Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Death of Hope and Change

Apparently, the election of America’s first black president did not usher in an era of racial healing.

After nearly 6 ½ years of Barack Obama and Eric Holder, after countless White House visits by Rev. Al Sharpton, America seems to be afflicted with more racial animus than racial healing.

The much-vaunted Obama economic recovery has not touched America’s inner cities. While providing great riches to America’s elite it has left the underclass behind.

Barack Obama rode into town behind a banner of hope and change. Many African-Americans bought the vision, the hope and the dream. They turned out in droves to vote for the first black president.

Many of them imagined that Barack Obama would be their savior, their messiah, that he would cure America’s institutional racism and pay off their mortgages. 

Those who believed the narrative of racial oppression thrilled to the prospect of seeing the next chapter play itself out with the arrival of a savior who would redeem the suffering of American blacks.

Unfortunately, life is not a narrative. Things have not worked out as planned and America seems more divided along racial lines than it had been when Barack Obama was elected.

Truth be told, Obama and Holder were never in the business of racial healing. They preferred to turn people against each other, on the grounds of race and class.

Obama’s failure to do anything consequential for American blacks can always be blamed on whites, on white privilege and especially on white police.

Black-on-black crime might be out of control, but we can always blame white police officers.

If nothing is getting better in the black communities, it must be the fault of institutional white racism.

Why were Baltimore’s blacks rioting?

Perhaps they were venting their disappointment. They may not have been conscious of the fact that their great hope, Barack Obama had let them down, had failed at his job, had sold out their dreams.

Obama had allowed black Americans to believe that he would save them, that they need but cast a vote for him and all would be well.

After 6 ½ years they must be seeing that Obama lied to them and that voting for him accomplished nothing.

No law says that rage is always directed against those who have produced the conditions that gave rise to it. For now African Americans in Baltimore seem to believe that the institutional racism and the white police are responsible for their living conditions. It's easier than believing that black politicians have misled them.

They must be thinking that if Barack Obama could not solve the problems, the racism is even worse than they had imagined. They must be thinking that if a black mayor and black city officials could not solve their problems, the racism is endemic to America.

But, if you teach people that they are powerless and that the game is completely rigged against them, you demoralize them. They come away thinking that they cannot do anything to change their conditions except to strike out in impotent rage.

Megan McArdle explained it well:

But regardless of justification, rioting is incredibly destructive, mostly in the neighborhoods where the rioters live. In my own city, Washington, D.C., the major retail corridors that were destroyed in the 1968 riots have only really begun to recover in the last five years (and one of them still hasn't). Who suffered because of that? The store owners, obviously, and their insurers. But the people who suffered most grievously were the mostly black people who lived in those neighborhoods. The commercial craters left by the riots attracted crime, raised unemployment and left the residents of the neighborhood nowhere to buy the necessities of life. People who had just started to get a toehold in homeownership saw the value of their homes depressed for decades.

Burning down your neighborhood is not constructive. Worse, yet, rioting discourages precisely the kind of business development and harmonious neighborhoods that these communities need.

People who riot are saying that they see no way to work their way out of the difficulties they are in. One of the reasons they believe this is that they have been taught that they belong to a permanent victim class, a class that can only overcome its condition by voting Democratic.

Now, it is all being played out on the streets and in the courts. The drama of rioting will move into the courtroom.

And yet, no matter what happens in the courts—may justice be done, fairly and impartially—the fact remains that riots solve nothing and that even six guilty verdicts will have no real impact on the lives of black Baltimoreans.

Justice will not rebuild homes and businesses. It will not create jobs. It will not promote investment. Worse yet, it will not repair the damaged reputations of African Americans in Baltimore.


Larry Sheldon said...


Ares Olympus said...

re: After 6 ½ years they must be seeing that Obama lied to them and that voting for him accomplished nothing.

Isn't politics fun? Presidents are elected to solve all problems for all people, and they just can't deliver.
...I spoke with Harry Belafonte about his lifetime of activism, and about his feelings about President Barack Obama.

