The issue of race in America is a no-win issue for politicians. This is never more the case than with President Obama. In three separate cases he has interjected the Presidency into the discussion. Twice that has led to more fire than resolution. That latest situation, the death of Michael Brown, is turning out to be no different.
Currently there is controversy over the Ferguson, MO, shooting. The controversy is not about the crime potentially committed by Michael Brown before his death. Nor should the controversy be about the alleged altercation with police that factored into shots being fired. Because unarmed criminals should not be killed by police in the street. Even more the case if that criminal, or just a citizen, surrenders. Though there is confusion on if in this case Mr. Brown did surrender (and at what point) as a preliminary autopsy report released August 17, 2014 raises questions.
But we are not discussing the unknown and unresolved questions on how or why the Brown shooting took place. That investigation is underway, and the answers will come out over time. We are looking at why the President is involved.
Like in the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr., and the death of Trayvon Martin, there is huge media interest in this story of Michael Brown. The media is once again alternating on who the hero and villain of the story may be. But once more President Obama has entered the fray. Why?
In January 2009, Oscar Grant was killed by a police officer at a BART train station in Oakland. Multiple videos of the event showed the cold-blooded murder of Grant, as he lay on the ground with his hands behind his back. This led to days of rioting, a small yet national coverage in the news media (mostly about the rioting), police attempts to minimize the shooting before ultimately firing Officer Mehserle. It would ultimately lead to jail for Mr. Mehserle.
There was no comment from the future President of the nation. Not in January after the event and the riots. Not in the months after the event as evidence piled up showing the incident to be murder. Not after the trial finding Officer Mehserle guilty - of involuntary manslaughter that contradicts eyewitness and video evidence of the incident. In fact, it was not until additional riots occurred July 2010, based on the incredulous verdict, that the Department of Justice suggested a review (which has apparently gone nowhere).
There are other cases that are similar. As covered by a site of M V Consulting Inc. which we quote,
Just like Amidou Diallo (41 shots), like Sean Bell (50 shots), like Oscar Grant (1 shot while he laid face down on the ground), like Robbie Tolan (1 shot as he was on his knees)...
Each time, President Obama was silent. Even as riots raged, he said nothing. Generally these incidents either failed to get the attention of the DOJ, or even when they did the result was nonexistent.
Again we must ask why President Obama is suddenly so involved in the case. Even pressing the DOJ to actively take part even while an initial investigation is underway to learn the facts of the case. What is different?
What we can discern is that President Obama waded into the Gates incident, without information on the situation, and got burned. Given the President's public persona, and the opportunity with the Martin case, President Obama waded in again - raising the levels of anger and animosity in the case.
Is this Brown case an attempt to finally address the issue of police violence towards people of color that the President thinks he can call a universal win? Is it an attempt to have a very public issue finally go into the historical record as a victory for the President, justifying the promises of a post-racial America? Or was the President just shamed into action. As reported by Time Magazine
On Sunday night, as the situation on the ground hit new lows, [President Obama] and First Lady Michelle Obama were enjoying a jazz concert followed by dinner on Martha’s Vineyard, where they were vacationing.
Whatever the case, one thing is becoming clear. The Obama Administration domestic policy with regard to race is as incomprehensible and incoherent as it is with international (Middle East specifically) policy. A platform that is neither complimentary nor beneficial to anyone in the United States. Some would even say that the best thing, given the apparent scatter-shot approach, might have been the President staying out of local events and allowing them to resolve on their own.
America deserves an honest and objective discussion on police violence, especially against people of color. America deserves a direct conversation about racism, which continues to be alive and well in the post-Obama era against all the predictions otherwise. As Victor Davis Hanson stated in his December 2012 article,
Stirring up the pot for short-term political gain in a multiracial society is abjectly insane.