1. It’s later on Thursday, July 7, 2016.
2. The Black Lives Matter movement was a response to a wave of police killings of black men that appeared to be unprovoked or overreaction. Some of the killings were recorded on video, and the police behavior demonstrated was at, the very least, questionable.
For the past two years, we’ve seen case after case that raised the question about whether African-Americans are treated as subhuman by police officers, even in routine procedures. People protest and then the police come back with how they’re disrespected, even though it’s the other side whose people are dying.
Instead of trying to figure out why this stuff seems to happen every so often, police officers and the groups that represent them get into a defensive crouch. They seem to want the general public to believe that there is something about these black men that makes them inherently dangerous, whether or not they’re armed, whether or not they cooperate.
As a result, you see “Police Lives Matter” stickers on vehicles in predominantly white areas. That’s a ridiculous reaction to a serious problem.
In the past few days, we’ve had two more incidents that raise questions about police behavior. The Justice Department is investigating the shooting of Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge, La., police earlier this week. And, last night outside St. Paul, Minn., Philandro Castile was gunned down during a traffic stop, with his girlfriend who was driving the car livestreaming the aftermath.
So here’s my message to the police, and especially to the braindead police groups like the Fraternal Order of Police that seem to want to throw shade on the really dead: I pay your salary. Me and everyone else regardless of gender, race, religion and ethnicity.
While some police departments have worked at the idea of building trust with a community they’re paid to protect, others have ignored it. When you fail to build that trust, when you treat a group of people as though they’re a problem like bad weather and bugs, you stink at your job.
Instead of fostering a backlash to the Black Lives Matter movement, police should have embraced it.
Yes, the message should have been, we in law enforcement believe that everyone is deserving of the protection they pay for. Yes, every person we’re paid to protect is deserving of his or her full constitutional rights. If it’s perceived that we’re not serving a particular segment of the community well, we need to work to make sure we both understand our mission and our mutual responsibility.
There are bad, dangerous people in this world, and the police have an unenviable job. But by not being better about the way they treat African-Americans, by shooting first and asking questions later, police officers not only make their job harder, they make the jobs of other police officers around the country harder as well.
3. There’s a massive Trump sign on a highway near me, clearly put up by an office building owner who supports him. It says “Trump 2016. All Business. No Politics.”
Let’s bypass the naïveté of that and reflect on this past week. When Trump, handed Hillary Clinton’s e-mail problems on a silver platter, has instead put the focus on his own dopey weekend tweet – the one in which he called Clinton crooked while using an image that looked to many like a Star of David on a field of money.
When questions first arose online about the Star of David image, the campaign quickly changed it to a circle.
The smart thing – the politic thing – to do would have been to apologize and move on. Say it was an accident and not, as some of Trump’s detractors claim, another indication that he’s appealing to white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
But Trump won’t let it go (that’s a pun, as you’ll soon see).
He’s defended the tweet and said that the real bigots are the ones who see anti-Semitism in it. And he’s done that EVERY DAY since it came out.
Last night, he went over the top. He said he wouldn’t have taken it down, that he would rather have defended it. And then he tweeted out a picture of a story book based on the Disney animated film “Frozen” showing a six-pointed star like the Star of David on the cover, and asking where the outrage was from the “dishonest media.” (That’s where the pun part comes in, by the way.)
So this stupid tweet is still in the news. For the fifth day. The tweet’s message is what Trump wanted to get out, the message that Trump is clueless is the one that’s out there.
Therefore, the sign on the highway is halfway right. There’s no politics in alienating people, even if only a handful are bothered by the imagery.
But it’s also really bad business. You’ve diverted attention from the product you want to sell. And you keep expanding the list of customers you don’t seem to care about attracting.
Because maybe you had written off Jewish voters, but why would you tick off the “Frozen” fans and their parents?
Since I want this guy to lose every single state, there’s a part of me that hopes he gets riled about the reaction to the tweet every day between now and Nov. 8. But being that I’m not anti-Semitic, I would just as soon have the godawful implication of the image just go away.