When I sat down to write this last night, Martin O’Malley, feeling duty-bound as former mayor, was the only presidential candidate to address the rioting in Baltimore. I get up this morning and find them all jockeying to be least offensive in lamenting violence they don’t dare condemn. Only the president was unequivocally condemnatory of the violence–right before his usual spin-move from that to how it all reiterates the need for more progressive policy:
“If our society really wanted to solve the problem,we could. It’s just that it would require everybody saying this is important. This is significant. And that we don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns.”
Welcome to the underside of the bus, CVS! Say hi to Grandma and the rest of white America!
The president said attention must be paid to the rioters’ demands. Hillary offered a prayer. Rand Paul spit up some libertarian baby food, criminal justice system flavor. Looks the same on his bib as it did in the little jar. He assured us it isn’t racial. Jeb Bush, presumably speaking in English, directed his passive-aggression against the president:
“[Obama] could be such an eloquent spokesman to heal wounds and to be a constructive force. I’m sure he realizes that and I’m pretty confident he will step up,” Bush told reporters in San Juan, Puerto Rico…
In mentioning Obama, Jeb may be furtively trying to identify himself as the implicit white candidate, and that represents as far as anyone is willing to go in recognizing white America’s legitimate concern with the barbarous state of black America. Anything more would be denounced as demagogy, while the president’s overt demagogy through the Justice Department preceding this season of violence is equally off-limits. That’s one hell of an advantage Obama plays with.
What’s striking is how, a half-century after the sixties’ race riots upon which these now are modelled, unequivocal condemnation of such violence is no longer possible. No Republican will dare stand up as the law and order candidate in solidarity with a white America–really a non-black America–that is directly targeted by an unreasoning black mob. Combined with big money’s complete takeover of presidential electionsit’s hard not to declare American democracy officially over.