Dear Mr. President,
A word, please.
What is happening? You say that as president you are concerned, trying to help. After the non-indictment in Ferguson, you initiated a task force, met with law enforcement, and proposed more funding for more police cameras as an initial solution and hopeful step in the right direction. Then we get the non-indictment of a New York City cop who chokes and kills a black man, Eric Garner, on camera. This American problem you speak of is getting out of control, and perhaps instead of speaking on this like a president, as weakly as many white presidents have done before, truly speak on this as a frustrated black man who fears for his children and future grandchildren -- or are you already in a political chokehold? You are not breathing new life or leadership into the eradication of racial inequality in this country. You're right, it is your job as president to help solve this, so how about this: Whatever you're trying to get Attorney General Holder to say or do under your direction, whatever notes you or your speech writers are passing his way, whatever openness you may be granting him on the subject, keep them for yourself and speak on that with your next press conference, because #blacklivesmatter. Your being a black president also matters in this fight for change, and while this is an "American problem," it is not universally experienced, so we must approach fixing these problems differently, and it starts with acknowledging that.
It would appear that you might actually have an American problem of your own, and your political platitudes aren't helping. Many people are becoming unhinged as it pertains to race, and some firm leadership directing this unbridled emotion and rage would help, instead of the tepid rhetoric that ignores the obvious disparity and infuriates many who elected you. I know it's not lost on you how effective it could be for you to speak on this subject right now. You have experienced political gridlock and disrespect from those within your party and without, and people finger pointing and scolding with entitlement from the right must have you on the brink of anger on a regular basis. I'm not saying you should pop off in a way that feeds into the tired stereotype of the angry black man, but it's time for a modern-day fireside chat up in this piece! You don't have to get all Samuel-L.-Jackson-in-A-Time-to-Kill kind of angry, but speaking from the heart with some leadership and equal measure of honest frustration would go a long way toward showing support for those communities you represent. Your softer tone on this issue is in part allowing for such matters and inequalities to run unchecked.
We need legislation with teeth. An example would be the Wisconsin law that requires outside independent investigation whenever death occurs at the hands of a police officer. But certainly better training needs to be implemented to prevent such incidents in the first place. Federal charges and review are important, as basic civil rights are being violated and lives are being lost. As the attorney general revealed in the Justice Department report, excessive force has been used by the Cleveland Police Department, and these incidents and subsequent protests show that they aren't the only police department practicing "unreasonable and unnecessary use of force," nor are they the only department with officers who are "not provided with adequate training, policy guidance, support and supervision." I would love to see a summit that brings together young minds of all colors to usher in a new civil rights movement that bridges the gap between leaders of the past and the voices of today that aren't afraid to speak up and battle these inequities.
All races are protesting in the streets, white Twitter awakened with the impactful message of #CrimingWhileWhite, and even Fox News took a break from their regularly scheduled sensationalism with Bill O'Reilly expressing his outrage over the non-indictment, stating that "all Americans should pity Mr. Garner and his family. He did not deserve what happened to him." What does it all mean? Maybe change, which is something I know you were hoping for, so let's get to work! I'm ready, and there are a lot of other people who are too. So next press conference, please choose your words wisely, because I need you to be the change so many, including me, voted for.
God bless America, Justin