Touré F. Reed writes: After shutting down a Bernie Sanders speech at a Seattle rally for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, Black Lives Matter activist Marissa Johnson declared to MSNBC’s Tamron Hall that she was motivated by a desire to hold liberal candidates accountable.
This is more than understandable. Despite boosting progressives’ expectations, President Obama has continued to prosecute a shadowy global “war on terror,” undermined public education by promoting charter schools, and reneged on promises to organized labor for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and to the American public for a truly universal health care system.
All this has certainly made clear the importance of holding putative liberals to their rhetoric, even for someone as young as Johnson, whose progressive political awakening only dates back to Trayvon Martin’s murder in 2012 at the hands of sociopathic vigilante George Zimmerman.
On some level, then, Johnson’s circumspection about Sanders and Gov. Martin O’Malley (no word on Clinton) could be considered encouraging, even if her decision to hijack the Sanders rally falls somewhere between arrogant (she represents no constituency to speak of) and politically misguided — many black lives, including both of my grandmothers’, have benefited greatly from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for decades.
If we could chalk up Johnson’s actions in Seattle to youthful hubris, this incident could be easily dismissed. However, as the interview on MSNBC continued, Johnson laid out a problematic perspective that has spread through the universe of activists, political operatives, and pundits plugged into Black Lives Matter. [Continue reading…]