Obama Goes Off And Demands Americans Confront The Issues Behind The Baltimore Riots


President Obama went off when asked about the riot in Baltimore and delivered a strong dose of truth by demanding that the American people step up and confront the issues behind the Baltimore riot.



The President said:

We can’t just leave this to the police. I think there are police departments that have to do some soul searching. I think there are some communities that have to do some soul searching. But I think we, as a country, have to do some soul searching. This is not new. It’s been going on for decades.

And without making any excuses for criminal activities that take place in these communities, what we also know is that if you have impoverished communities that have been stripped away of opportunity, where children are born into abject poverty; they’ve got parents — often because of substance-abuse problems or incarceration or lack of education themselves — can’t do right by their kids; if it’s more likely that those kids end up in jail or dead, than they go to college. In communities where there are no fathers who can provide guidance to young men; communities where there’s no investment, and manufacturing has been stripped away; and drugs have flooded the community, and the drug industry ends up being the primary employer for a whole lot of folks — in those environments, if we think that we’re just going to send the police to do the dirty work of containing the problems that arise there without as a nation and as a society saying what can we do to change those communities, to help lift up those communities and give those kids opportunity, then we’re not going to solve this problem. And we’ll go through the same cycles of periodic conflicts between the police and communities and the occasional riots in the streets, and everybody will feign concern until it goes away, and then we go about our business as usual.

If we are serious about solving this problem, then we’re going to not only have to help the police, we’re going to have to think about what can we do — the rest of us — to make sure that we’re providing early education to these kids; to make sure that we’re reforming our criminal justice system so it’s not just a pipeline from schools to prisons; so that we’re not rendering men in these communities unemployable because of a felony record for a nonviolent drug offense; that we’re making investments so that they can get the training they need to find jobs. That’s hard. That requires more than just the occasional news report or task force. And there’s a bunch of my agenda that would make a difference right now in that.

Now, I’m under no illusion that out of this Congress we’re going to get massive investments in urban communities, and so we’ll try to find areas where we can make a difference around school reform and around job training, and around some investments in infrastructure in these communities trying to attract new businesses in.

But if we really want to solve the problem, if our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could. It’s just it would require everybody saying this is important, this is significant — and that we don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns, and we don’t just pay attention when a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped. We’re paying attention all the time because we consider those kids our kids, and we think they’re important. And they shouldn’t be living in poverty and violence.

That’s how I feel. I think there are a lot of good-meaning people around the country that feel that way. But that kind of political mobilization I think we haven’t seen in quite some time. And what I’ve tried to do is to promote those ideas that would make a difference. But I think we all understand that the politics of that are tough because it’s easy to ignore those problems or to treat them just as a law and order issue, as opposed to a broader social issue.

Before anyone twists the President’s remarks into a blaming of the police, one of the first points that Obama made was, “My thoughts are with the police officers who were injured in last night’s disturbances. It underscores that that’s a tough job, and we have to keep that in mind, and my hope is that they can heal and get back to work as soon as possible.”

The President raised a point that conservatives who are trying to dodge accountability refused to accept. What happened in Baltimore isn’t a symptom of federal government problem. It isn’t just a problem in minority communities and law enforcement. It isn’t an urban problem because we have seen this issue crop up in communities large and small all over the country. It is a societal problem, and it will be solved when society decides to come together and do something about it.

It is a problem of inequality, injustice, and inopportunity. This is a problem that has a solution, but getting there involves everyone being accountable.

Republicans are passing the buck and trying to blame President Obama, but this isn’t a partisan game. Obama is demanding something better out of all Americans because one Freddie Gray and one Baltimore riot is one too many.

22 Replies to “Obama Goes Off And Demands Americans Confront The Issues Behind The Baltimore Riots”

  1. The more his lame duck presidency progresses, the more I like this guy. IMHO, it is too bad he didn’t talk and act like this in 2008 and 2012. This was the man we progressives hoped to have elected, rather than the ‘great compromiser’ he ended up becoming.

  2. He expected good faith where there was none, and support from his own party where there was very little (it wasn’t “cool” to be seen at the same cafeteria table with the black man in the White House)

  3. This man is the most honorable president of my lifetime.He has taken every bit of s**t hurled at him and responded with dignity and grace.We are lucky to have him

  4. President Obama is a politician. Politics, by definition, is the art of compromise. If he had said these things at the start of his presidency, he would have been quickly labelled an angry black man, and he would not have been able to accomplish all that he has.
    I’m a progressive myself, but I’m also a realist and know that those issues I cherish are accomplished in increments. Now that he has fewer than 18 months left in office, he feels free to tell the American people the way things should be as he sees them. It’s up to you all to help him along.
    I’m stuck with a wannabe republican up here in the Great White North, but with an election due in the fall, I’ll be working very hard to ensure Harper is not re-elected.

