Don’t Let a Crisis go to Waste: Presidential Contenders Weigh In on Baltimore Riots

Another month goes by and another black man has died at the hands of the police — almost as if the clock that counts the days since the last killing of an unarmed minority in America went back to zero. Naturally, political networks and pundits could not wait to weigh in on how the riots in Baltimore are a prime example that reinforces their world view.

While both candidates condemned the riots and violence that have gripped the city in recent days, Hilary Clinton and Rand Paul had distinctively different approaches to the problem.

Rand Paul was first up to bat when he made an appearance on the Laura Ingraham Show. Instead of the militarization of the police or the racial inequality of the justice system, a subject that Paul has previously acknowledged, the Kentucky senator decided to pull the family values card out of the Pat Buchanan playbook.

“There are so many things we can talk about: the breakdown of the family structure, the lack of fathers, the lack of a moral code in our society.” – U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

No racism here — just fatherless youths who are breaking the law. This comes in spite of recent evidence of non-fatherless youths exhibiting unlawful behavior. But I digress.

Next up was Hillary Clinton, who used her time at a recent Colombia University panel to comment on the recent events in Baltimore. The former senator and secretary of state started her speech with a direct challenge to the perception that we are in a post-racial era.

“We have to come to terms with some hard truths about race and justice in America.” – Hillary Clinton

Clinton’s speech ran down a list of deaths that have dominated the American news cycle, while also drawing attention to the racial inequity of the justice system in many communities:

“There is something profoundly wrong when African American men are still far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms than are meted out to their white counterparts.”

Whether you agree with these statements or not, the fact that these conversations are happening at the presidential candidate level instead of email threads with your racist uncle are a sign of progress. America does need to recognize that we do have a problem that we can not push under the rug any longer.