To quote the cheery, lighted banner twinkling though the tear gas in Ferguson on Monday night, “Season’s Greetings, America.”
It is so wonderful in these troubling times that town elders and the politicians who are running this show didn’t hang up something offensive, like “Happy Thanksgiving.” Or “Merry Christmas.”
“Season’s Greetings” just hits that sweet spot, like sugared holiday cookies that celebrate everybody’s special season, made-up or not. Cookies shaped like Stars of David, the continent of Africa, Christmas trees, crescent moons and fists of black power.
That’s when you really have a parade! It’s enough to bring tears to your eyes. Which is why everybody brought along their gas masks.
Now I realize that some in the media have taken grave exception to people referring to the riots in Ferguson as the “Ferguson riots.” And I must say that I agree with them. They really are not the “Ferguson riots.”
They are the “Obama riots.”
President Barack Obama will forever rightly hold a distinguished place in American history. That can never be taken away from him.
But it is also true that he owns every single bit of these riots over the tragic killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. He owns the discontent. He owns the ignorance. He owns the mayhem. He owns the looting.
This rioting, it’s not about Ferguson. It’s not about Michael Brown. It’s not about Darren Wilson.
After all, an independent grand jury evaluated all the evidence, heard from all the witnesses and asked every question 12 responsible Americans could possibly think up. And they determined that, however unfortunate, Brown’s death was not a police murder.
The American grand jury system is not perfect and has not always been above and beyond corruption. But this system of justice works better than any other system of justice devised by man. And the fact that all these looting rioters haven’t the faintest knowledge of this proves that Mr. Obama has personally failed miserably at educating and leading the very people he swears he wants to help the most.
The truth is that these riots are about so much more than Brown. They are about the monstrous discontent over every aspect of life for so many people finally boiling over.
Mr. Obama ran and won two presidential campaigns on promises that he would heal these very people. It was either stupidity or dishonesty to make such reckless promises to such vulnerable people just to win a couple of political elections.
The rioting lays bare the complete failure that is this presidency. In the end, the only thing this president has accomplished is proving that the American people, for all their flaws, would elect a black president. And then re-elect him despite a very disappointing first four years.
Nothing better encapsulated Mr. Obama’s personal failure like the split screens carried on every channel showing the president addressing the situation from the White House alongside images of the situation unfolding in Ferguson.
“We are a nation built on the rule of law,” he said as protesters smashed the windows of a police cruiser and rocked it back and forth, trying to tip it over.
“We do have work to do here,” he said as protesters surged toward police lines and smoke began billowing toward them.
And the police, Mr. Obama said, “they need to work with the community, not against the community.” Meanwhile, hissing canisters of tear gas skittered down the street.
The protesters, they must understand, justice “won’t be done by throwing bottles.” Just then, somebody gets hit in the head with a bottle.
This, the president said, is “an opportunity for us to seize the moment and turn this into a positive situation.”
Beside him, on the screen, a reporter is trying to talk into the camera, wearing a gas mask. “If we can get some water,” the reporter chokes.
Another reporter asks on air for the network to invest in better gas masks.
Luckily for everyone, President Obama took only one question and quickly exited the stage.
Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter at @charleshurt.