When Michael Brown was killed and Ferguson erupted, Barack Obama had an opportunity to put on the mantle of the President of the United States and lead the nation “forward” through a crucial crossroads.
Obama is not a leader, he is merely a politician. Eric Holder stated, “In things racial we have always been and, I believe we continue to be, essentially, a nation of cowards.” Not only was Holder projecting, but he was also just a bit off the mark. What he meant was liars.
If Obama were President of the United States, rather than merely a politician holding the office, he would have spoken out on behalf of the nation, instead he merely reinforced the political mantra of his party and ideology.
What would have been so hard or so wrong with (warning wordy mock speech approaching)…
“My fellow Americans.
What is happening in Ferguson right now is troubling. People have jumped to conclusions and assumptions about an officer’s conduct based solely on deep seeded bias and prejudice. People are picking and then tending an old wound as if it happened yesterday.
There is currently no evidence that the shooting of Michael Brown is a civil rights violation or in any way racially inspired. There is no evidence that the contrasting races of Michael Brown and the officer who shot him is anything more than a coincidence.
According to the evidence at hand, Michael Brown fit the description of a suspect involved in a crime. It is reasonable that this might draw the officer’s attention, regardless of Brown’s race. When the officer first noticed Brown, Brown and another young man were walking down the center of the street; behavior the officer is obligated to address; again, regardless of race.
There are those who would argue the officer ONLY took interest because Michael Brown was black, and would not have cared had he been white. While I cannot say for certain what the officer’s motivation was, I CAN say with absolute certainty that the officer had a mandate to address Michael Brown, and I CAN say with absolute certainty that I would have wanted…DEMANDED that the officer do so.
I can also be fairly certain that members of the Ferguson community would want the officer to dutifully fulfill his mandate on their behalf. So what choice did the officer have but to address Michael Brown?
So I can be absolutely certain that anyone who says Michael Brown’s race influenced the officer’s decision to address him…ANYONE….EVERYONE….is currently making an ill-informed assumption…a foolish assumption…an assumption that is fueling protesters and violence in Ferguson.
We must wait for the evidence.
Now there are those who would concede the officer had a mandate and a just cause for approaching Michael Brown, but they would argue that how the officer handled Michael Brown was influenced by race. These people contend that Michael Brown is only dead because he is black. The officer only pulled the trigger because Michael Brown is black.
Again, there is currently no evidence that this is a civil rights violation or in any way racially inspired. There is no evidence that the contrasting races of Michael Brown and the officer who shot him is anything more than a coincidence.
According to ALL accounts, there was noncompliance from Michael Brown and there was an altercation that ultimately ended in Brown’s death; however, no account offers race as anything more than a physically apparent variable…something you can see with your eyes. Are we to assume…and pre-judge…that because race is visually apparent, it is the chief concern?
Such assumptions are themselves rooted in ignorance, prejudice, and hatred of the basest sort…rooted in racism.
Are we to take up the mantle of racism, justified by the fall of Michael Brown, whom we see as one of our own…based solely on his skin color?
Is not the Officer also one of our own? Is he not also a member of our community? What if he had fallen, instead of Michael Brown? How would race fit in that scenario?
If a young black man commits a crime, we rightfully decry mention of his race as more than coincidence. Why in this case, in the absence of evidence, would we not do the same thing and rightfully decry mention of race as more than coincidence?
We cannot pick and choose when to be colorblind; when to be equals. Racism is evil, and if it is ever going to die, we must resist the temptation to revive it, even for our assumed benefit. If racism exists at the heart of Michael Brown’s death, it absolutely has no place at the heart of his defense.
If we shroud these events in the shadow of racism, we will NEVER know the truth, and in our ignorance, our response to this tragic event will be a wild, chaotic, destructive, and fruitless cry that brings further tragedy to our communities in the forms of distrust, anger, and violence. And just as such premature and misguided fury has already begun to further embroil Ferguson, so will it ravage the rest of our great nation.
I do not know Michael Brown, but under the circumstances, to assume anything about him…his guilt or his innocence…strictly because he’s black and the officer is white is to judge both men by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character. A great American, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., died that we, as a unified nation of equals, might know and be better than that.
Until credible evidence suggests otherwise, the issue at hand in this case is whether the officer acted properly when he assessed an unarmed assailant to be a lethal threat warranting the lethal force that ultimately took that assailant’s life.
It is the officer’s duty and responsibility to make that call. As we gave the officer that authority in trust, and we gave it to him for a reason. We must afford the officer that same trust when he exercises that authority.
And while we do indeed trust the officer, it is our duty to review the officer’s conduct and verify that trust has not been misplaced. Michael Brown’s death is indeed cause for us to investigate and scrutinize; however, his death is not in and of itself evidence of the officer’s misconduct.
So, I urge genuine protesters in Ferguson to restrain themselves for the moment, and let due process, the heart of our nation’s judicial system, run its course. The evidence must be reviewed, and if misconduct is proven, there will be disciplinary and punitive action taken.
Do not waste your energy protesting ONLY on assumptions of guilt, accusations of impropriety, and the media fueled idea of a racist conspiracy against the black community. Use wisdom and patience, so that if your righteous fury must be unleashed, you can choose the right time, the right place, and the right cause. Such focused energy would be easily discernible and far more productive than the chaos of riots and looting going on in Ferguson right now.
As for the rioters, looters, and other criminal elements currently ravaging Ferguson: It is clear Michael Brown’s death is merely a veil behind which you hide your selfish and malicious intent to pillage and plunder the resources of that already shaken community. I implore would-be leaders of the Ferguson community to unequivocally discern and denounce such heinous and despicable activity.
We need to make our first priority unity and order, especially in the community of Ferguson. I beg all upstanding and law-abiding members of the community of Ferguson to stand with the police, as I vow to you the police stand with you, and together you can repel the current criminal forces destroying any hope of peace or progress in your community.
Together with the police you can restore order and bring unity to your community; and if the officer who shot Michael Brown did so without cause, he will be held accountable. Regardless of the outcome, this is an opportunity for the community and the police department to grow closer, rather than further apart, but make no mistake you will have to choose which course to take.
This is not an issue of racism, it is an issue of community. If we want to move forward, we must keep our eye on the real issue and actively invest in community, here and now, when it’s toughest…when it’s needed most.
Thank you, and God bless the United States of America.”
What would have been so wrong with that message (besides the fact it would not work as a smarky or catchy Tweet)? It’s the actual truth.
It would have given a clear and productive direction to the community of Ferguson and it would have left the door open for the system to serve the black community. More accurately, it would have left the door open for the black community to recognize the system is not against them, even if one individual within the system might happen to be. Why wouldn't Obama want to do that?
Why wouldn't Obama want to dispel the counterproductive narrative of a racist conspiracy against black America?
Obama definitely hedged his political bets, and he has empowered the “victims” within the black community, but he has yet to step up and shed the racial cowardice and lies that attempt to disenfranchise the whole of black America. He has yet to embrace the true responsibility of the office of the President.
He has yet to lead.