Hillary Clinton met with the mothers of Treyvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice Monday. The meeting comes after several other efforts to court the Black Lives Matter (sic) organization.
There are – literally – millions of other mothers Hillary could have met with yesterday.
She could have met with the moms of some of the police officers killed. She could have met with Chris Mintz’s mom, or even Chris Mintz himself, since he’s still miraculously alive. She could have met with the moms of some people killed by thugs on the streets, or people who had their stores robbed, or people who intervened to stop those things.
She could have asked the board of the Clinton Foundation to throw a little money to the people of Ferguson who saw their town used as a staging ground for street violence, and their downtown burned to the foundations.
Instead, she decided to help legitimize that street violence by signalling to the Black Lives Matter crowd that she was on their side. For the record, she was also the very first guest on Al Sharpton’s show in his new Sunday morning time slot.
What’s at work here is the ultimately self-destructive and (one can only hope) self-defeating identity politics of the modern Democratic Party. Barack Obama won re-election largely on the strength of an enormous turnout of black voters.
It’s also true that Hillary realizes that there’s probably no way that she can repeat that kind of performance, and that in order to win, she can’t let it slip all that far. She needs enthusiasm, and if she can’t get that, she’ll settle for energy. In a way, the joyless, angry Black Lives Matter is a great match temperamentally for the joyless, angry Hillary Clinton.
It’s to Barack Obama’s lasting shame (if he, indeed, is capable of such) that he has helped empower these street thugs and allowed others to think that they somehow represent the black community. Madame Hillary may feel that she has no choice but to court them, in order to prevent the sort of disruptions that helped defeat Humphrey in 1968. And if that means being unable to choke out the words, “All lives matter,” which are apparent now exclusive by virtue of their inclusivity, or something like that, well, that’s a small price to pay for the White House.
The problem is, it’s not a small price for the rest of us. Interest groups can afford to be provincial. Presidents should not, and the idea that “all lives matter,” even as a meaningless phrase, shouldn’t be controversial to the President. The President, who will also appoint the Attorney General and help run the Civil Right Division.
After Monday, don’t say you weren’t warned.