#BlackLivesMatter activists are drawing attention to a blind spot for Democrats. Meanwhile, the GOP WHannabes debate when to attack Iran. (More)
“Racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality”
In a Facebook forum yesterday, Hillary Clinton responded to protests this weekend at Netroots Nation:
Black lives matter. Everyone in this country should stand firmly behind that. We need to acknowledge some hard truths about race and justice in this country, and one of those hard truths is that that racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality. Black people across America still experience racism every day. Since this campaign started, I’ve been talking about the work we must do to address the systemic inequities that persist in education, in economic opportunity, in our justice system. But we have to do more than talk – we have to take action. For example – we should make sure every police department in the US has body cameras. We should provide alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders. We should invest in early childhood education for every child. We should fight for voting rights and universal voter registration. You will continue to hear me talking about these issues throughout this campaign and pushing for real solutions. -H
Vox’s Dara Lind noted that Clinton had two days to prepare her answer, and #BlackLivesMatter organizer Deray McKesson tweeted that Clinton should have been at Netroots Nation, although Clinton declared “Yes, black lives matter” seven months ago in New York, and her first major policy speech focused on structural racism, police violence, and prison reform.
The protests were not simply about the Democratic primary. As Lind explained at Vox, and Sabrina Hersi Issa wrote at the Guardian, these protests are about forcing the progressive movement “to reckon with structural racism: its role in enabling it and its moral responsibility to actively dismantle it.” That should start with the party apparatus itself, as Lind wrote in another Vox article:
Democratic Party voters are racially diverse. But the party’s upper echelons don’t always represent that. And neither do the people getting the party’s hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contracts.
Lind notes that 44% of President Obama’s voters were racial minorities, yet in 2010 and 2012 less than 2% of the Democratic Party’s contracts were awarded to minority-owned businesses.
Perhaps if our party’s leaders, staff, and consultants mirrored the 21st Century Coalition – rather an old boys’ club – we wouldn’t need protesters to make our candidates confront racial injustice. Until then, I’ll second Chris Savage’s eloquent defense of the protests:
Finally, I have read comments suggesting that this protest somehow hurts Democrats or the #BlackLivesMatter movement or the #SayHerName movement and divides us. These protesters, we’re told, should be more respectful and know their place. I reject this with the core of my progressive belief system. No significant social change in this country has EVER happened without disruptive action. From the courageous activists in the ACT-UP movement to civil rights demonstrators and beyond, every major cultural shift took place using disruption tactics and claiming a space for communicating when no space existed. If we cannot get our own allies to address important issues like police brutality and lethality, how can we expect change to happen? The notion of “respectability politics” is one that should be rejected by progressives in this situation and if you’re not rejecting it loudly, you should take a very hard look at yourself and ask why not. Because there is a strong likelihood that you are jaded by your own white privilege or your participation in the cult of personality surrounding your candidate.
And, yes, Hillary Clinton should be held accountable, as well. And, unless I miss my guess, she very much will be.
“Iran will either stop, or we will stop them”
Meanwhile, the GOP WHannabes debated when to attack Iran, with Scott Walker insisting:
It’s very possible that the next president could be called on to take aggressive actions, including military actions, on their very first day in office, and I don’t want a president who is not prepared to act on day one.
Donald Trump wanted to bomb Iran back in 2007 and, while he insists he could negotiate a better deal, he’s displayed a habit of doubling down when challenged. It’s not hard to guess how a President Trump would respond if Iranian leaders rejected his “You’re fired!” approach to negotiation.
And then there’s Ted Cruz, who declared his position Sunday in a speech to the Zionist Organization of America:
What would real presidential leadership look like? A real president … would stand up and say on the world stage: Under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Iran will either stop, or we will stop them.
Perhaps he should read the first paragraph of the agreement signed in Geneva, which concludes:
Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop, or acquire any nuclear weapons.
Maybe that would be stronger if a President Cruz said it “on the world stage.” Or maybe he and the other GOP WHannabes just want to sound like warriors.
Good day and good nuts
Photo Credit: Joe Raedle (Getty Images)