The President and The People town hall meeting was broadcast last night on ABC as an open forum for Americans to ask the POTUS the tough questions concerning the tensions ripping the country apart.
Fifteen-year-old Cameron Sterling stood before President Barack Obama just two weeks after he lost his father at the hands of the police to make one request: “I ask for your help to unite all the races of this world.”
Self-proclaimed “Mr. Hope” said this request alone was proof that we’re doing better than we think.
“The thing you expressed, Cameron, is what I meant when I said the country is not as divided as it seems. In communities all across the country, there is real concern about making sure that interactions between police and community don’t result in death. Nobody wishes that more than police officers themselves,” he said.
Nobody wishes that these interactions don’t result in death more than police themselves? Try saying that to the families, friends, and loved ones of the 552 people killed by police in 2016 alone and the thousands who have taken to the streets in protest.
This was the first of many sentiments the president expressed that seemed to miss the heart of our concerns. His rhetoric appeared to lean more toward protecting our cops versus protecting our communities.
Obama pointed out the structural, educational, and economic issues that fuel violence in urban areas and put officers at risk.
“We expect police to solve a whole range of societal problems that we ourselves have neglected — communities inundated with drugs. If we put police in those difficult situations and something happens, the police feel like they are being attacked because we aren’t providing them a situation where it’s easy for them to do their jobs,” Obama said.
While the structural issues that plague our communities is, of course, of paramount concern, his responses seemed to divert the spotlight away from police misconduct and instead focused on our neighborhoods as the primary symptom of the virus.
Another issue that seemed to be brushed over was the tragic story of Eric, the police chokehold victim who died in Staten Island, New York. Erica waited in the audience for her moment to ask the president a question, and her time never came.
Frustrated with the dismissal, Erica vented to her Twitter followers that she was railroaded by the network on the anniversary of her father’s death:
The burden of Black pain seemed to evade the president, with him only really pointing to our victimization when he discussed the racial microaggressions he faced before his presidency. He also clarified the meaning of “Black Lives Matter” and why counter movements such as “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” is problematic:
“I understand the point they’re trying to make. It’s important for us to also understand the phrase Black Lives Matters simply refers to the notion that there is a specific vulnerability for African-Americans that needs to be addressed. It’s not meant to suggest that other lives don’t matter. It’s to suggest that other folks aren’t experiencing this particular vulnerability.”
The POTUS urged people not to get caught up in the rhetoric that people asking for fair treatment are also anti-police.
These statements were a highlight in an hour-long political masquerade orchestrated to try to put the country at ease.
“We’re doing better than we think,” Obama urger.
Are we, Barack? Because we’re feeling damn uncomfortable and hurt over here and across the country.
VIDEO CREDIT: YouTube | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty