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Trump lets Black Lives Matter have it
"Bad for our country."
You've probably seen the liberal rejoinder to this argument over the past several days. It's not racist to say black lives matter, so goes the argument, because the statement isn't intended to imply that other lives don't matter. It's simply intended to emphasize the value of black lives at a time when too many are being treated like they don't matter.
And I would offer qualified agreement with the statement, too. Pointing out that black lives matter is not inherently racist if it's based on the notion that people think otherwise. The problem with Black Lives Matter is not the name, which to me is unobjectionable, but the fact that the real agenda of its leaders appears to have little to do with what the name suggests.
And that's where I suspect Donald Trump will find a lot of agreement from the American public even as he gets blasted by the news media for pointing it out:
Trump also had harsh words for the Black Lives Matters movement, which has organized some of the protests. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Trump adviser, labeled the group “inherently racist” over the weekend in an interview with CBS News.
“When you say black lives matter, that’s inherently racist,” Giuliani said. “Black lives matter. White lives matter. Asian lives matter. Hispanic lives matter. That’s anti-American and it’s racist.”
Asked whether he agreed with Giuliani’s assessment, Trump said the group’s name is “divisive.”
“A lot of people agree with that. A lot of people feel that it is inherently racist. And it’s a very divisive term,” he said. “Because all lives matter. It’s a very, very divisive term.”
Trump added that has heard some Black Lives Matter activists say “horrible, horrible things about police and about others.”
“And certainly if they’re going to allow that to go along rhetorically, this is not a good thing for our country,” he said.
Trump was even stronger in his demand that hostility toward police come to an end immediately, and he did offer the usual politicians' happy talk about the situation in the streets this summer:
“When President Obama said the other day that he doesn’t think it’s as bad as people think, I think it’s far worse and certainly far worse than he believes it is,” Trump said. “We are in a divided nation. I looked two nights ago and you were having trouble in 11 different cities, big, big trouble. And the press actually plays it down.
“I mean, you were having big, big trouble in many cities. And I think that might be just the beginning for this summer.”
I don't think the media are playing down the unrest. They eat it up and can't get enough of it. But they are playing down just how violent the disturbances are. Over the weekend there were demonstrations in multiple cities in which protesters blocked entire highways and motorists couldn't get through. You didn't hear much about that from the media. If Trump means to say that they media are whitewashing some of the uglier aspects of these things, he's absolutely right about that.
He's also right about Black Lives Matters as an organization, and he's challenging a taboo in the media that pretends BLM is nothing more than exactly what its name suggests, rather than the radical organization it is that harnesses the energy of its, in most cases, well-meaning supporters to incite violence against the police. Tomi Lahren is catching heat over at The Blaze for saying the exact same thing. But it needs to be said. These incidents are not cropping up for no reason. People are encouraging the anger that leads to them, and they're doing so because they have their own agenda that the violence helps to advance.
It's dicey to tell the truth about Black Lives Matter because the average person who's only paying attention on the periphery thinks you're saying black lives don't matter. And there's nothing they'll hear on the evening news that will help them understand that's not what this movement is really all about. But the truth has to be told, and if there's one thing you have to like about Trump, it's that he's not afraid to say what other politicians are terrified to say.
There's a lot of conventional wisdom that Trump can't be a "unifying" candidate at a time like this. I disagree. Unity has to start with a willingness to embrace the truth, and that can't happen unless someone is first willing to tell the truth.