There’s no doubt that there is underlying tension and unrest in many American cities, especially poverty-stricken neighborhoods. But what is really causing the protests and escalating violence? There’s a much bigger problem than racist police officers, and it starts at the highest level of government.
In a recent speech, President Obama said:
You have rural communities that have chronic poverty. You have manufacturing communities that got hit hard when plants closed and people lost jobs. There are not only cities but also suburbs where jobs can be tough to find and tougher to get to because of development patterns and lack of transportation options. And folks who do work, they're working harder than ever but sometimes don't feel like they can get ahead. And in some communities, that sense of unfairness and powerlessness has contributed to dysfunction in those communities.
You know, communities are like bodies. If the immunity system is down, they can get sick. And when communities aren't vibrant, where people don't feel a sense of hope and opportunity, then a lot of times that can fuel crime and that can fuel unrest. We've seen it in places like Baltimore and Ferguson and New York. And it has many causes from a basic lack of opportunity to some groups feeling unfairly targeted by their police forces. And that means there's no single solution. There have to be a lot of different solutions and different approaches that we try.
Glenn found the comments agonizing, and said that attitude is only causing the growing tension and unrest in cities like Baltimore.
"I just want to say. If you were told constantly that you are powerless, that you cannot make it, that everything is stacked against you - how would you feel?" Glenn asked.
"People are being told relentlessly, you can't do it. You won't make it. And then they put the federal regulation in between you and your pursuit of happiness so you can't make it," he said.
"That is what is fueling the unrest in this country. Is there is a fundamental unfairness that is happening with the federal government. Get the hell out of our lives! Americans -- you know, white and black aren't that different. Yes, we have different churches maybe. We have different things that are cultural, maybe, yes. We maybe speak slightly different. We have different upbringings. But we all basically want the same thing. We want to be able to make a decent living. We want to be with our families. Are there dirtbag white people? Yes. Are there dirtbag black people? Yes. Are there dirtbags that riot in the streets that happen to be black? Yes. Are there dirtbags that are white that happen to be in the cop car and kill black people just because they're black? Yes."
"Is that the norm? No! That's not the norm," Glenn said.