We are better than that

Redistricting gives you a different view of the world.  It forces you to both compartmentalize others into their comfort zones while also pushing beyond your own comfort zone and .  You have to do the former to figure out what groups of people best fit together.  You have to do the latter to understand how all the puzzle pieces making up a state like California fit together.  And under current redistricting law those forces are no more powerful than when it comes to issues of race.

So when these sadly all too predictable eruptions of racial tension flair up, I feel more comfortable talking about them frankly than others.  Many fall into the trap of talking about the specific facts of Ferguson.  Was the cop justified or not?  That is a question that must be answered but is not the unanswered question this country has been hesitant to face for nearly fifty years. 

The real question is how does a country based on equality deal with circumstances when legal equality alone is not enough?  The shooting of Michael Brown was simply the match.  The fuse is a pattern where legal equality too often does not translate to equal justice.  One need look no further than the admission by Beverly Hills police that there were "breakdowns" in the arrest of a Hollywood producer whose only offense was being tall, bald and black

Don't get me wrong.  Law enforcement has an incredibly difficult job.  And more often than not they get it right.  The problem is that when they get it wrong, it disproportionately happens to people who look like Michael Brown and not like Michael Wagaman.  The problem is not that there were breakdowns in California or Missouri, but how often those breakdowns go unnoticed and unpublicized except when they happen to the powerful or end with tragic result.

It is not a police problem.  It is a societal problem.  And while I am not always the biggest fan of Hillary Clinton, she hit the nail on the head with the simple words, "We are better than that."