Tag: Congressional Black Caucus

Symbolism Over Substance

So this happened:

Four members of the Congressional Black Caucus did the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture during remarks Monday on the House Floor, to show solidarity with protesters in Ferguson, Mo.

Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) and Al Green (D-Tex.), referred to the gesture that has come to symbolize the outrage over the death of Brown, the African American teen shot dead by police officer Darren Wilson in August..

“ ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ is a rallying cry of people all across America who are fed up with police violence in … communities all across America,” Jeffries said.

Let’s put aside whether or not Michael Brown put his hands up*. Let’s instead look at whether their money is where their mouth is:

All four voted AGAINST an amendment in June that would’ve limited the transfer of military equipment from the Department of Defense to local police agencies.

It’s just another reminder for protesters more interested in policy reforms than partisan agendas that elected leaders, by and large, are only interested in how they look vis a vis police issues and not what they can do to improve the situation.

President Obama’s announcement on police militarization, for example, included no roll backs, just more bureaucracy, which promises more inertia. Nevertheless, the move was hailed as some kind of progress on the state of policing, including by Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), who represents Ferguson and also voted against limiting police militarization in June.

The Democrats like to talk through both sides of their mouth. They pretend that they care about people being shot by police. And maybe, on some level, the do. But, in the end, they do what the police unions want and the unions want more militarized weapons for cops. The only real opposition to the policies and procedures that result in at least 400 Americans (and possibly as many as a thousand) being gunned down by police every year are being pushed by conservatives like Rand Paul. Because conservatives are more interested in solving the problem than working the racial politics (some of them, at least).

(*He almost certainly didn’t. Only a few witnesses claim he did and they’re not very believable. Moreover, the forensic evidence indicates he was shot with his arms down. PBS made a chart claiming the majority of witnesses said his hands were up. PBS either didn’t read the witness statements or deliberately lied as the witnesses claimed no such thing.)