One thing an old Ivy League revolutionary can’t stand is people noticing that he represents the Establishment. That he embodies the System to a point where he can make it stop and make it go. He will go to great lengths to convince himself, if not others, this is not so.
Take Eric H. Holder Jr., Columbia College Class of 1973, Columbia Law School Class of 1976, now into his sixth year as U.S. attorney general of the Obama Imperium. The man really wants us to think he also is not “the man.”
Yes, he is “the attorney general of the United States,” as Holder told a group of St. Louis Community College students in Ferguson, Missouri, this week. “But I am also a black man.”
Holder took himself to Ferguson to spur the federal civil rights probe by more than 40 FBI agents into the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black, by 28-year-old police officer Darren Wilson, who is white. As the Justice chief declared at local FBI headquarters: “We’re looking for possible violations of federal civil rights statutes.”
Even the dark suits and American flags fail to obscure the 21st-century lynch mob at work. According to the snap judgment of federal and state authorities, Wilson shot the 6-foot-4, 292-pound man multiple times for “racist” reasons. The other story out there gathering reportorial mass is that Wilson fired as Brown charged him after having beaten Wilson to the point of fracturing his orbital socket and rendering the six-year veteran cop nearly unconscious, but, heavens, don’t let what’s quaintly known as the judicial process function unimpeded to ascertain the facts. Keep that media circus going because the nation’s top cop is ringmaster.
Holder’s remarks continue. “I think about my time in Georgetown – a nice neighborhood of Washington,” he added, grossly underselling Washington’s fabled section for WASP bluebloods – “and I am running to a picture movie at about 8 o’clock at night. I am running with my cousin. Police car comes driving up, flashes his lights, yells, ‘Where you going? Hold it!’ I say, ‘Woah, I’m going to a movie.’ Now my cousin started mouthing off. I’m like, ‘This is not where we want to go. Keep quiet.’ I’m angry and upset. We negotiate the whole thing and we walk to our movie. At the time that he stopped me, I was a federal prosecutor. ... So I’ve confronted this myself.”
The point is not simply that Holder’s experiences are not racially unique. Nor is it that he seems to be using them to feign “street cred” with young people less privileged than he.
What should outrage every American is the spectacle of an attorney general serving not the principle and practice of the law, but rather using his considerable powers and influence to scapegoat a policeman who is presumed innocent, who hasn’t been charged, let alone tried. Serving to perpetuate racial animosity, not justice, the U.S. attorney general is leading the rush to judgment.
• Diana West’s latest book is “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character” from St. Martin’s Press. She blogs at dianawest.net, and she can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @diana_west_.