Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sucker


The late, great Phil Ochs, who met a tragic and untimely end, once wrote "and now it can be told, I'm a quarter of a century old."

 And now it can be told: Hillary Clinton is a sucker.

At Keene College in New Hampshire in 1996, First Lady Clinton defended the Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1994, signed by her husband, by stating

They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘superpredators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.

At a fundraiser in April, 2016, Mrs. Clinton was interrupted by gay black activist Ashley Williams, who brought out a banner reading "we have to bring them to heel" and confronted Clinton to "explain for the record" why she "called black youth 'superpredators.'" The candidate offered to address it but Williams left before she had a chance. Afterward, Mrs. Clinton told Jonathan Capehart

In that speech, I was talking about the impact violent crime and vicious drug cartels were having on communities across the country and the particular danger they posed to children and families.  Looking back, I shouldn’t have used those words, and I wouldn’t use them today.

My life’s work has been about lifting up children and young people who’ve been let down by the system or by society.  Kids who never got the chance they deserved.  And unfortunately today, there are way too many of those kids, especially in African-American communities.  We haven’t done right by them.  We need to.  We need to end the school to prison pipeline and replace it with a cradle-to-college pipeline.

As an advocate, as First Lady, as Senator, I was a champion for children.  And my campaign for president is about breaking down the barriers that stand in the way of all kids, so every one of them can live up to their God-given potential.

Looking back, I shouldn't have used those words, and I wouldn't use them today. Not only would she not use those words in these times, Clinton conceded, but she went a step further. She apologized, stating "I shouldn't have used those words." She acknowledged being wrong.

And she was wrong, because human beings shouldn't be compared to animals- "superpredators." She shouldn't have done used the term, even though the individuals she was referring to were violent gang members. Viewed in context, she had remarked in 1996

But we also have to have an organized effort against gangs. Just as in a previous generation we had an organized effort against the mob, we need to take these people on. They are often connected to big drug cartels. They are not just gangs of kids anymore- they are often the kind of kids that are called "superpredators." No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about how they ended  up that way but first we have to bring them to heel. and the President has asked the FBI to launch a concerted effort against gangs everywhere. They are often connected to big cartels- they are not just gangs of kids anymore.





In April, 2015 Hillary Clinton gave a speech commending "law enforcement leaders who are calling for a renewed focus on working with communities to prevent crime, rather than measuring success just by the number of arrests or convictions." She attacked "mass incarceration" and advocated community policing, as well as "reduced prison terms for some drug crimes."

Sucker.

In a stunning upset, Mrs. Clinton was defeated in the presidential race by the guy who proclaimed "We must maintain law and order at the highest level or we will cease to have a country, 100 percent. We will cease to have a country. I am the law and order candidate.”

In late May, the President commented “We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in—and we’re stopping a lot of them—but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals.”

We see what he is doing on the southern border to the "animals," including the women bringing their young children. He cites nonexistent law: "Tell them to start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration. Change the laws!" He's still the "law and order candidate."

Trump spokespersons claimed he was referring solely to MS-13 members. Despite his history, some people bought it, giving him the benefit of the doubt Hillary Clinton never had. However, on Tuesday of this week:

The Atlantic's David A. Graham responds

Trump left himself no such plausible deniability in Tuesday’s tweet. The infestation he refers to isn’t simply illegal immigrants per se, though he mentions the gang as well. Nor is this merely the pious language of enforcing the law, though Trump uses that elsewhere.

 “Infest” is the essential, and new, word here. (Also popping up in the tweets is the older coded word “thugs.”) It drives full-throttle toward the dehumanization of immigrants, setting aside legality in favor of a division between a human us and a less-human them. What are infestations? They are takeovers by vermin, rodents, insects. The word is almost exclusively used in this context. What does one do with an infestation? Why, one exterminates it, of course.

Even without the context of Trump's other racially-tinged remarks, it was obvious to anyone who lived through or knew the 1960s and 1970s what Donald Trump meant when he bragged about being "the law and order candidate."

President Trump means to quash the "animals" and the insects. But Hillary Clinton, reacting to the surge of street crime in the late 1980s and 1990s, had the temerity to refer to gang members as "super predators."  That was a mistake.  The election later that year indicated it also was a mistake to admit it was a mistake.

"We need to put each candidate under this scrutiny,” Ashley Williams said during the primary campaign. I suspect it was precisely Hillary Rodham's willingness to adjust and accommodate that no other candidate, not even Donald Trump as President, that she was singled out for one improper remark. She has been, it turns out, a sucker.



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