He told me, “During his campaign for the presidency, he was talking before businessmen on Wall Street in New York. I said, ‘Well, you know, I hope you bring the challenge more forcefully to the table.’ And he said, ‘Well, when are you and Cornel West going to cut me some slack?’ I said, ‘What makes you think we haven’t?’”

It's a good snarky reply between two frustrated men.

The question to me is whether the president of the United State was elected to help black people, or to lead a divided country?

You can vote for a candidate who understand your issues, but how much power does a president have?

Well, Obama claimed he didn't have power to affect immigration policy, but when congress did nothing, he proded them with an executive order.

It really does seem like we're moving towards a dictatorship, whether overt or covert.

And it really seems like tea-party portion of the population would prefer a dictatorship, that is to say, they have been convinced that "the government is the problem" and therefore the only way to prove it is to encourage the most incompetent government possible, and then when the president tries to act when congress can't or won't, they have proof of the president's agenda to unconstitional power, after which they can justify further acts of sabotoge, and this process will keep going until we have a civil war or a military coup, when they can take up their guns and finish the job of dividing America.

So riots in Baltimore are exactly what some people want to see, proof the system is failing, and other people are out of control.

Oh, wait, maybe I'm not supposed to interpret motives of others. That's not nice, right?

n.n said...

Obama's pro-choice religion is based on denigration of individual dignity (e.g. class diversity) and debasement of human life (e.g. selective-child policy). Fortunately, most people do not subscribe to this traditional secular faith.

As for Baltimore, selective exploitation of exceptional events to create political narratives has consequences. The black and white, male and female, officers are innocent until through due process they are either convicted or acquitted.

It's unfortunate that the people decided to engage in property destruction and personal injury. Anarchists serve to build the authoritarian establishment.

priss rules said...

"Burning down your neighborhood is not constructive. Worse, yet, rioting discourages precisely the kind of business development and harmonious neighborhoods that these communities need."

Blacks aren't burning down blacks.

They tried to kill this pizzeria owner.

Homos and blacks sure love to attack pizzerias.

Dennis said...

One wonders about the interconnectedness of the people who appear to run Baltimore. They seem to be much more reminiscent of Castro's Cuba, Stalin's USSR, et al than a city in the United States of America.
This is the legal profession under Obama. Mobs are incited in order to give power to those who would undermine the Constitution and the rule of law.
I suspect Dershowitz is correct in that appeasing the mob is only delaying the riots that will come when most, if not all, of the police are exonerated. Overcharging almost always fails in a trial. Why is it that most of this happens in places such as Baltimore, NYC, Ferguson, et al that are examples of the "Blue State Hell" created by the not so democratic democrats?
Under Obama, with Lynch as Attorney General, who I believe will be worse that Holder if that is possible, we have the continuation of the Department of Injustice. Where Hillary Clinton can escape investigation and Bob Melendez gets prosecuted. Where the only crimes worth dealing with are racial or sexual in nature that meets the mimes established by the race and sex hustlers.
One has to wonder how people can be used and abused, lied to and degraded and cannot figure out that by selling their votes cheaply they get treated cheaply. If Blacks and other minorities could not be counted on to be Democrats they would have far more control over their lives and fortunes. It just amazes me that people are so unaware of their own interests. If they don't like the Republicans become an Independent like I am. Maybe with a significantly large number of Independents we can have a real affect on what happens in this country.
Given what has transpired recently I suspect the death of hope and change is much farther away than most of us would like to see. Too few leaders and far too many followers. Too many low information voters who pay too little attention to the things that govern their lives.
We still have the capability, et al, to change things if we remember that we are Americans first and all those other affiliations last.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thanks for the link. It's interesting that Dershowitz, a proud liberal, is the voice of reason on this issue. I suspect that his respect for the law has drawn him further and further away from the new left.

Dennis said...

Another interesting link by Ben Stein.

Dennis said...


Dershowitz"s love of the law may be why the Left has started going after him. Dershowitz is probably a real liberal in the historical context vice a progressive posing as a liberal which large numbers of today's self identified liberals do.
The democrats have the same problem in that most are not true democrats.