Star Tribune via Getty Images
It was not a good holiday weekend for the Day of Jubilee that was declared by Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority opinion in Shelby County v. Holder.
First, there was the bizarre video taken in Central Park in which, while using her dog like a hammer throw, a white woman threatened an African American man with the NYPD as though the NYPD were her personal can of pepper spray. Then there was the appalling video posted on Facebook of a member of the Minneapolis police kneeling on the neck of an African American man who was prone on the ground and begging that he could not breathe. The man later died. Another Minneapolis cop is seen standing there, doing nothing. And these events, of course, come hard upon the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, which the FBI is now investigating as a hate crime. The problem that all three of the victims share, of course, is that none of them were born a white guy from Michigan with an AR-15.
You can only let bigotry fly its black flag from the highest parapet for so long before everyone in the land sees it and more than a few of them rally to its spirit and, if they think the time of their empowerment is beginning to wane and (worse) that their comeuppance may be approaching, they will act out in ever-increasing desperation.
The politicians whose support they curried and who shamefully capitulated to them will find themselves helpless against the momentum on top of it. And waving that black flag may well be the only move the president* has left. (This Politico piece is interesting, but I think this election is going to be won or lost on a far more visceral level.) Like so much of what he’s done his entire life, the president* is preparing to walk away from the damage that he’s done while the rest of us have to live with it.
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