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Fair enough. Hate crime legislation is problematic in its own right in that it gives the government a questionable expansion of power to prosecute someone based on what they say or believe, rather than what they do. As such, it makes such legislation difficult to reconcile with the constitutional guarantee of free speech. Yet that didn’t stop a Democratically-controlled Congress from passing an expanded version of a hate crime bill in 2009, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of prosecutable offenses. “After more than a decade of opposition and delay, we’ve passed inclusive hate crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray, or who they are,” said president Obama, when he signed the legislation.
Which brings us to another inexplicable determination to ignore reality by the president himself. How is it possible that the same man who helped make a national issue out of a confrontation between a single black college professor and a single white police sergeant remains conspicuously silent on the issue of black teen flash mobs? Isn’t this precisely the kind of issue in which a “post-racial” president would want to take the lead?
Mr. Obama has never demonstrated a reticence to criticize any group of people or individuals whose behavior displeases him. Certainly he or someone within his circle of advisors must understand his silence creates a vacuum; one which can be filled by anyone looking to advance an agenda, no matter how pernicious. Wasn’t the so-called “beer summit” exactly an effort to preempt such perniciousness?
Why then — but not now?
Like it or not, that vacuum will be filled. It will be filled by apologists on the Left who once again blame society rather than the perpetrators of the violence themselves for the ongoing mayhem, as well as those on the Right who accuse the president of “inciting racial division” in “an attempt at establishing a liberal fascist regime.” It will be filled by an American public in general, 80 percent of whom believe the country is headed “down the wrong track,” and whose belief that racial problems can be worked out has declined from 67 percent in 2008, to 52 percent currently.
And it will be filled by troubling statistics complied by Eric Holder’s see-no-black-evil Justice Department, which show, “despite underreporting, blacks commit a disproportionate share of hate crimes. In 2009, almost 20% of known offenders of hate crimes were black, even though blacks make up just 13% of the population.”
Where is the same mainstream media, so quick to praise the president’s 2008 speech on race, given when the racism of his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, could no longer be kept under the radar? Times columnist Nicholas Kristof called that speech “a masterpiece to go down in history.” ABC anchor Charles Gibson called it a ”seminal speech” on race that was “extraordinary.” Where are the calls for something similar, especially when it involves a phenomenon afflicting the nation as a whole, as opposed to one afflicting the president personally?
Likely most Americans consider such silence by the mainstream media to be evidence of their overall leftist bias, in which protecting this president in the face of news, not just regarding race, but a number of other issues as well, to be their number one priority. Perhaps it is. But there may be another factor involved. Perhaps, as initially noted by an “exhausted” Velma Hart in 2010, and forcefully reiterated last week by a “tired” Maxine Waters (D-CA), the mainstream media has lowered its own expectations with respect to this president’s leadership capabilities.
Yet despite their best efforts, the racial aspect of the flash mobs can no longer be contained. Thus, it is only a matter of time before it becomes necessary for the Fourth Estate to wonder aloud how the president can maintain his silence on the issue. What little credibility they have left in the eyes of many Americans may depend on it.
For a substantial number of Americans, it is already too late.
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