When you know the roof is about to blow off the old outhouse, you might be reluctant to admit you dug the hole.
According to an audio recording posted by The Guardian Monday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon looked like Clint Eastwood staring into the sun, sucking on lemon juice in front of some dirty punks when asked whether he is the end-all-be-all authority in charge of policing the demonstrations that are likely to overrun Ferguson, Missouri, as a result of the grand jury’s decision regarding the Michael Brown shooting last August.
The recording comes from a press conference held by Nixon in which he discusses the recent state of emergency he declared only hours earlier, just in case Darren Wilson is set free (wink wink). The State of Emergency for Ferguson, enacted by Nixon, will span 30 days due to “the possibility of expanded unrest.”
Police departments across the country are gearing up for the potential unrest due to the verdict-that-shall-not-be-mentioned likely before us. ABC News has also reported that the FBI is doing its part to fan the tense racial flames flickering about the country as a result of not just the Michael Brown shooting, but numerous other murders of young black men for the most trivial of reasons over the last few years, from selling loose cigarettes to walking down the street with iced tea and Skittles in their hands. Many Americans have had enough and are ready to stand up and say so, yet the FBI presents it all as “extremists” who will likely try to utilize peaceful protests as a cover to carry out “threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical infrastructure.”
The FBI seems to forget that all this violence they are worried about was instigated by those they are politically positioning as victims – the police. There is a cause, and there is an effect. Like Jack White sings, “You can’t take the effect, and make it the cause.”
Many accuse Nixon, and rightly so, of increasing tension between the community and authorities by warning protestors against violence while simultaneously turning the cheek to overly violent law enforcement against those very protestors, as well as the media
At the state of emergency press conference, Huffington Post’s Matthew Sledge asked:
Given that you’ve declared the state of emergency and you’ve put the Highway Patrol on the unified command, does the buck ultimately stop with you when it comes to how many protests are policed?
Nixon responded like the curtain had just been drawn back on the Wizard of Oz:
It, uh… our goal here is to keep the peace, and allow folks’ voices to be heard. And in that balance, I’m attempting, you know… I am using the resources we have to marshal to be predictable for both those pillars.
Considering the racial and social dynamics in this country as a whole which have culminated in the present situation, it remains debatable whether “predictable” is a good thing to expect from law enforcement, especially when coupled with the recent FBI report released on police violence over the last year.
I just will have to say, I don’t spend a tremendous amount of time personalizing this vis-a-vis me. I’m trying to make sure that we move forward in a predictable, peaceful manner that plans for all contingencies that might occur, so that people of a disparate group of opinions and actions can be heard while the same time, the property and persons in the St. Louis region are protected. I prefer not to be a commentator on it. I make the decisions, you know, to make sure that we’re prepared for all contingencies.
While dancing around the question like a clumsy Fred Astaire, eventually Nixon’s response did admit:
I make the decisions, you know, to make sure that we’re prepared for all contingencies.
Just in case you missed that actual answer to the question, buried beneath all that, “Well, you know, er, uh, ahem, etc.” Is it hot in here?
Noting that Nixon’s actual answer to his question had been hidden in plain earshot of the impatient public by the sheer length of his golly-shucks response (a typical technique employed for responses difficult to admit) Sledge hammered at Nixon for a more concise response.
Is there any one official or agency ultimately in charge here in terms of response?
But again, Nixon stammered forth his answer like Mr. Magoo in a corn maze:
Clearly, I… I feel good about the – we worked hard to established unified command, to outline responsibilities. And now, with the additional assets provided by my order today of the Missouri National Guard, we’ve worked through a number of operational issues that the folks had. I’ll only say that our efforts today are on top of… a lot of things have been done the last 100 days to make sure we’re prepared for any contingency.
Hey, there’s nothing like bringing in the National Guard and failing to shoo the Klan away from public support of your agenda to send waves of peace and good faith through the community, is there?
State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal sent a letter to President Obama in response to Nixon’s state of emergency announcement urging the President to put the National Guard under federal control while deployed to Ferguson. In the letter, Chappelle wrote:
Thus far the state of Missouri has proven ill-equipped to handle this explosive and tragic situation. With the state-controlled National Guard on the way, I am concerned about the potential for an incident similar to Kent State occurring, only worse.
Let us all hold our breath and hope that such an incident does not come to fruition, though sadly, it is easier to believe that will occur than that the authorities in Ferguson, and the system itself, will stop long enough to reflect on its own roles and racism that has brought all this about in the first place.
These times need a-changin’.
Listen to the audio below: