Night and day is one way to describe the change in Ferguson, Missouri. For five days, following the alleged execution of an unarmed teenager by a cowardly, local policeman, the incorporated town of Ferguson morphed from a quiet, suburban neighborhood, possibly like yours with families, schools and churches, into a war zone at night that could have been mistaken for another day of rage in Gaza.
Speaking Thursday night at a meeting of clergy, community members, and media from around the world, Governor Jeremiah Wilson “Jay” Nixon told the audience that "you all will see a different tone" in law enforcement's response to the demonstrations in the town of Ferguson tonight. In response to numerous questions from reporters yesterday, when asked for specific answers to questions like the name of the officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, Gov. Nixon repeatedly answered : “Today’s today, tomorrow is tomorrow.” The Missouri governor went on to say the Bill of Rights gives the people "the right speak truth to power" and "we will work to live out those rights."
“Jay Nixon is no stranger to racial controversy. Despite being a Democrat, his policies in the past regarding race have been compared to the current ostensible Republican ethos of exclusion and maintaining the status quo. In 1990, as State Attorney General, Nixon filed a motion in district court seeking to end St. Louis' school desegregation program. During that time, black students from the city were being bused to white districts elsewhere in St. Louis County, part of a 12-year-old effort to decrease the racial homogenization of the state's education system. Nixon argued that the expense of the program wasn't worth it.
Since becoming governor, Jay Nixon has taken a moderate posture from the state office. His many years in politics have taught him how to play on both sides of the street. As the case around Michael Brown and the Ferguson Police move through the criminal justice system, all eyes will be on Gov. Nixon to see if he now has the integrity his critics say he often lacks.