Thursday, September 06, 2007

Donovan deserves an answer

Doesn't Bob Donovan's criticism of the (relative) silence of inner city elected officials over the continued spasms of violence in their districts require a response? Something other than that he is stupid, crazy, racist or uncouth?

Why is there so little political energy behind this issue by the representatives of those most effected by it? One gets the sense that certain black politicians are more concerned with racist cops than criminals. Is that plausible? The Jude beating was awful but is that where the greater threat lies?

One gets the sense that concerns over racial equity in the criminal justice system trump considerations of public safety. We can't get tougher on violent offenders because there are too many black men in jail already. Isn't that somewhat self-defeating? Will allowing neighborhoods like "Little Beirut" to stay the way they are increase or decrease the number of black males in prison in ten years? Can't we address two problems at once here?

Is the reason for this silence a belief that there is nothing that we can do about crime? Is it that some political leaders believe that the only solution to inner city crime is for the government to somehow change life in the inner city so that those who now commit crimes will then respond in some other manner? I can imagine that someone might have believed that was possible in 1967. Does anyone really believe it today? And even if you do, don't we have to stop the bloodletting till comes the revolution?

Donovan deserves a response that can serve as a vehicle for further public discussion. The cynical part of me says that the incongruity of this silence on the part of those whose constituents are suffering the most is just another example of the age-old political ploy of making hay over blaming someone else. But I do allow that it is more complicated than that. There are reasons for this curious response other than mere demagoguery and political cynicism.

We may be able to get past that, But it would help if Donovan gets an answer rather than an insult.

11 comments:

Dad29 said...

Not to be TOO cynical, but since 90+% of shooting victims have long criminal records, maybe being quiet is the preference.

Anonymous said...

Here is one answer - Donovan has long proven that simply being enraged and demanding that "Somebody do something!!!" is ineffective.

As for you rightwingers who suggest, as you do here, that the experience of the '60s and '70s proves that no affirmative community intervention by government (i.e., other than cops and jails) can do any good - you offer entirely false logic and kill any debate of policy options.

Finally, Donovan and others would do well to recognize the wild disparities in political power and resources as between various constituencies. The idea that one who represents an economically stable, well-resourced district should thunder down to one who doesn't it both silly and insulting.

Final answer - the one experiment that we know has failed - more arrests, more convictions, longer sentences - and yes all that has been steadily happening for decades - has failed to create stability and safety.

At least Dad29's suggestion of passive extermination is an honest, albeit reprehensible one.

Anonymous said...

Who says they're being quiet? Because they aren't on conservative talk radio? Because they're actually governing and meeting with families/residents, rather than sending out press releases every five minutes?

jp said...

Maybe Whoopi got it right when talking about Michael Vick.
"There are certain things that are indicative to certain parts of the country."

Anonymous said...

And the statement is not correct about all of Milwaukee. Very selective data used here to make sweeping generalizations.

In my part of Milwaukee, we saw an increase in crimes this summer -- perhaps as a result of pulling our cops away to target other areas.

So it may not have cut crime but only moved criminals. It has cut homicides, and I'm all for that. I'm all for continuing to target these areas, too, as the policy of containment to those two areas was making good people there suffer.

But pushing the bad people out to other areas for others to suffer was not solving or cutting crime, not in all of Milwaukee.

So, yes, we need more police -- in other parts of the city, too, to keep the safe areas safe.

Dad29 said...

Anony, for the record, I do not LIKE the rationale I proposed...but like Rick, I don't understand the silence, either.

It's possible, too, that the root-causes are what those eeeeeevil Conservatives have been saying for years: no father-figure, little discipline, non-completion of HS.

IN that case, what's an Alderman to do?

Anonymous said...

Hey Dad - you answer a question with a question: "the root-causes are what those eeeeeevil Conservatives have been saying for years: no father-figure, little discipline, non-completion of HS."

What are the causes for these conditions where they exist? You highlight the problem; the rightwing "discussion" of violence and general disorder doesn't go anywhere. It simply declares that things should be different; it doesn't begin to ask why they are how they are currently.

Dad29 said...

No, it's not a question. It's a statement of fact.

Peer-reviewed research, printed on bazillions of dead trees, tells us that 1) illegitimacy and 2) lack of HS education lead to serious sociopathies. Obviously it is not true for EVERY case, but the stats are clear. Go here: http://www.worldcongress.org/ and dig around a bit.

What Hines, Barrett, and other political figures CAN do is to re-institute the concept of 'shame,' of course--but they haven't. It would be helpful if 'religious figures' would do the same--but they haven't.

We have not only made licit that which should not be so--we have entirely given up on moral suasion.

Hell, moral suasion worked on Larry Craig...

Anonymous said...

Funniest line in a long time, Dad. Yeh, it was moral suasion that moved him to repent. Oh, that's right, he didn't repent; he's denying it all.

Maybe you meant that it was moral suasion that moved GOP leaders to move him . . . uh, no, that was political expediency. . . .

So maybe we need to see national leadership showing a sense of shame -- about the Craig incident, about lying to Congress, about many other misuses of power -- before we can expect it to be emulated.

Dad29 said...

No, anony, that's not quite complete.

I think that we should, once again, draw clear lines about immoral conduct and use shame as a lever.

In other words, let's get past the Left's vapid rants about 'hypocrisy' and say it outright: what's immoral deserves reproach.

That's what nailed Craig.

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