Friday, March 13, 2015

"America's Mayor" Weighs In

“America’s Mayor” is at it again.

This past Tuesday the smoldering embers of racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri burst into flames when two police officers were shot and wounded by an unknown assailant. Tensions were high as law enforcement officers began a massive manhunt to find the shooter. It would not take much to return an already heated situation to the violent conflagration that erupted in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. Yet here was Rudy Giuliani pouring gasoline onto the flames.

“What happened in Ferguson is that a man committed a robbery, attempted to assault a police officer, and the police officer--to save his life--shot him. The police officer did his duty. The officer should be commended for what he did.”

The circumstances surrounding Officer Darren Wilson’s shooting of Michael Brown have been adjudicated. Our justice system acquitted Officer Wilson of any wrong doing. In a subsequent report the system also found a “pattern of racial bias within the Ferguson Police Department, with officers routinely discriminating against blacks by using excessive force, issuing petty citations and making baseless traffic stops.” The report has led to the firing or resignation of several high ranking Ferguson officials including the Chief of Police.

Naturally, Mr. Giuliani disagrees with the report: “It’s an allegation. There’s no proof yet.” No surprise here. Mr. Giuliani has been outspoken in his support of law enforcement; placing the blame for aggressive police tactics on the violence within black communities.

I’ve never been to Ferguson, Missouri. My guess is that neither has Mr. Giuliani. I don’t know what it feels like to live as a black man in this country. My guess is neither does Mr. Giuliani. I don’t know with any specificity what happened the day Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown because I wasn’t there. Neither was Mr. Giuliani.

I am smart enough to know that there are two America’s; and the racial divide between the two is very real. I am also smart enough to know that if you continue to poke a bear with a stick long enough you are liable to get hurt. Apparently Mr. Giuliani is unfamiliar with the concept.

Rudy Giuliani has a long and distinguished career as a prosecutor and mayor of our country’s largest city. His actions in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks have been described by many as heroic. His supporters describe his style as “straight forward” and “edgy.”

The Rudy Giuliani we see today is not THAT Rudy Giuliani. The man who helped unite the country is now a divider. The commentary that may once have been “edgy” is now laced with racism and bigotry. The mayor of our largest city has been replaced by a sad and pitiful politician searching desperately to bask once again in the spotlight.

Rudy Giuliani relishes the moniker of “America’s Mayor.” If he truly wants to live up to that title then perhaps he should work towards healing rather than fomenting the racial unrest that simmers within this country.

“America’s Mayor” must serve ALL the people…not just the privileged few.

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