Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton announced that she is traveling to Charlotte, NC, tomorrow, Sunday, the day before her scheduled TV debate with Republican candidate Donald Trump. She and her policy advisors have taken a page out Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's political "playbook." When he was White House Chief of Staff during President Obama's first term his political strategy and "mantra" was "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
For more than a year the Black Lives Matters Movement, including white people and other People of Color who supported them, have been crying out for national, State, and community leaders to intervene to stop the repeated shootings of Black men by police. They pleaded for our attention to stop the repeated actions of police in choosing lethal force as their first option in seeking to effect an arrest, that might, in some cases, have otherwise been lawful.
President Obama convened meetings at the the White House between Chiefs of police and other law enforcement representatives with select community leaders from across the country. Police killings of Black men continued.
During the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC this summer Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton invited "Mothers of The Movement" to come to the Convention. The mothers of Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Dontré Hamilton, Hadiya Pendleton, Blair Holt and Oscar Grant took the stage to speak about the deaths of their
children and express their support for Hillary Clinton to become president.
Republican candidate Donald Trump began speaking about the living, education, and lack of jobs conditions in Black communities, asking Black Americans publicly, based upon his perception of life in our communities, "What have you got to lose?"
Against this background, our initial reaction to the news that Hillary Clinton plans to go to Charlotte tomorrow was "beware of Greeks bearing gifts"; a phrase used to warn against possible deception by an adversary. (When a "Trojan Horse" was left at the gates of Troy, the Trojans thought the Greeks had left it as a parting gift because they had given up & sailed home)
Then we read the Op Ed column by Rev, William Barber, II, in today's New York Times. He is President of the NAACP in Charlotte. He reminds us
"That systemic violence, which rarely makes headlines, creates the daily traumatic stress that puts our communities on edge, affecting both those of us who live there and outside observers who often denounce "black-on-black" crime. We cannot have a grown-up conversation about race in America until we acknowledge the violent conditions engendered by government policy and police practice."
"Anyone who is concerned about violence in Charlotte should note that no one declared a state of emergency when the city's schools were re-segregated, creating a school-to-prison pipeline for thousands of poor African-American children. Few voiced outrage over the damage caused when half a million North Carolinians were denied health insurance because the Legislature refused to expand Medicaid."
So, we will have wait and see what difference, if any, candidate Hillary Clinton visit to Charlotte will make on the issues recited by Reverend Barber and the repeated pleas by the Black Lives Matter Movement for the conscience of America to stop the police killings of black men.