There was so much wrong with ABC News' town hall special with President Obama that I can't possibly fit it all into four posts, let alone one, so I'm just going to stick with the things I really need to get out of my system, and which illustrate all the other things I can't possibly go into. In fact, before I even start, go read up on Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's fuckery so I can skip over it. Why the fuck was he even there?
That's big problem number one, the attempt to balance out the problem of police violence with other shit that has nothing to do with that, like how black people can change their own behavior to avoid it. They even, and I shit you not, played a training video, not for cops, but for black people to learn how not to get shot during a traffic stop:
It was nice of Muir to acknowledge that "some" wonder why any citizen should have to train how not to get killed during a traffic stop, but maybe somebody could have mentioned that maybe possibly someone should really be training cops not to shoot unarmed motorists? What the entire fuck?
They also skipped over Eric Garner's daughter Erica, even though they had promised her a question on the two-year anniversary of her father's death at the hands of police, but then almost took a question from the mother of Michael Slager, the guy who murdered Walter Scott and planted evidence on him in full view of a video camera and another cop, but apparently the other lady she stood up with took too long. Slager's mom had to settle for an intro to the President, and thank God for that, because what the fuck could she possibly have been ready to ask?
So, the woman who bogarted all of Mama Slager's time also happened to ask one of the stupider fucking questions of the night, and one which beautifully illustrates this program's total ignorance of the asymmetry of these issues:
I don't know, fucking safety goggles, maybe? President Obama graciously thanked her for her son's service, which is appropriate, but also, it's her son's job. And are you really going to stand there next to the woman whose son shot Walter Scott in the back and planted evidence on him, and complain that your kid got glass in his eye at a protest for another black man who was killed by cops?
But worst of all is the fact that nobody asked about or mentioned the one thing that would have protected that lady's son, along with Freddy Gray and Eric Garner and Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and a thousand others.
Someone almost asked. Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn has said some pretty terrible things in the past about police violence and the black community, but he seemed to show a lot of growth when he gave a four-minute assessment of the problems between black communities and the police that was worth at least a B-minus, but then he fucked it all up at the end by asking the wrong question:
Fuck, really? Keep the conversation going? Who could stop it? The conversation is the mortal enemy. What would have protected Walter Scott and Eric Garner and Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, and made the Freddy Gray protests unnecessary, is fucking accountability.
This is not complicated. All the conversations about race and training initiatives and task forces won’t do a bit of good until we enact true accountability in the form of three policies: Mandatory body cameras, federalized investigation and prosecution of all use of force cases, and mandatory reporting of profiling data. Everything else can be worked around. You can get good training and stay panicky or racist. But if your panicky racist ass ends up on video and getting investigated by someone who isn’t your buddy, you’re going to stop, one way or the other.
And part of the problem with that is that President Obama is the wrong messenger for that set of policies, because he's already got to thread a needle that a germ can't fit through. Obama already spends most of his time praising cops, and yet white people still act like he's up there reciting NWA lyrics. Imagine if he suggested, well, anything having to do with police accountability, really.
That dynamic was also on display last night when the President was asked if he had ever been unfairly treated by police, a subject he has thus far managed to avoid, and after more couching than an Ethan Allen warehouse, admitted that maybe it happened once or twice, then quickly changed the subject to racist old ladies:
Even that meager allusion to the existence of a cop who doesn't fart fairy dust will undoubtedly earn the President at least a dozen angry hot takes at Breitbart or The Daily Caller.
But do I think Hillary Clinton or anyone else is going to do better? I really don't know, and I doubt it, because at this point, no one is even talking a good, bad, or indifferent game about police accountability.