Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Movement Movement

It was a most moving moment. “Mothers of the Movement” lined up across the Democratic National Convention stage in Philadephia Tuesday night, sharing their grief. The Movement? identifies them as mothers “whose children's names helped energize the Movement for Black Lives and the Black Lives Matter network.” 

According to the site, both groups were spawned out of the outrage generated by the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman, charged with murder for the fatal shooting of 17-year old Trayvon Martin in a gated community in Sanford, Florida in 2012. In the true Democrat style of never letting a good crisis go to waste, the DNC paraded out these women as part of their build-up for the evening. It was heart-rending; it was tragic. And it was despicable.

No parent should have to bury a child; no mother should have to mourn a life needlessly taken by violence. But there they were--eight women sharing their personal agony before the nation:

Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, who at 17 was shot to death “in self-defense” by George Zimmerman while transiting his neighborhood;

Geneva Reed-Veal, the mother of 28-year old Sandra Bland, found hanging in her Waller County jail cell after a traffic stop that escalated out of control;

Lucy McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, a 17-year old shot during an altercation about loud music in a convenience store parking lot;

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who suffocated in a chokehold during a confrontation with police over selling untaxed cigarettes on the street;

Cleopatra Pendleton, the mother of Hadiya, a 15-year old victim of Chicago’s out of control gun violence and failed gun control policies in that city; 

Maria Hamilton, the mother of Dontre, shot 14-times by a Milwaukee policeman after the mentally-ill man grabbed the officer’s police baton and attacked the him during a pat-down in a park.

Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, the 18-year old shot to death in Ferguson, Mo. when he rushed a police officer sitting in his car, and tried to grab the officer’s gun. 

Wanda Johnson, the mother of Oscar Grant, a 22-year old who was removed from a BART train for passengers' complaints of fighting, shot while struggling with police.

Only three of the women spoke on Tuesday night’s program. They were eloquent, passionate, and pitiable. Fulton spoke of “common sense gun legislation,” and “saving the children.” In case you don’t know, those first four words are code for doing away with the Second Amendment. McBath vowed to “keep telling our children's’ stories,” hopefully so that no others have to lose a child to urban violence.  Reed-Veal, the mother of Sandra Bland, gave a powerful address, speaking about her daughter's unlawful traffic stop in Waller.

That traffic stop went south when Bland got mouthy. Was her death--suicide by hanging in the Waller County Jail--tragic? Absolutely. Was it preventable? Undoubtedly. But how did Sandra Bland come to find herself in jail; just where did that traffic stop go wrong? When Bland copped an attitude with the officer.

I ache for the losses of these women but I must also question the circumstances that placed their children at odds with society that resulted in their tragic deaths.

What did these mothers teach their children about respect? Not just for parents, but for any adult or elder or person of authority?  At what point did these kids decide it was okay to defy a policeman or escalate an argument with a stranger in a parking lot? What ever happened to common, genteel decency between human beings?

Where are the fathers of these children? Why is there no Fathers of the Fallen Movement for men who’ve lost sons and daughters? Where were the fathers of these eight young Americans last night? I saw no audience-scans by the TV cameras for these women’s husbands in the audience.  Were they not a part of their children's upbringing? Not to sound like a civics quiz, but—if not, why not?

If the Democratic party wants to heal this nation and truly unite our peoples, then let it begin by enabling families to mend; let it begin by encouraging families to remain whole. Call me old-fashioned, but kids need to be raised by a father and a mother—there are two kinds of discipline at work in that dynamic, velvet and iron—and they both require equal parts in a child’s education on how to behave in polite society, or even in impolite society.

Why is the Democratic party more concerned about funding for abortions and a woman’s “freedom to choose” than in investing in the nuclear family? Instead of continuing the shameful bribery begun by Lyndon Johnson's welfare programs that rewarded unmarried women for having children out of wedlock, why are married couples penalized for staying together, IRS?

As the Party of Hope, the DNC has been full of disappointments this week. But parading the mothers around, whose motherhood was snatched from them prematurely, is a new, all-time low.

Oh, and that ‘hands-up, don’t shoot’ malarkey is a myth, based upon a lie.
Michael Brown never said it as he was lunging for the Ferguson PD’s pistol.

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