August 19, 2014

Dear liberals, dear minorities: Sometimes Washington IS the problem

Example No. 1 is Ferguson, Missouri. A blogger at Daily Kos tried to "blame the system," in essence, for low black turnout at local elections, because they're not held on general election day or even primary election.

Setting aside the legitimate issue of how this would save municipalities and school districts money, the main flip side argument is to keep local government elections from getting buried miles and miles downballot. It's still a good one.

As for generally lower minority turnout for municipal and school district elections, not just in Ferguson, but much of the nation? Blame the modern Democratic establishment, modern minority civil rights establishment, and unintended fallout of the Great Society, if you will.

Yes, per Slate, in places like Ferguson, black turnout may be lower because there, blacks are younger and more transient than whites. BUT, nationally, in presidential elections, black turnout has caught up to white.

A Kossack has noted that municipal elections are in April. And?

Yes, minorities tend to turn out in lesser numbers for elections that aren't on the primary or general election cycle. They tend to turn out less on non-Presidential years, for that matter. Texas Hispanics are Example No. 1. This isn't racism; rather, it's municipalities trying to draw attention to these local elections.

Ferguson, Missouri, and the Ferguson school district may not cut AFDC checks or hand out free school lunches, but the city hires police officers and makes patrolling decisions, and the school district makes local educational decisions.

That said, let's look at the "electoral eyes on Washington" issue more.

While whites are still a plurality above blacks in all non-middle class entitlements, nonetheless, their percentage of such aid is lower than their percentage of the general population. Please pay attention to the italicized part of the previous sentence.

Tea party stereotypes aside, it's arguable that many lower socioeconomic level minorities have thus become accustomed to turning to Washington first for political answers. And, per what I posted above, this means a fairly large percentage of minorities.

However, Washington is also a large part of the problem in those communities, namely from the "War on Drugs" above all else.

Grenade launchers, and Bradley vehicles or whatever other militarized "rides" police have in Ferguson and many other places? Government surplus, that it encourages local communities to buy. Local communities and county sheriffs justify the buys as part of fighting the "War on Drugs." They have gotten the money needed to buy this stuff, still somewhat pricey at bargain bin rates, through money from asset seizure forfeiture sales from people arrested, but not yet convicted, in the "War on Drugs," at least in the past, though now, Dear Leader's Department of Justice is giving them grant money.

As part of that? No training from the feds on how to use this stuff, unless it's training from the Obama Administration for domestic police to act like the US military abroad toward the media:
Journalists have also been caught up by the police use of weapons. On Monday night, the police aimed directly at a group of photographers and a reporter as they covered the growing protest. One photographer was hit with a rubber bullet. A police officer on Wednesday tossed a tear-gas canister directly at a television crew for Al Jazeera.
Beyond the hardware, there's the issue of who's training U.S. police departments to use this stuff. Namely, the trainers are the same Israeli security forces kneecapping people in Gaza. The same Israeli security forces with whom Clinton and Obama, no less than Bush fils, has been in bed with.

And, while both mainstream political parties bear a fair amount of the shame for this false "war," especially as it affects minorities, more of that shame falls on Democrats.

Black Congressional Democrats like Charles Rangel were among the leaders in pushing for the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.

That sentencing disparity in federal cases, which wound up trickling down to state criminal lesiglation, was passed by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by a Democratic president, Bill Clinton.

Clinton, like his Democratic successor Barack Obama, is a lawyer, and a smart one. Both, including our current constitutional law scholar president, have deliberately and willfully ignored the civil liberties destruction of the "War on Drugs" in general, and above all, its waging in minority communities.

That said, Dear Leader is also being a hypocrite on his stance on reporters, as CJR reminds us.

So, black community activists?

The burden's on you to start telling your interest group constituencies to start thinking local on the political process.

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