Hillary Rodham Clinton did not plan to make the first speech of her campaign about racial tension. However, with the growing level of violence which has been seen in the streets of locations like Baltimore, it is almost impossible to remain silent on the topic. In recent days, protests have spread around the country like wildfire, and there seems to be no end to the dissent in sight. She took the stand today and made her first political speech of the campaign trail, speaking about the lack of harmony and cohesion among American people. Clinton was pointedly aware of the issue of police violence, but following the incidence with Freddie Gray she had to address the subject. She knew that the subject of poverty, inequality and the recent deaths of many African-American men at the hands of police, were going to be a large theme in her campaign.
The nights of rioting, protesting, and fire hoses seem as though they should be something of the past. The protests and pepper grenades continue to be the norm throughout much of the United States since the initial case in Ferguson, Mo. The United States has continued to grow in fervor as many of the citizens who thought that this would be a different era with the election of Barrack Obama remain unhappy. Still, there are many problems which remain unsolved, which according to Clinton, is going to be a focal point of her campaign.
For the presidential hopeful, the issue of race and poverty is something she is very passionate about. In 1994, in Arkansas, there was an act passed called 994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. This law dedicated over $32 million of the state’s dollars to building new prisons and locking up drug offenders. The law has served as a failure in Arkansas, which has seen a significant rise in violent crime since it was passed. Although Clinton had before thought and supported the idea of cutting down on homicide and other crime with more police, she has now decided it is time to address the areas which no one feels comfortable discussing – wealth inequality and race inequality.
Due to the state of the riots in Baltimore, she thought it was time to address the issue and find a way to do so directly. Clinton wanted the first speech of her campaign to be the one that would kick off a time of equality and a time of peace for all Americans. She has decided that her campaign will be one that will discuss the issues which have divided Americans for hundreds of years and led to the current level of tension.
She lamented that the people on Main Street should not suffer while those on Wall Street lived like kings. She also added to her commitment to refocus on education and equality of opportunity for all Americans, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. Clinton, however, made it the initial speech of her campaign, raising the bar for the next generation of Americans to be able to interact together in harmony.
By Melissa English
Photo By East West Center Creativecommons Flicker License
Photo By Mike Mozart Creativecommons Flickr License