What do you want? #Ferguson & #Garner

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Rev. Al Sharpton Holds News Conference At National Action Network's Office

What do you want?  Seriously.  It’s the season for requesting and obtaining miracles I think it’s far past the time for a list of demands.


The trouble with populist movements is that while the outrage is genuine, concrete objectives are typically lacking.  There’s been a lot of populist outrage in recent years, very little of it successful.  Let’s see your goals be grand, or small.  I don’t care if you want something as simple as the right to sit where you like on a bus or as something as complicated as an end to world hunger, but you need a list.

#blacklivesmatter #handsupdontshoot

No one cares.  They don’t.  The people who genuinely believe this will not be moved by your hashtag, and the people who don’t believe it simply respond with #alllivesmatter See? they’ve got a catchy hastag too. So at the moment it sounds like your trying to make the world feel sorry for you.  Ooookay.  It worked.  Success! Now what?  I don’t think sympathy is going to prevent the next police attack.  If you don’t know what it is you want, go home.  You can scream, shout, weep, march, carry signs demanding justice but justice is ephemeral.  It’s abstract.  There is no justice in this world, but if you have thoughts on reforming the court systems the country would like to hear them.  But I don’t hear a proposal.  I hear the same firebrand speeches from the same firebrand “leaders” that we’ve heard for 30 years.  If black leaders had an ounce of integrity they’d resign from whatever posts they currently possess because they’re lying to you.  The speeches and marches and rabble rousing have more to do with creating a cult of personality than effective positive changes for black and other minority communities.  In short, they don’t know what they’re doing either.

It’s been pointed out to me that true black leaders tend to get assassinated.  Let me ask you a question.  Who is the CEO of ALEC?  If you shot him, would it matter all that much?  The Heritage Foundation? The CATO Group?  If you’ve never heard of these organizations or don’t know what they do, congratulations, you’ve let conservative white America win without credible opposition.  It’s easy to blame problems on conspiracy and racism.  It’s much harder to blame failings of your own leadership.  To know that if your leaders weren’t completely useless, incompetent and more than a little crazy you might make tangible improvements in government.

But it’s not just minorities.  Remember the Occupy movement.  Same deal.  Huge groundswell of populist sentiment.  Really fantastic news coverage, great use of social media.  Got zilch for their efforts.  Why? They didn’t ask for anything!  What the occupiers wanted was a vague collection of campaign finance reform and something about wealth inequality.  They got nothing.  If everyone who had come out to march had donated $10 to a credible lobbying firm that had the expertise to write legislation and guided through congress they could have achieved something.  They didn’t.

After Sandy Hook and other school shootings there was a massive outpouring of community sorrow and rage and what happened?  gun control was rolled back in a dozen states and soundly defeated on the national level?  Why? because the NRA is the only lobbying firm active.  Because congress and state legislatures know that the NRA will deliver not only the money but the votes of millions of crazy gun nuts.

If black, liberal, and other minority groups want to accomplish anything they’re going to have draft a list of legislative demands and then turn out en mass to vote on them.  You managed to turn people out to rally for your useless marches are you saying you can’t get people out to vote on something that will actually make a difference?


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