Yesterday, GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush, one of whose siblings is a war criminal (not saying which!), told a crowd in South Carolina that heated protests against police brutality in Ferguson and Baltimore were incited by “aimlessly wandering” kids without mentors.
When asked by an audience member how Bush planned to get “diehard Democrat” teachers to vote Republican, he brought up teachers’ unions, and how the school system is not focused on “outcomes for kids” but instead on the “economic interests of adults.” And then ended with:
“If you have kids, as we do in this country that are aimlessly wandering around in their lives because they’ve never been told that they were capable of learning. They’ve never been challenged to achieve far better. They’ve never really had the kind of mentoring and nurturing that gives them the sense their lives could be better. You see what happens in Baltimore and Ferguson. You see the tragedies play out. You see people that become so despondent they take actions that are horrific. And I think education is the answer to a lot of those problems.”
Bush’s statement is troubling for a number of reasons, the first of which is that it is mind-bogglingly stupid. It feeds the toxic right-wing cycle of thinking about underserved black communities in the US, the one that goes: If only kids like Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Reykia Boyd, and Jonathan Ferrell had someone—anyone!—to guide their hopeless lives down the right path, some father who was not absent, some mother who was not busy working two jobs to pay rent, a community that truly cared more for its young, then perhaps they would still be alive.
When Bush remarks, “You see what happens in Baltimore and Ferguson. You see the tragedies play out. You see people that become so despondent they take actions that are horrific,” he ignores—whether out of ignorance or political convenience—the real circumstances that led to these deaths, and subsequent protests: a system that mentors police to abuse power, and one that, for centuries, has prospered on lies, racism, and injustice.
Education is one answer, sure. But the real answer to these “tragedies” and “horrific” events is putting an end to an establishment that condones police violence and excessive force on innocent citizens. The solution is actually quite simple, Jeb: it is about putting an end to an establishment that fully believes in the destruction of black and brown bodies as a means of maintaining power.
[Image via Getty]