“We have to bring them to heel.” -Hillary Clinton speaking of at-risk youth, 1996
The race to become the Democratic nominee is tight, and the decision-making is beginning to lay largely in the hands of minorities.
Clinton is leading Bernie Sanders substantially among minority voters.
I’m not here to tell minority voters who to vote for. I’m not here to tell anyone they’ve been misinformed or undereducated. I’m not here to disregard or disrespect the opinions of Clinton supporters.
But the question, which was asked earlier this week by Ashley Williams, must be put on the table: Which Hillary?
Wednesday, Feb. 24, two Black Lives Matter activists interrupted a private fundraising event in Charleston, S.C. Williams, one of the two protestors, asked for a response, justification or apology to the African-American community for mass incarceration.
Instead, she received boos, became informed she was out of place and was escorted out as a self-assured Clinton mocked, “let’s get back to the issues.”
“Hillary Clinton has a pattern of throwing the black community under the bus when it serves her politically,“ Williams said before her protest. “She called our boys ‘super-predators’ in ’96, then she race-baited when running against Obama in ‘08, now she’s a lifelong civil rights activist. I just want to know which Hillary is running for President, the one from ’96, ’08, or the new Hillary?”
The Hillarys Williams refers to are massively different individuals.
We have the Hillary who supports gay marriage, after running opposed to it for over a decade leading up to 2013.
We have the Hillary who opposes the Keystone Pipeline, after years of denying a stance on it.
We have the Hillary who opposes the Cuban embargo, after years of praising it.
We have the Hillary who opposes No Child Left Behind, after voting for it in 2002.
We have the Hillary who opposes intervention in Iraq, after voting in approval of a war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives.
We have the Hillary that supports a living wage, after charging $225,000 for a single speech.
We have the Hillary who supports survivors of sexual assault, after calling her husband’s victim “trailer trash.”
We have the Hillary who wants to take down the big banks, while she won’t support reinstating regulatory legislation that her husband removed.
We have the Hillary who stands for average Americans, that still charges $2,700 entrance fees to speeches.
We have the Hillary who sympathizes with the black community, but took campaign donations from private prisons until 2015.
We have the Hillary who cares about the issues, yet can’t fit Black Lives Matter into her agenda.
The one who vows to listen to the needs of Americans, but kicks out the “first” black woman who disagrees with her.
“I can be nicked a lot, but no one can say I’m soft on crime.” -Bill Clinton, following the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a mentally impaired black man who had arguably no conception of his death.
The truth of the matter is that the Clintons have long rode off the minority vote without having to answer for their works in the criminal justice system.
During Bill’s presidency, the war on drugs was escalated immensely as he introduced the “three-strikes” law that disproportionately incarcerated African Americans.
After leaving office, the United States had the highest incarceration rate worldwide. No doubt, Bill was tough on crime and tougher on the black community.
Hillary didn’t sit by quietly. She was one of the most active First Ladies to walk through the White House, supporting the three-strike bill saying the infamous words that haunted her at the South Carolina gathering.
“They are not just gangs of kids anymore,” Hillary said of the wave of prisoners. “They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”
The issues that need to be addressed, the issues that she jumps to bring up now – education, quality of living, opportunity – were all missing in Hillary’s 1996 remarks.
Empathy and conscience are both missing as well.
But in recent years, Hillary champions herself as a protector of black lives and a progressive who’s ready to fight the disproportionate criminal justice system. What she never says, though, is how she’s partially responsible for its implementation.
So, we have two Hillarys. One: The Hillary who cares about the safety of every underprivileged American. Two: The Hillary who cares about the safety of her own campaign.
Which one are you voting for?