It is 4:30 AM. I can’t sleep, and among the reasons are not, as you might think, the fact that my father died five years ago today and I miss him terribly, or that this is my birthday, and I am that much closer to my own death. No, the cause for my tossing in bed is that I read Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s comments on “Meet the Press” about the Michael Brown shooting (yes, those eleven Ferguson posts still weren’t enough) just before retiring, and they have been giving me nightmares.
What Patrick’s remarks suggest to me is that this incident is quite literally driving Democrats, civil rights activists and African-Americans crazy, causing them to lose their grip on basic principles of ethics and democracy. Here is what Patrick said, in part, in his interview with Chuck Todd, who, incompetently, did not ask properly probing questions in response (falling over in a dead faint would have also been appropriate):
“Look, without knowing all the facts, of course I wanted to see an indictment. And mostly because I think a trial and the transparency of a trial would be good for the community. And because so many of us have the supposition that police officers are not going to be held accountable and not going to have to answer for the shooting of unarmed, young, black teenagers.”
I challenge any civil libertarian to defend this statement.
Patrick, a former civil rights attorney in the Justice Department and considered a rising power in the Democratic Party, stated that he wanted an American citizen to be indicted and tried for murder regardless of the facts, because trying a citizen—putting him on trial for his life, regardless of whether he can be convicted of any crime or is guilty of one, “would be good for the community.”
He believes, contrary to the ideals on which the American system of government was founded, that it is “good” to have show trials, to put citizens at risk of losing their liberty to satisfy “suppositions.” This man was elected to preside over the state of Massachusetts. He is a lawyer. But to him, such concepts as justice, due process and fairness are “obviously” not as important as satisfying race-based distrust of law enforcement officials.
Moreover, he believes that it is appropriate to put one man on trial—without facts to justify it—because of what Patrick and “many of us”—meaning, I think it is fair to assume, African-Americans, suppose. He also believes that one officer, regardless of what he did, should be tried for the shooting of “of unarmed, young, black teenagers,” regardless of what the teenager in that particular situation did to prompt such a shooting, in order to pay with that officer’s life for all the other instances when others officers were not held responsible and should have been. In addition to basic principles of justice, Governor Patrick also announced his rejection of logic and common sense.
The willingness with which this black elected official is willing, indeed eager, to sacrifice a young white public servant, who as far was he knows might be innocent of any wrong doing, to salve a racial grievance is chilling. The belief of such a powerful and influential individual that trying a police officer for murder who may have been guilty of no more than doing his job and protecting his person against an “unarmed, young, black teenager”—-who had evinced a clear interest in harming him and obviously had the physical ability to do so—would be good for the community is frightening. This country officially stands for the proposition that the government targeting and punishing individuals without a fair and objective application of due process, equal protection and the rule of law is not good for the community, and is in fact destructive to it.
Worst of all, and most ominous, is the fact that an individual in Patrick’s position feels that he can make such a statement on national TV without shame and with complete impunity, having no fear of horrified rejection within his own party and by his supporters. He has just expressed approval of the totalitarian tool of show trials, and doesn’t realize how repellant that is….apparently because among the groups he identifies with, they aren’t repellant at all.
Reflect on that, and welcome to my nightmare.
The Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck should be an ethics alarm for supposed progressives that their biases and fervor are leading them down a monstrous path for which the description “unethical” is inadequate. For everyone else, this fiasco and the positions so many in the news media, the Democratic Party, African-Americans and progressives have adopted to make it the fiasco it is* should sound a general alarm. Their implications for our liberty and the future of the nation are terrifying, and we—and in my case, I mean Americans who oppose bigotry and race-based public policy in all of its forms—ignore them at our peril.
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