OPINION | Barry Richard: MA Anti-Racism Resolution is Meaningless
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and the legislative leadership can't figure out how to manage the state's financial affairs, but they came to a quick agreement on how best to address Charlottesville, Virginia's racial strife.
Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg have drafted and signed a meaningless resolution condemning what DeLeo calls the "poisonous ideologies" of white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups being blamed for Saturday's riot in Charlottesville. Hey, lets face it - Nazi's suck whether "neo" or old school, but so do extremists on the left end of the spectrum. No one, except President Trump has had the guts to say that though.
The resolution proclaims white nationalists and neo-Nazis to be;
"menaces to societal order" and "very real threats" to the state's values, like civil rights for all."
The resolution goes on to say;
"[W]e urge law enforcement agencies and elected officials at every level of government to condemn white nationalist and neo-Nazi ideology, to vigorously pursue justice in response to hate-fueled violence and work to ensure the protection of the marginalized and targeted communities."
You know, just about a year ago the nation watched in horror as police officers were being executed in the streets over a faulty narrative that they had been killing unarmed and innocent black youth for sport. This myth ignored and continues to ignore the real wholesale slaughter of young black men at the hands of other black men in places such as Chicago.
I looked, but could not find a resolution from Governor Baker, House Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Rosenberg denouncing the killing of five police officers in Dallas on July 7th of last year by Micah Xavier Johnson during a Black Lives Matter march.
Johnson, said to be angry about the police shootings of two unarmed black men, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, was a follower of black nationalist groups such as The New Black Panthers Party, Nation Of Islam, and Black Riders Liberation Army. All three groups are listed as hate groups by The Southern Poverty Law Center.
The resolution continues;
"White nationalist organizations in our country have consistently promoted values that are overtly racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant, and these poisonous ideologies continue to promote hatred, bigotry, and violence."
I don't recall a resolution either when Black Lives Matter openly advocated for more cop killing;
The Massachusetts resolution is being hurried off to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, whose account of what transpired on the streets of Charlottesville has been disputed by the police. Charlottesville's' Mayor Mike Singer and President Trump will also get copies.
A "free speech" rally has been permitted for the Boston Common tomorrow. While organizers say they are not affiliated with the white nationalists who protested in Charlottesville there could be problems anyway. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has also permitted a rally by counter protesters.
The fringe right antagonists at the heart of Charlottesville have been roundly demonized and rightfully so. But as long as we are unwilling to renounce the tactics of the fringe left we continue to feed the problem.
President Trump is correct. There is plenty of blame to go around for the unrest in our country. The politicians fear nothing more than being labelled a racist. Even worse, losing the next election. Changing street names and ripping down statues might give the perception that they are doing something truly meaningful, but they are not fooling anyone who really cares.
Editor’s Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.