Saturday, October 27, 2012

Its What You Are NOT Saying Mr. President

Last week, President Obama attended the Al Smith dinner in midtown Manhattan at the Waldorf Astoria. This annual event, held during the final stretch of a presidential campaign brings together all the political heavyweights from government, media, and religious institutions. Attending this dinner was mayor Micheal Bloomberg, who's proposed soda ban was the subject of a light hearted joke from the president.  What I found not humoring was the inability of this president to even address the violation of rights of thousands of young men in this city at the hands of the NYPD, commissioner Ray Kelly and the aforementioned Micheal Bloomberg . Of course I don't really expect him to make damning statements at this dinner, but perhaps at a local church or playground in NYC. Less amusing is knowing why the president didn't address stop and frisk that night or any other time he has come to New York for a fundraiser; the president does not want to jeopardize his political run in a blue state with lots of green. I understand the strategy here, but when I see the president with his white tie among a group of people described by our last president as his base, laughing and seeming aloof to the social issues the same way the mayor does at times, it makes the future look a little bleak. Back when Trayvon Martin was killed the president caught some heat for saying if he had a son he would look like Trayvon, I'm pretty sure if he had a son who lived in NYC, he would have been stopped and frisked. What gets my attention as well is the fact that when the president comes to New York its usually in the capacity of fund raising, but skirting the social issues unless of course speaking at the United Nations. As a member of a community that has seen its fair share pervasive policing tactics, and a supporter of President Obama its disheartening for him to show a sense of acquiesce to the young persons struggle in NYC. I do not believe if Romney is elected he would do anything to address or change this situation in New York, he would be too busy reaffirming the ties between government and Wall Street. That's why I feel its so important for President Obama or at the least his attorney general Eric Holder to say something about this violation of fourth amendment rights. I mean after all when Harvard professor Henry Gates was being asked for identification after breaking into his own home -a case some argued was caused by the everyday assumptions and racial biases of white suburbia- the president stated that the Cambridge police department acted stupidly in arresting in Mr.Gates. So why isn't the same rhetoric or some rhetoric used to describe a police system that implements chastisement when citizens question why they are being stopped. I understand that running for high office puts a candidate under the public microscope that watches every statement and interaction, but sometimes the inaction and silence speaks louder than any campaign speech or MTV interview can.

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