Ferguson, MO: GOP wasted opportunity for minority outreach

I honestly don’t know what to say or type at this point.  The statements coming out of the state of Missouri is downright depressing.  I don’t know whether I’m reading too much into what’s being said or whether these politicians are just being outright honest about their views on people who look like me.

First, there’s Matt Wills who is currently the Executive Director for Missouri’s RNC.  In an interview with Breitbart News, he made the following comments about voter registration drives being held in Ferguson, Missouri…

“If that’s not fanning the political flames, I don’t know what is,” Wills said, “I think it’s not only disgusting but completely inappropriate.”

Wills explained that the shooting death of Michael Brown was a tragedy for everyone.

“This is not just a tragedy for the African American community this is a tragedy for the Missouri community as well as the community of what we call America,” he said. “Injecting race into this conversation and into this tragedy, not only is not helpful, but it doesn’t help a continued conversation of justice and peace.”

How and when did registering voters become injecting race into a situation?  When you look at the underlying stories of this incident, Ferguson, Missouri should have been Ground Zero for the GOP to reach out to minorities.  Instead of focusing on their hatred for all things Al Sharpton, the GOP should have been there helping Ferguson residents clean up their streets in the morning after the nightly protests and riots.  At night when the Ferguson residents were standing guard trying to keep looters out of the stores, the GOP could have been standing there with them shoulder to shoulder instead of labeling them all trouble makers because of the actions of a few.  The people of Ferguson have shown they have the “pull yourself up by your bootstrap” mentality that the GOP always talks about.  This would have been the opportune time for the GOP to step in and help them find their bootstraps.

There’s also the Lt. Governor of Missouri, Peter Kinder (R).  In an interview on MSNBC with Ronan Farrow, he actually pinpointed what I just said above.  During the course of the interview, he actually said, ” I am saying, the people of Ferguson, the people of the state of Missouri are crying out for leadership.”  They are indeed crying out for leadership, but instead of stepping in to provide that leadership, Kinder kept talking and ended up sounding tone-deaf to that cry for leadership.

“We do not do justice in America in the streets though,” he argued. “We have legal processes that are set in motion, that are designed after centuries of Anglo-American jurisprudence tradition, they’re designed to protect the rights and liberties of everyone involved.”

“That includes the Brown family, for justice for them and for the community. It also includes the officer who has not yet been charged,” he added. “Our constitutional and our Bill of Rights protections have to be followed here, and we do not do justice in the streets.”

“That’s one of the great advances of Anglo-American civilization, is that that we do not have politicized trials. We let the justice system work it out.”

The last thing that someone should want to discuss or say with Black people upset about the treatment they’re getting from Anglo-Americans is a speech on how Anglo-American civilization is the best thing in the whole wide world.  The problems of Ferguson are because of friction with that Anglo-American civilization and how it operates there.  The last thing a group that’s looking for leadership to help with problems stemming from their bad interactions with some Anglo-Americans want to hear from a potential leader is how great Anglo-American society has been for everyone.  Lt. Governor, you’re not going to get that 3am leadership request phone call, and I’m assuming it’s because you appear to have no idea of what the problems are with the community that is seeking help and leadership.  That’s just a hunch.

Then, there’s the mayor of Ferguson, James Knowles.  In an interview with Tamron Hall, also on MSNBC, he basically pulled an ostrich act.  When Hall asked him about racial division in his city, his response probably fooled no one but himself.

“I don’t believe that’s the case, still. There’s not a racial divide in the city of Ferguson,” the mayor said.

“According to whom?” Hall responded. “Is that your perspective, or do you believe that is the perspective of African-Americans in your community?”

“That is the perspective of all residents in our city, absolutely,” Knowles said.

Really?  No racial divide in Ferguson, Missouri?  The perspective of all residents?  Something tells me that, if NFL Primetime were already showing, the mayor would start off Week #1’s edition of C’Mon Man!

It’s really a shame to see such a golden opportunity squandered by the party that has members who talk about liberating Blacks from the Democratic plantation.  You had your opportunity served up to you on a silver platter, and you whiffed harder than those little leaguers from Tennessee that had to face Mo’ne Davis.

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4 thoughts on “Ferguson, MO: GOP wasted opportunity for minority outreach

  1. I had the same response of “Say what?!!?” when I read of the RNC’s Exec Director for Missouri. Then I saw the mayor on MSNBC and wondered how anyone could be so clueless. I thought maybe, maybe he took that stance because he didn’t want to examine why his office hadn’t taken steps to bridge the divide. That’s being charitable, I suppose, rather like offering a float to a guy flailing about screaming “I’m really an Olympic-class swimmer!”

    It’s not just that people can’t work on a solution as long as they don’t acknowledge there’s a problem. It’s that the people who are so harshly affected by the problem have one less opportunity for hope.

    I think the community can be strengthened through just the kinds of efforts you’ve outlined. But when the community’s off the operating table and done with physical therapy and on to workouts, they’ll remember the people who stood by and said “Problem? What problem? There was a problem?” who now want to say “I’ve been your best friend all this time.”

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    • That’s what I was trying to explain to Jay’s posters about the appeal of Al Sharpton. As toxic as his name is, he’s still going to get invited to places like this because he has always been one to be there to help. Even if his help was a facade, he made people think that he cared.

      People respond differently to criticism, and you can’t apply a one method fits all approach and expect to be successful.

      I would love to go there and help them find their way. I see that some of the residents really want something good for their community. It’s going to be hard when the current leadership doesn’t see a problem or is too blinded to see the pathway forward.

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      • I think the reason the protests have not only continued but escalated is the protesters feel their message has not been received. How can they imagine they’ve made their point when they keep hearing stupid statements like these, when the officer is clearly being protected, when police shoot another man down and it’s all caught on video, when night after night even the peaceful protests are met with tear gas?

        The town leadership could have made this so much easier on themselves if they had asked the FBI for help in investigating, if they had held some town hall meetings and treated the protesters as constituents with a problem rather than as a whole crowd of criminals, if they hadn’t been so eager to smear Michael Brown.

        Vox has had a couple of interesting articles. One showed the video of the mentally disturbed man, Kajieme Powell, being gunned down. I wasn’t disturbed by that shooting when I first heard about it; man with a knife rushes officers yelling, “Shoot me, shoot me,” what else are they gonna do? When you watch the whole tape, see how evident it was that the man was disturbed, see how little threat he posed to other people on the street, see that he walks toward them but doesn’t rush them, it’s less clear cut. The other article was by a college professor who talks about how recent the demographic change in Ferguson is — 20 years ago the town was almost entirely white — and how, robbed of a lot of its tax base, the town got more than a quarter of its budget from fines and so encouraged aggressive policing.

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        • I’ve watched that video several times, and I think he was intentionally trying to provoke the police. The question is whether or not it was suicide by cop or if he thought they wouldn’t shoot.

          The reason I say that is that, right before he approaches the officers, he turned around to look behind him. When he saw people behind him, he moved to his left which changed the directions of the shots. At the time, the officers likely had tunnel vision and never noticed that. It’s a deliberate move that ended up going unnoticed.

          In hindsight, the officers should not have pulled up right on top of his location. With more room, they could have had more time to assess his behavior. That may have led to using less than lethal force and saving his life.

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