It is an understatement to say there were mixed feelings here in my city upon the announcement of a presidential visit following the horrific massacre of police by a murderous monster inspired by Black Lives Matter.
This is sad. We should be able to unify in appreciation for the inherently proper gesture of such a visit on such an occasion. But few things are as they should be here.
We should have the ability to sanely discuss racial disparities in law enforcement without reflex assumptions that every black suspect’s death at the hands of police must automatically bear a racial component.
We should have the assurance that swarms of protesters taking to the streets to condemn all police would be met with a unified scolding against such slander.
Instead, we hear from some in the media and in government, all the way to the White House, that the hate spewed in a full-throated war on police may actually have a point.
I have written locally about my hope for President Obama to come here with only the helpful words he has spoken so far: his proper identification of the massacre as a “vicious, calculated, despicable attack on law enforcement,” his words of comfort for the families of the fallen and for our area, and his support for Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who so powerfully called for an end to the poisonous atmosphere between our police and our citizens.
But while our nation fully favors accountability for police misconduct verified by facts and evidence, the segment of America painting wildly inaccurate pictures of a racist American police culture gets not just a free pass but a supportive embrace from the administration. This weighs down any pretty words of support he may share on Tuesday.
What we need from America’s first president of color are calls for restraint directed at those who would answer recent controversial shootings with violent overreaction. The Black Lives Matter war on police is not merely waged by blacks; it is taken up by haters of all colors who have adopted vile biases against the officers who walk into harm’s way every day to protect them.
Americans across a broad spectrum would follow a president who calls for a serious, thorough examination of police shootings to divine which ones may have been escalated by racial animus. But that’s not the president who pays us a visit Tuesday.
The President who visits us will bring multiple distractions sure to dilute the goodwill we sorely need. Even if he spares us the language he has invoked before, he wears it the moment he gets off the plane.
He wears the needless sideshow of gun control, the instinctive lurch toward disarming law-abiding Americans that he brings to every news story involving violence.
And even more broadly, he wears the most damaging message any parent can hear: that black children need to hear “the conversation,” the wholly concocted warning that they will enter adulthood facing an America filled with malicious racist cops just itching to pop them on a whim.
These are the lies of Black Lives Matter, whose very name presumes the falsehood that our heroes in police uniforms somehow lack that value.
Amid our current pain, there is good news to be found. Much of it has been on display here around me, where North Texans of every racial and political stripe have united to condemn the hate that has been visited upon us.
Yet here comes a president who has coddled those poisonous views, and who will surely fail to restrain them. The president who will berate any American he deems guilty of his view of Islamophobia will say nothing to scold the haters who would paint our law enforcement officers as a coven of racist ill intent.
If the president pleasantly surprises me by leaving his opportunistic index cards aboard Air Force One, I will be the first to show appreciation.
In Dallas, Mr. President, we are waiting to hear from you. An opportunity for real leadership awaits.