried to keep the issue of criminal justice reform, the fight against racism and the plight of many black communities in the forum of public debate. In that lies an opportunity: What if conservatives could provide answers to these policy questions?
As they did with the Sanders campaign, BLM protesters tried to interrupt an Aug. 11 New Hampshire event hosted by Hillary Clinton. The group never got past the Clinton machine’s security, though five protesters did secure a private meeting with Clinton after the event.
The conversation with the presumed Democrat nominee fell faster than an email hard drive into the trash.
In one video, Clinton interacts with BLM advocate Julius Jones, who wants some answers from Hillary. It was her husband, after all, who signed criminal justice reform in the 1990s — and apologized for it recently because it was unfair to blacks.
“Now that you know the consequences, what in your heart has changed that will change the direction of this country?” Jones asked.
Per usual, Clinton danced around the subject. She asked what protesters were advocating, not just what they were against. But Jones and four others seemed to be looking for dialogue only — whatever that means.
Jones said, “What I mean to say is that this is and has always been a white problem of violence. … There’s not much that we can do [as black people] to stop the violence against us.”
To that, Clinton replied, “Respectfully, if that is your position, then I will talk only to white people about how we are going to deal with the very real problems.”
Clinton soon laid bare the soul of progressive thought, saying, “Look, I don’t believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate.”
That’s exactly the problem with statism. You will be made to do whatever your leftist overlords say, whether by law or by “allocation of resources” — a.k.a. income redistribution through the tax code. Has there ever been a more revealing statement made by Hillary Clinton?
She talks a big game, but when it comes to actually reaching out to constituents, of gaining the respect of the citizens to come to her seeking a redress of grievances, Clinton falls far short.
Meanwhile, BLM demands things such as the immediate arrest of former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. (Never mind his exoneration by the Obama Justice Department.) They also call for a reduction of the amount of money going to law enforcement at all levels of government. In a post in April, BLM called on North Charleston to cut its police budget by 50%.
Some of these demands are bad policy because there’s no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Law enforcement nationwide provides a service to black and white, rich and poor nationwide. Knowing human nature, a severe cut in police budget would harm poor blacks the most.
Furthermore, The Economist explains, “The view that police officers are mostly murderers, however, runs through the [movement]. … Criticising institutions such as the police, the courts and the prison system is one thing; turning them into the enemy is quite another.”
But when it comes to radical reform, BLM may have found an ideological home with Bernie Sanders. As Jamelle Bouie writes for Salon, he’s the ideological pick, the candidate who has been most open to BLM since it started protesting his events. Furthermore, if Sanders adopts a strong stance on criminal justice reform, combined with his economic record, Bouie writes, “Sanders has built an ambitious plan for tackling racial inequality across American society.”
It’s a grand illusion that Sanders, the self-avowed socialist, has a strong economic policy. In fact, his is the one that created the housing bubble and ensuing economic panic, and then dragged out seven years of sluggish economic “recovery.”
Meanwhile, BLM released a statement Aug. 9 to clarify that the movement is nonpartisan, that it’s not beholden to either party. “[W]e are not controlled by the same political machine we are attempting to hold accountable,” the group said on its website. “In the year leading up to the elections, we are committed to holding all candidates for Office accountable to the needs and dreams of Black people.”
So why not hear what the Republicans have to say?
Marco Rubio appeared on Fox News and made a passionate plea as to why BLM, well, mattered. “It is a fact that in the African-American community around this country, there has been for a number of years now a growing resentment toward how the law enforcement and criminal justice system interacts with the community,” he said, while emphasizing that not all problems “have governmental answers.”
Columnist Star Parker agreed with Rubio’s assessment, adding, “Black Lives Matter is supported by politically savvy left-wing forces who angle to tap into these very real sentiments, exploit them, create disruption in our political processes and in the nation and institutionalize left-wing, anti-American attitudes and policies.”
Democrat presidential candidates are struggling with talking about the demands made by BLM. So far, they have only lectured the movement from public forums to private meetings. Republicans have a real opportunity, though, to make the case that Liberty, not more government, will better the lives of black citizens.