Punk Politics: Why no presidential hopefuls showed up at The Jena 6 rally
Barack Obama came out in support of The Jena 6; he was the first to do so publicly. Hillary Clinton made a statement praising Mychal Bell’s case being thrown out. John Edwards made a statement on the issue. So on the surface, it looks like the democratic presidential wannabes are on the record here.
Let me tell you why this not only insufficient, but it is another example of [democratic] politicians’ lack of backbone on the issues that matter in America.
In case you forgot, this week should have reminded you that race not only matters in this country, but that it is the most passionate issue that people deal with on the regular. The funny thing is that a leader should care about the things that those they lead care about; a leader should act on issues that those they lead want action on; a leader should be an example to those that they lead, or wish to lead
The example set by these prospective leaders is this:
- Don’t be bold
Don’t take a risk on an issue that people care about. If you must speak out, do so in passive language that can easily be triangulated into a baseless stance.
- Don’t show up on game day
This event was honestly too easy. Simply showing up would have been enough to basically ensure the votes of the attendees of this rally. Showing up would also physically, tangibly demonstrate some non-lip-service level of support for a return to logical, fair criminal justice. I bet if this was in IL, Sen. Obama would have been there; I bet if this was in NC, Sen. Edwards would have shown up; I bet if this was in NY, Sen. Clinton would have understood that political necessity of being present at such an event.
- Don’t show how you’ll be different
One candidate choosing to stand in solidarity with demonstrators yesterday would have demonstrated an understanding of both the gravity of the state of race relations in this city/state/country, but also an understanding that the people who gave enough of a damn to be present need their leaders to give that much of a damn too.
I call this Punk Politics; the flip side of the politics of fear that have been in place during the entire Bush Administration. Politicians are now scared to take stances, scared to take risks, and scared to take action. Citizens are also being scared away from even thinking. What is this world coming to?
Who will be the person or politician that puts an end to this madness?
One Love. One II