NEWSLETTER & UPDATES
Letter from the Executive Committee of the DPCC
“Many Americans blamed the riots (in 1967) on outside agitators or young black men, who represented the largest and most visible group of rioters. But, in March 1968, the Kerner Commission (ed. commissioned by President Lyndon Johnson) turned those assumptions upside-down, declaring white racism—not black anger—turned the key that unlocked urban American turmoil.
Bad policing practices, a flawed justice system, unscrupulous consumer credit practices, poor or inadequate housing, high unemployment, voter suppression, and other culturally embedded forms of racial discrimination all converged to propel violent upheaval on the streets of African-American neighborhoods in American cities, north and south, east and west. And as black unrest arose, inadequately trained police officers and National Guard troops entered affected neighborhoods, often worsening the violence.” - Scientific American review of The Kerner Commission Report by Alice George, SMITHSONIANMAG.COM , MARCH 1, 2018
All of us should be shocked at the treatment of some of our fellow human beings at the hands of some of the police. Unfortunately, this is not new. Somehow, we have forgotten the lessons of The Kerner Commission Report from 1968. We thought that “we” had made great strides in righting wrongs that were evident then. Unfortunately, there are too many examples of the guardians of society exceeding their mandate to protect all of our society. There is no justification for the loss of life at the hands of the ones that are supposed to protect us. There is no justification for discrimination for any reason: skin color, religion, sexual preference/orientation, ethnicity. This is especially true for those that we entrust to protect us.
From our standpoint in Carroll County, we are somewhat isolated from some of these evils. Carroll County residents struggle every day with poverty with a poverty rate of 15.6% according to the Census Bureau, ACS PUMS 5 Year Estimate. And yes, some of our fellow neighbors have been the subject of discrimination either by sexual persuasion, by lifestyle, by poverty, by color of their skin and by lack of documentation. We need to stand and fight for everyone’s right to live, to have health care as a right, not a privilege, to have a life-sustaining income, and especially a right not to be selectively targeted.
The issues of color bias is longstanding. Parts of Arkansas have been, and without looking too deeply, continue to be, the centers of ugly and unlawful examples of racial hatred. We should not fall into the trap that this issue has gone away.
As Democrats, we need to stand together and support all of our neighbors to end this very detrimental part of our society. To quote some of the DNC platform: “Democrats will fight to end institutional and systemic racism in our society. We will challenge and dismantle the structures that define lasting racial, economic, political, and social inequity. Democrats will promote racial justice through fair, just, and equitable governing of all public-serving institutions and in the formation of public policy. Democrats support removing the Confederate battle flag from public properties, recognizing that it is a symbol of our nation’s racist past that has no place in our present or our future. We will push for a societal transformation to make it clear that black lives matter and that there is no place for racism in our country.”
Within the DPCC Policy Document (available on our webpage), we have a section on Social Justice: “The Democratic Party of Carroll County (DPCC) knows that all persons are equal and equally deserving of respect, to equal protection under the law, and to all rights guaranteed by the Constitution in their pursuit of happiness irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin. The DPCC objects to racial profiling of people, gerrymandering of voting districts for the benefit of any political party, and to restrictions on any citizen’s right to vote.”
And there is a section on Community Based Policing: “The DPCC fully supports local law enforcement and efforts focused on community-based policing. When police officers live and work in the communities they protect and serve, everyone benefits. Effective police departments have processes and systems in place that allow community members to voice their concerns about the fairness and effectiveness of local law enforcement.
It is up to us individually to see that these words are translated (Too passive, I would say transform or translate, to make it more active) into works.
It is clear from the incendiary rhetoric from our leaders in Washington, the quick to militarize and incite further hatred. There needs to be a change in the governance of our country. We need to find ways to be civil. These last 3 1/2 years have divided our country in ways that haven’t been seen for over 150 years. The blame can be laid on the doorstep of those that seek to divide us. To govern is a privilege bestowed by the public with the caveat that the governed will be treated equally.
.As Democrats, we can effect that change by standing by our citizens when they are wronged and supporting those candidates (Democratic, Independent, and Republican) that can provide rational thought to solving our country’s problems. We do
Nationally, the tensions are high. The health and economic struggles we faced and continue to face in the Pandemic have only heightened the discrimination that has plagued many in our country. We did not need the recent and historical incidents of police brutality to add to that tension.
We may be at the cusp of a national crisis. We need leaders that are empathic to our aggrieved neighbors, not those that grandstand without taking responsibility. We need leaders that are willing to admit there have been wrongs and provide pathways towards righting them, not those that are so “righteous” and egocentric as to play at the bully instead of using the bully pulpit to reach out and provide a helping hand.
We would urge our local, Carroll Countians and Arkansans to support those local and national candidates that would provide a more compassionate government. Reach out and volunteer if you have the time. Reach out and support with your dollars. Reach out to your neighbors and ask them to support rational governance.