Thursday, March 03, 2016

Slap-Downs, Real and Political

Too little too late? Mittens takes on Trump
Was it determination or desperation that prompted the Republican party to dispatch 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to deliver a public take-down of Donald Trump during a speech earlier today?

The transcript of Romeny's comments were posted on the New York Times Website if you didn't get a chance to hear the whole thing.

Politically speaking it was a pretty good speech aimed straight at the collective conservative conscience that challenged the GOP to decide pretty quickly just what kind of party they really want to be in the 21st century.  

Romney may have delivered the speech, but there's little question that he spoke for the entire Republican establishment, and what remains of a dying American species known as the moderate conservative.

The only question is whether the GOP waited too long to wake up and address the fact that they've allowed the angry Tea Party extremists and Trump to drag the party down to the lowest common denominator of politics, ethics and class.

It should make tonight's Republican presidential debate that much livelier.

Regardless, Romney stepped up to the plate and delivered an old-school slap-down to a buffoonish loud mouth who's been asking for it.

Mittens' political slap-down of Trump was nothing  compared to the actual physical slap-down delivered to the face of an as-yet unnamed 16-year-old black high school student in Baltimore by a uniformed member of the Baltimore School Police.

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, the two officers were called to the REACH Partnership School in Clifton Park after two unidentified young men (later determined not to be students) were reported on school property.

The two officers removed the two from the school grounds, but at some point, one of the two officers got into a violent confrontation with a 16-year-old male student in the hallway of the school.

At least some portion of the officer slapping and kicking the student was caught on video tape and posted on Facebook before it was broadcast on a local TV station; the story then blew up and went national.

Video still of Baltimore officer slapping 16 year-old student
The shocking video of a Baltimore School officer slapping and kicking a young high school student is a disturbing reminder of the propensity of the American law enforcement community to treat young people of color with a level of physical violence that is disparate and totally out of proportion.

It's reminiscent of the incident in McKinney, Texas last summer when police corporal Eric Casebolt violently threw 15-year-old Dajerria Becton to the ground while breaking up a pool party - BBQ at a community pool.

If you look at either of those videos, it's important to ask how you would feel if that was your 15 or 16 -year-old son or daughter, niece or nephew?

Would a student misbehaving in the hallways of a high school in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Potomac, Maryland, Beverly Hills, California or West Windsor, New Jersey be subjected to that kind of physical abuse?

The officer's conduct is repugnant.

Especially considering that his job was to keep the school and its students, safe - not physically abuse them.

As Maryland's highest court weighs the critical question of whether BPD officer William Porter can be compelled to testify against the other officers charged in the April 25, 2015 death of Freddie Gray while in the custody of BPD officers, the investigation into the conduct of the Baltimore School Police is an unfortunate and disturbing reminder of the disparate treatment of people of color by some members of law enforcement.

Donald Trump may get slapped around at this evening's GOP presidential debates, but certainly not like that 16-year-old boy in Baltimore in the hallway of his own school.

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