It takes a village to raise a child but it takes a village idiot not to see through the maelstrom of messy comments made by ‘Chillery’ and Bill Clinton. The MSM echoed my last article with a laser-like focus on two racially questionable comments made recently. But there is one comment I thought needed to be restored from the garbage bin. It came during the now-famous trail of no tears with a “woe is America” look on her face. Holding her head, Hillary said, “I just don’t want to see us fall backwards.”
The Clintons are masters of third person generalities. Yes, Hillary can get specific about policy things and legislative matters when she needs to. We should expect that. Obama will eventually also have to get specific. What bothers me is that the Clintons are deeply suggesting that Obama will or can simply wave the race wand and, by magic, lasso in the nomination. The definition of fairy tale: magic wands, glass slippers, ruby red shoes, and no messy blue dress.
As for someone bringing up personal information disclosed for or by that person as being justified, that argument does not hold water. If a teacher or principal points out in a public manner (black) students with learning disabilities, low test scores or a physical handicap, even if it is public knowledge, they risk being fired. It is not enough to hope that the preface “but it is public record” will protect them from outrage. Politicians are adept at the use of mouthpieces who are not on any payroll, and have no one to answer to when they point out “the public record” — brilliant, bravo.
Despite my prediction, before she announced, that a huge something would keep Hillary from becoming president or at least foil her attempts, I was actually a fan when she became a candidate. I thought, and rightly so, that Bill would become co-president. That’s a good thing. Good if we doubt that a woman alone could provide true leadership of the free world. Good if we buy the Bill hype. Good if we want to keep sending young black men to prison and keep the death rows filled to capacity.
But another saying comes to mind: people who live in glass houses should not throw stones, a notion that the Clintons might want to consider. I did a little research on the Bill Clinton White House “public record,” and it ain't pretty.
Chicago Cracks in 1985
Before Clinton took office the crack epidemic gripped Chicago. And I had a front row seat there circa 1985, and clearly recall the advent of crack, spiritually revealed as a cleansing breath of racial purification among African Americans. It was a message — only the strong would survive, but how exactly? In my recollection, word of mouth, strong oral cultural traditions warned potential crack or drug users that “this one was different.” It emphasized “just say no.” The early word on the street was that crack was both highly addictive and instantly addictive as well. It had you before you loosened your hold on the crack pipe or other means of ingestion. All true, all false, or none of the above. Actually the truth probably lay somewhere in between the cheap price and availability of crack as opposed to its more expensive cousin powder cocaine. The research now points in the other direction, that double arrow of fate — crack is not more addictive, only cheaper and more profitable. (Disclosure: I smoked pot and inhaled — once.)
Enter Candidate Obama. In his book Dreams for My Father it was obvious to me that some of his words and candor might come back to haunt. He was adrift on a sea of "who am I?" Obama candidly wrote that he was headed for that black criminal roundup in the sky if he did not change. He knew he needed to change and did. Clearly, one who has been in the belly of the drug beast may offer more insight into salvos. Obama has been on this fence. For those who say that he cannot relate I think he has put to rest that falsehood. He can relate and he is relatable.
Who offers the real cure for what ails Washington? Hillary Clinton wants to present Bill as “the cure," and once again, she has a lot of freaking explaining to do. Where was she on the drug laws: The former Republican, still-WASP candidate? The obvious question: Can we trust the Clintons again with our future? Can or should black voters trust them again? I don’t think so.
Will Obama’s drug use and the Clinton’s drug policies come under closer scrutiny created by lax rulings on drug sentences by a conservative Court? I wouldn’t bet against it. Monday, December 10, the Supreme Court ruled that flexibility was okay in sentencing crack offenders. What about Mike Huckabee, that other candidate from Hope, Arkansas? He believed that, yes, we do have a drug problem rather than a crime problem in this country. He cited the nexus between drug usage and crimes committed. Thus like any good GOP candidate he wants harsher sentences for drug offenders but at the same time hopes to increase treatment options. Honestly, there seems to be little hope of change in any of the candidates past or present.
Did You Lower Your Ears?
Who applauded loudest when Clinton signed the historic laws that made it more evil to be caught with powder cocaine? Who applauded as black men were quietly removed from the scene by drug overdoses or never-see-the-light-again prison sentences? In an effort to “correct” the drug sentencing disparity laws were passed under Clinton that raised the time powder cocaine users got. Chances are, if you were white from 1992 to present then you likely weren’t caught and sent to prison, but probably went to college instead. If you were black, on the other hand, from 1992 to present then you went to jail, went straight to jail, no passing college. I think somebody should be soundly water-boarded for that law, retroactively.
When William Jefferson Clinton took office in 1993 … [and] the latest criminal justice statistics show that it was actually Democratic President Bill Clinton who implemented arguably the most punitive platform on crime in the last two decades. In fact, "tough on crime" policies passed during the Clinton Administration's tenure resulted in the largest increases in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history.
It is easy to see why blacks just loved them some Bill Clinton. He sent more of them to prison than Ronald Regan and decreased the funding, or rather shifted it from education to the prison complex!
From Noam Chomsky to Bill Clinton and Al Gore, everybody spouted the party line (GOP) that drug laws were essentially a waste of time and money. Chomsky had the power of the pen but not the power of the office. So cooler heads prevailed and America was saddled under centrist Clinton with laws and a climate that would make Reagan look like JFK. Clinton has been rightly portrayed as the Centrist. He was probably more right of center, even though he has been labeled a raving liberal.
Al Gore less famously than Bill said (in 1999 and 2000) that he “rarely used pot post-Viet nam return.” Translation: I used pot to the point of intoxication, but only did it rarely. Gore was ahead of the curve however in speaking to the Boston Globe in 1999 about his disdain for the laws that “treat crack cocaine far more harshly than powdered cocaine should be eliminated.” Apparently, he and Bill did not see eye to eye on that one. Al Gore unilaterally wanted to level the crack playing field.
Yet, by signing the Violent Crime Control Act and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which provided prison construction funds to the states, President Clinton's policies had already helped shift funds from higher education to corrections.
Clinton's eight years in the White House meant overseeing the Silicon Valley, the Internet and the economic boon. It also meant an acceleration in black prison incarceration — unprecedented. The great U.S. economy (until NAFTA) paralleled prison overcrowding for drug crimes. Bill talked tough on crime and criminals in the promises he made in both campaigns. It worked. Now he is asking America to swallow hook, line, and sinker that he and his wife will not take over the world if elected – or should I say re-elected – to office. He is asking blacks to tamp down their rhetoric on race, to hold hands with the Clintons once more, to sit collectively on a hill and watch the second coming together.