When I was involved in the original and only true civil rights movement a lifetime ago, I never dreamed that black and white liberal leaders would still be playing the race card today, half a century later. Call me a naïve idealist but I actually believed that by now racism would be buried in America along with bell-bottom trousers and high-button shoes.
I voted for presidential candidate Barack Obama (once) mainly because I believed that he would be the force that would push the country into that post-racial happy era, when we would all be living calmly together like good brothers and sisters totally ignoring skin color — and considering only the character of our multicolored neighbors.
How wrong I and all of the other idealists of that old movement have been! Racism is worse than I remember it during my long lifetime. That sad fact has pushed me to leave my status as a lifetime liberal Democrat and move to the conservative right. Many of the Republicans make me uncomfortable, but the denizens of my old party scare the hell out of me. I fear the next stupid or racist trick they will pull. And we must admit that too many of them, including President Obama and Attorney General Holder, are capable of pulling both stupid and racist tricks.
I could fill many books with sad examples of such tricks, but a brief look at the agony of Ferguson, Missouri, will serve as a poster child in this connection. When young Michael Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson last August, the matter might have been ignored had race not been involved. But it was and the race hustlers that dominate much of our government and society today came out of the woodwork and proceeded to tear that small city and much of the country apart over the tragic death of this young man.
When I was a federal civil rights official in the sixties, my beat was police brutality and mob violence. On many occasions my investigations confirmed terrible instances of police brutality to black citizens and I so reported on those disturbing facts. Yet in my opinion the number of such events has greatly diminished in recent years. So also racial discrimination in general. Despite the frequently expressed opinions of race hustlers in and out of Washington, I am convinced this is no longer a racist country. Such a public position in today’s political climate earns the exponent the label as a racist. How sad.
When I looked at the objective facts in the recent Ferguson case, I concluded that there was no reason to disbelieve Darren Wilson’s claim that Brown attacked him, that he was in fear of his life from this violent young giant, and that he shot him in self-defense. However, that is not the way in which our president, our attorney general, the mass media, and the most prominent race hustlers, such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, viewed the matter. Because the victim was an unarmed young black man and the police officer was white, this led our government leaders and the mass media to conclude that a racial murder had taken place.
Such was the baleful message sent around the country and the world: America is a racist nation where white cops ruthlessly gun down unarmed young black men, sometimes just for the sport of it. It was a disgrace when this message was sent out by the civilian race hustlers, especially about Ferguson, but it was an even greater disgrace when that lie became the message of our governmental leaders regarding Wilson and Brown. They adopted the fictitious claim by Michael Brown’s partner in crime that Mr. Brown was on his knees with his hands up pleading that Wilson not shoot him.
Attorney General Eric Holder, along with many other federal officials, showed up in Ferguson to attend the massive funeral of Michael Brown. Holder made it clear that he viewed the death as a racial event, that things were going to change, that he was the attorney general and, most important, that he was also a black man. The attorney general visited with the parents of Michael Brown and other African-American citizens and showed his deep concern for their welfare.
However, even though he was the top law enforcement officer in the land, he did not visit with Darren Wilson who had been injured in the course of saving his life and perhaps those of other citizens on that violent day. Wilson’s police career has been ended and his life has been dramatically changed. Indeed, his life remains in danger primarily because of the public attacks on his actions and on his character, which attacks have been led by our top government leaders and also by the mass media.
Months have passed and now the Department of Justice has just issued two reports on Ferguson, which I have read. One is a patient review of a massive amount of investigation on the facts in the Wilson-Brown confrontation. It comes to the conclusion that Officer Darren Wilson’s actions were fully justified, that the popular “hands-up don’t shoot” scenario was a complete fiction, and that no further action would be taken by the civil rights officials of the DOJ. (Of course, earlier a local grand jury had also concluded that Wilson was innocent of any violation of state law.) The dramatic federal conclusion received very little comment from the attorney general or our president. Indeed, Mr. Obama explained in a speech that the decision was a close call because there was no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Wilson violated the law. This statement was another distortion of the truth in this matter. There was no doubt that Wilson was innocent of any criminal violation. However, no official of the Obama of the Obama administration offered an apology to Mr. Wilson for the lies that were promulgated about him and for ending his career — nor for painting what may be an indelible target on his back.
The other DOJ report received a great deal of attention because it set out in great details the alleged racial violations perpetrated by Ferguson governmental official including police officers. Because there seemed to be little attempt to confirm the allegations in the report with independent evidence, as an experienced investigator of claims of racial bias, I view many of the claims in this report with suspicion. However, if these reports turn out to be true and evidence of civil rights violations is confirmed, then actions against the offenders must be taken. Some Ferguson officials, including the police chief, have already resigned.
Moreover, in the wake of the report more demonstrations have already erupted. In the course of one of them, one local black man, who may have been a demonstrator, shot two local police officers who were guarding the event. Fortunately, the officers seem to be recovering.
It is fair to conclude that the federal government, led by Messrs. Obama and Holder, made a bad situation worse. Much of the ensuing racial violence in Ferguson and around the country in recent months can be laid at their doors.
All of this leads to the title of my recent book: The Dream Betrayed: Racial Absurdities in Obama’s America. Of course, the dream was that by now race would not be a disabling element in American life.
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