  5. …”we, as a country, have to do some soul searching…”

    In Arizona Joe Arpaio, the toughest sheriff in the country, is in court for corruption, contempt, harrasing the minorities, spying on the judges, costing the county millions of $$ on bogus lawsuits.
    Leaving no $$ to keep the swimming pools open for poor kids, when they could use year round, and stay out of trouble.

    Instead the sheriff dept. patrols the elementary schools and create harrasment and a police estate for the minority parents.

    The sheriff stays because he panders to the fears of the old white voters (from the midwest) that keep him in power.

  6. It is a society problem the trouble is the majority of society doesn’t want to face the truth.

    You hear the usual excuses, slavery was over in 1865, my parents were immigrants and even though they was hated they made it. Why bring that up you just like Al Sharpton and race baiting. YADA, YADA, YADA

    Unfortunately America is not ready for that conversation. Too much money is being made on this system. You have towns instead of taxes on all its citizens have a black tax to keep their cities running. The Prison Industrial Complex is massive. So massive that its estimated turnover of $74 billion eclipses the GDP of 133 nations. https://smartasset.com/insights/the-economics-of-the-american-prison-system
    You think they are going to give that up?

    Its like blacks are like the human batteries in the Matrix. And to keep the machine running we will continue to be fodder. To hell with whats right

  7. The Police Supe in Chicago is going on a listening tour in every district to listen to the community and the district commanders and police in the area. I think it’s a brilliant idea. Then he’s going to report back to the Mayor.

    One thing I don’t get is this: Why doesn’t twitter shut down these gathering sites like they do the child molester sites? I think social media is enablers and complicit in their support of mobs of people getting online and being destructive.

  8. This is a good read
    How Police Helped Spark Riot
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    These don’t look like cops, they look like an invading military force. How would it make you feel if large numbers of police that looked like this suddenly showed up in your local town or community on a day when you and other residents were dealing with the grief of a family’s loss caused by the very same police force? What did the appearance of heavily armed, paramilitary style police units in the neighborhoods tell the people who live in West Baltimore about what the “authorities” expected to happen?

  9. what shocks me is that this has not happened earlier. How long can an oppressed people with no hope of making a better life for themselves by working hard be expected to put up with being controlled by a military state that just kills them to keep things running smoothly as the status quo?

    This has been decades in the making. Two decades since NAFTA was signed and they started to shut down all the good factory jobs. Not everyone is going to be a doctor or lawyer. What do average people do then?

    The Republikkans are forcing the society and the economy back to 19th century model where the vast majority of people work at less than subsistence pay so that the 1% can live in the lap of unimaginable luxury.

  10. Wow. That was powerful. And so very ugly. I feel hollow, disgusted, sad and angry as all hell. Please folks, take a few minutes if you can to read this. We must face the truth before we can fight to change it.

  11. Their shields are already upside down, so that you can read them better & know who is beating you down when you are on the ground…

  12. Allen:
    The NAFTA agreement has been equally devastating to the Mexican jobs, as the treaty did away with the protective policies, and it only benefited the Walmart
    look alikes, since they are able to flood the North American continent with cheap imports from China.
    The promised jobs never arrived, that is why there are even more people looking for jobs here and in the rest of NAFTA countries.
    Those unemployed even used to have business, such as growing coffee or making jam, but the cheap imports have gutted their dreams.


  14. I agree 1000%! (Not a typo :)) The s##t started before he was even inaugurated! And not just from Repubs either. Ten they had the gall to accuse HIM of being cold and not reactivity to them! Makes my hair stand on end. And we can’t even imagine what he’s gotten in the mail or overheard. I remember when one of those slime-balls called him “uppity.” I bet they added the N word on that too.

    President Obama isn’t just the only adult in the room – he is a man of amazing stature, Grace and intelligence. No wonder he drives the white supremacists stone cold nuts.

    I’m 70, and President Obama is by far the best man we have ever elected president. I’m proud to say I voted for him both times, and I’d vote for him again if it were possible. BRAVO, Mr. President!

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