Black Lives Matter recently clashed with Bill Clinton during a speech, over the Clinton’s past revolving around criminal justice reform.
The group challenged the former President’s record and his and wife’s comments back in 1996. The former first lady said during a speech, “They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super predators.’ No conscience, no empathy, we can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”
Instead of apologizing immediately to his supporters Bill fired back by saying, “I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out onto the streets to murder other African-American children, maybe you thought they were good citizens. She didn’t.”
I’m no fan of the Black Lives Matter movement, but in this instance, they did have a valid point. The Clintons have been less than stellar on reform-minded criminal justice policies, and they’ve been blatantly dishonest about it during this campaign.
While some of the people the Clinton crime bill put away wholly deserved to be there, it also lumped in some people who didn’t—namely, non-violent offenders who went to prison when it wasn’t warranted. This ended up sucking taxpayer dollars to pay for their room, board, and medical expenses, and ruined a lot of black people’s lives in the process.
Prison is a place for real criminals, and while non-violent offenders aren’t necessarily the greatest example of an upstanding citizen, many don’t fall into the category of real criminals.
That said, Black Lives Matter — and everyone else on Earth — is right to question Clinton’s zeal about criminal justice reform. The Clintons like to pretend that they are leading the charge on it. They even go so far as to say Hillary was the first to bring it up, but that’s not going to pass the lie detector test. Rick Perry, while he was still governor, was working on easing the burden on prisons and non-violent offenders before criminal justice reform was a glint in Hillary’s eye. Presidential candidate Ted Cruz discusses it succinctly more than Hillary even does vaguely. Rand Paul is probably king of the justice reform hill, and even made it very apparent he was on the throne when he publicly welcomed Hillary to the conversation when she first brought it up last April.
All in all, the Clintons are likely as serious on justice reform as Bill was about Lewinsky. They’re not concerned about black people they’re concerned about black votes. The Clintons should be honest about their record unless they have new evidence that would suggest otherwise but, that’s clearly not the case.