Michael Wolfe, City of Hempstead Mayor, left, Frank Jackson, City of Prairie View Mayor, and Lois Kolkhorst, Texas State Senator, listen as Elton Mathis, Waller County District Attorney, right, speaks to the media at the Waller County Courthouse Friday, July 17, 2015, in Hempstead.
Frankly, the looks of disbelief on the faces of the two men on the left, and the look of concern on the woman's face (almost exclusively associated with her political career) tell you pretty much everything you need to know about this latest unconscionable death of a black person in police custody.
Waller County District Attorney, Elton Mathis, left, and Waller County Judge Trey Duhon, center, listen as Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith speaks to the media Thursday, July 16, 2015, in Waller.
Waller County voted 58.33% for Mitt Romney in 2012, a little above the Republican's sweep of the state with 57.17%. Perhaps the only thing holding it under 70% was the vote coming out of the precincts around Prairie View A&M, where Sandy Bland was about to start her new job at her alma mater. Now that the official version of her arrest after being stopped for not signaling a lane change has been debunked by the DPS itself, it's imperative that a proper investigation determine exactly how she came to die in that jail cell. It looks like even Waller County officials realize the importance of that.
If I were a black man in this country, especially after what has happened in Ferguson and Baltimore and Cleveland and Staten Island and everywhere else it has happened just over the past couple of years, I wouldn't be protesting with a sign outside the Waller County Courthouse or shouting down presidential contenders (admiringly peaceful but terribly unfocused and misdirected), I'd probably be rioting in the streets until some cop shot me down.
This shit has got to stop. And the people best equipped to have stopped it, a long time ago, are the president, the former attorney general, and the current one. Of course we know that Eric Holder has finally gone back from whence he came; the law firm that lobbied for the country's largest banks. And that Loretta Lynch is opposed even to marijuana decriminalization, so I wouldn't expect to see much initiative from them despite being people of color, and especially since we haven't see much of anything to speak of to this point.
So that leaves Obama, for at least another year-and-one-half, to do something besides give a speech. "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon" just isn't going to cut it any longer.
And people of color shouldn't expect Martin O'Malley or Bernie Sanders to be able to solve this dilemma in a two-minute answer on a Saturday afternoon in a forum (though their words and deeds are important to get on the record) and they absolutely shouldn't consider Hillary Clinton's response sufficient, having had 48 hours and several staff members prepare her Facebook comment. That's the equivalent of the two boys in the class getting a pop quiz, and the star female pupil getting the test to take home over the weekend.
If anybody thinks any of these people can do much besides be a bully from the pulpit until late January of 2017, that person needs a bucket of ice water over their head... and then again in the face.
The best place to start is with your own city's police chief, county prosecutor, and on up from there: mayor, state representative, state senator. Before someone dies in your neighborhood or community. Even a Repuke like Lois Kolkhorst needs to to feel the heat. She's got her game face on; somebody take her on (at the ballot box).
"Dismantling structural racism in this country" needs to be on the fast track, like now.
Update: More from Isiah Carey. And from Kuff (7/22).