In a Slate article — “Democratic Candidates Are Misrepresenting Michael Brown’s Death“– the reliably-liberal William Saletan wrote:
Last week, in a Democratic presidential debate, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro read a list of black Americans killed by police violence. Alongside Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, and Eric Garner, Castro named Michael Brown, who was shot dead five years ago in Ferguson, Missouri. Several of the current Democratic candidates have accused the officer who shot Brown of murder. Brown’s death was a tragedy, but it wasn’t a murder.
Besides Castro, the candidates who have joined in this calumny were Kamala Harris, Tom Steyer, and quasi-frontrunner Elizabeth Warren. Saletan continued:
But at the core of the story, there was a problem: The original account of Brown’s death, that he had been shot in the back or while raising his hands in surrender, was false. The shooting was thoroughly investigated, first by a grand jury and then by the Obama Justice Department. The investigations found that Brown assaulted Wilson, tried to grab his gun, and was shot dead while advancing toward Wilson again.
Saletan, I suppose to protect his liberal bonafides, also notes: “Brown became an icon of the Black Lives Matter movement for understandable reasons.” (Oh, really?) But let’s leave that aside and examine why the candidates are promulgating such a well-proven lie (Saletan does a good job demonstrating its extent), not even correcting it when confronted by the press, in Warren’s case most egregiously so.
The obvious is that they are fishing for votes. Warren has a putative weakness with African American voters. Tom Steyer is unknown to them (as he is to a lot of people). Harris is sinking fast and needs to shore up her rep and Julián Castro’s campaign has barely been registering enough to keep him on the debate stage.
But beneath this are more disturbing beliefs, one of which is on the edge of disgusting and actually racist: that African Americans prefer to be lied to than told the truth. The corollary to this is that they are easily lied to if you stir them up. The level of disrespect in this is off the charts.
Also at play here, as it is everywhere in Democratic precincts, is Fear of Trump. African Americans are doing better under Trump than they ever have been in this country with unemployment at record lows and salaries up.
Further, Trump really did something never done before — spearheaded and signed criminal justice reform legislation. Better not remind black people of that. Distract them or lie to them instead. Call Trump a racist, though why would a racist do such a thing? (At the end of the first paragraph of his article, Saletan cites such reform as necessary with, unsurprisingly, nary a mention of Trump’s achievement.)
This is all of a piece with the exploitation of African Americans by the Democratic Party that has been going on since the Age of Johnson, Lyndon. This only got worse under Obama when numerous prevarications and exaggerations encouraged a new separatism in a society that had made immense strides in racial equality. (A new documentary on the Trayvon Martin case explores the dishonesty behind this particular episode.)
This dishonesty to black people practiced by Warren and the others — fomenting anger toward the police — makes the lives of African Americans worse, frequently endangering them and resulting in their deaths, as Heather Mac Donald details so well in her The War on Cops. I often wonder how many liberals have read this book. I imagine very few because it so undermines their virtue-signaling narrative with uncomfortable and overwhelming facts. For someone like Warren to fan the flames of cop-hatred is despicable and immoral, but not surprising for someone so willing to lie about her Indian ethnicity. If black lives truly did matter to her, she would never say such a thing.
Just the other day, legendary power forward Charles Barkley, put it this way in his usually pungent manner: “Democrats only talk to black people every four years.” He could have added: “And when they do, they lie.”