I've suggested before that 2016 is beginning to look more and more like 1968. This is true in terms of the presidential contests—on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders is Eugene McCarthy, Hillary Clinton is Lyndon Johnson, Joe Biden will be Hubert Humphrey, and (the big question!) Elizabeth Warren could be Bobby Kennedy; and on the Republican side, where Donald Trump is "a kind of cartoon version of Richard Nixon."
But the reason our politics looks like 1968 is that our broader social condition is increasingly reminiscent of 1968. This was brought home in remarks Saturday by Houston district attorney Devon Anderson, after the shooting of Harris County sheriff's deputy Darren Goforth.
"Anderson...said the criticism of police had gotten out of hand: 'It is time for the silent majority in this country to support law enforcement,' she told reporters at a news conference."
"The silent majority." The phrase is back, and rightly so. I'm pretty sure the silent majority does support law enforcement, and will speak up. But isn't it time for political leaders to speak for and support the silent majority? Donald Trump claims to do so. Can't the Republican party do better? Won't some other Republican candidate—a current contender, or someone not yet in the race—emerge to speak convincingly for middle America?
After all, when GOP candidates did aim to speak for the silent majority, they won 5 of 6 straight presidential elections (1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, and 1988). Since then they've lost the popular vote 5 of 6 times—with the one exception being when George W. Bush came closest to being a silent-majority-type candidate in 2004. Obviously, the phrase won't be enough. There will have to be a re-thinking of Republican and conservative orthodoxy, something both Nixon and Reagan were willing to do. I'd prefer more of a Reaganite than a Nixonian re-thinking. But either way, the time is right and the moment is now.
Speaking of New York, The Scrapbook was walking through Central Park the other day when a police car came cruising down one of the interior roads. As it rolled by, almost as an afterthought, its loudspeakers blared “The sign says don’t walk!” and the car leisurely disappeared around the next corner. In a similar situation and even more recently, a cop car approached a group of cyclists, an electronically amplified voice blared “Use the bike path!” and then the car sped off.
Over the weekend, the New York Times weighed in on an important issue facing the city of New York. It seems that the fairer sex, despite making up about half the city’s population, constitutes merely a third of the users of the city’s bikeshare system.
According to the Times’s observer on Eighth Avenue, the situation is dire. “Man after man pedaled by, some in suits, others in jeans. From time to time, a woman on a Citi Bike rode by.”
New York City police chief Bill Bratton is worried about ISIS. So worried, in fact, that he's going to assign 450 New York Police Department cops to fight terrororism that may come from the Islamic State.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie will be sending New Jersey cops to Baltimore. The Republican governor made the announcement on Twitter.
"I spoke directly with Maryland Governor @LarryHogan last night and let him know that New Jersey is offering our full support & solidarity," Christie tweeted. "…in their efforts to protect the lives and well-being of the people in the city of Baltimore while calm and order are being restored. Following my conversation with Gov @LarryHogan, the @NJSP placed an assessment team on the ground in Maryland.
CNN political commentator Marc Lamont Hill advised that "we should be strategic in how we riot."
"I'm not saying we should see the destruction of black communities as positive. I'm saying that we can't have too narrow a conception of what the destruction of black communities mean," said Hill. "I think we should strategic in how we riot."
Baltimore police are warning that there is a "credible threat" to "take-out" law enforcement officers, according a press release from the Baltimore Police Department.
"The Baltimore Police Department / Criminal Intelligence Unit has received credible information that members of various gangs including the Black Guerilla Family, Blood, and Crips have entered into a partnership to 'take-out' law enforcement officers," the warning reads.
The green-lipstick wearing interviewer of President Barack Obama expressed her concern that the "po-po" (meaning: police officer) might shoot and kill her husband. The interviewer, GloZell Green, made the remarks to the president in an "interview" held today at the White House:
A "die-in" protest greeted Democratic Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar yesterday in St. Paul, Minnesota, at an event marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Other notable politicians present include Governor Mark Dayton and Rep. Keith Ellison.
Local photographer Ben Garvin posted a picture of the protest on Twitter: