Monday, March 16, 2015

Many Conservatives are Blowing it on the Ferguson DOJ Report

Their reaction is neither fair, accurate, nor good for America.

It’s unfortunate, the way news is consumed and interpreted in the age of twitter. Everyone feels tremendous pressure to form an opinion quickly and state it loudly and with certainty. Once this has been done, people are highly resistant to changing their minds and they become impervious to new evidence, often dismissing out of hand outright facts just because they are reported by a given source (e.g., “the media is untrustworthy” or “you can’t trust the Holder Department of Justice.”) Perhaps nowhere has this phenomenon been more obvious (or regrettable) than in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown. 

Interpreting the news out of Ferguson has become a part of ideological tribalism in which, if you are a conservative you stand for the Ferguson PD and if you are a liberal you stand against them. Thus, liberals have become highly resistant to assimilating information that strongly suggests that “hands up, don’t shoot” never happened. Conservatives, on the other hand, have become highly resistant to assimilating information that strongly suggests that the Ferguson PD – as with many other municipal police departments in the country – truly is out of control, in that it recklessly violates the constitutional rights of the citizens of Ferguson and does so in a manner that has a clearly disproportionate impact on minorities.
Source: Red State. Read full article.

Why Conservatives Must Engage Urbanism

Is there a place for conservative urbanism?
That was the question prompted by Charles Marohn’s recent New Urbs article, “The Conservative Case Against the Suburbs.” Ben Adler, an environmental reporter over at Grist, said the conservative base will never listen to the lonely (though growing!) conservative urbanist voices. Keith Miller at Mere Orthodoxy argued conservative urbanists are abusing Ronald Reagan’s political legacy in favor of elitist technocratism. Both pieces help illustrate just how limited urbanist politics have been, and just how important the New Urbs project (along with our like-minded friends across the conservative landscape) could be for broadening this discussion.
Adler documents how “urbanism is actually growing in popularity among a small cadre of conservative intellectuals,” who “understand that the traditional town design favored by urbanists—houses that face the street, with porches and stoops, sidewalks, public parks, and shared mass transit—fosters strong communities.” Yet he warns: “Just don’t expect their ideas to catch on in conservative America.” He continues, “The main problem for conservative urbanists isn’t the quality of their arguments, but rather that they fall on deaf ears within their own movement.” Adler argues that popular American conservatism is about tribalism before principles, and subsidized suburbia suits them just as Tea Party retirees are fiercely defensive of their own entitlement checks. American conservatives are coal-rollersand Sarah-Palin-Big-Gulp celebrators, who “have adopted pro-market, small-government values as a loftier framework for their politics of resentment.”
Source: The American Conservative. Read full article.

Jay-Z’s Ideas on Policing and Criminal Justice Reform Matter

In light of the recent police brutality cases occurring across the nation, Democratic Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo met with the mogul and nineteen-time Grammy Award-winning rapper Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter to discuss criminal justice policy. With the clear intention of being insulting, the writers of an article, which was posted at both the New York Post and Fox Nation, referred to Carter as a “former crack dealer.” The text of the article further posits that Carter “earned most of his expertise in crime as a crack dealer.” Those who are critical of people like Jay-Z contributing to criminal justice policy demonstrate their lack of dedication to serious criminal justice reform.

First, it is important to note that there is something deeply repulsive about dismissing all of Jay-Z’s glittering achievements and referring to him by a name that reflects the worst part of his history. Not everybody has sold crack, but everybody has aspects of their pasts upon which others can look down. It takes a peculiar level of wickedness, however, to see a man who has risen to the status of having a combined, legal net worth of $1 billion with his wife, the seventeen-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist and musician Beyoncé, and use his past to devalue his undeniable contribution to society as an upstanding citizen. 

It is interesting that those who pay continued lip service to the idea of the disadvantaged lifting themselves up by their own bootstraps and turning their lives around are the same people who are the first lobbing cruel rhetorical grenades at those who have worked hard, defied the odds, and reached the zenith of their professions.

Source: Change the Game: Read full article.

William Reed: Celebrating and Critiquing “The Great Society”

Having the nation's first African-American president at the Civil Rights Summit speaks to the immeasurable success of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s presidency. The Civil Rights legislation LBJ pushed through Congress is the most transformational political legislation since Reconstruction. Legislation Johnson offered and leadership he proffered has contributed to the betterment of African Americans’ lives in ways no president has since Abraham Lincoln. Contemporary Black Americans would be advised to take note of how a president stepped into the breach and helped our race in the realization of America’s promise.

When Black Americans measure Obama with LBJ, they will see “a man with a plan” versus an empty suit. Many Blacks can’t see beyond the symbolism of the Obama presidency. While Obama shies away from Blacks and their issues, LBJ had a vision for America, that problems of housing, income, employment, and health were ultimately a federal responsibility; and from that premise Johnson used the weight of the presidency and his formidable political skills to enact the most impressive array of reform legislation since the days of Franklin Roosevelt. He envisioned a society without poverty or discrimination, in which all Americans enjoyed equal educational and job opportunities. He called his vision the "Great Society."