Biden’s Moral Imperative to Safeguard Civil Rights

• Sep 28, 2020

The Trump era has been a golden age for forces hostile to the civil rights of African-Americans, women, Latinos, Muslims, and members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community. The racial conflagrations of the past year seem like the logical product of Donald Trump’s brand of belligerent leadership. At the same time, these events have galvanized Black voters, whose support is the very reason that Joe Biden was able to win the Democratic Presidential nomination. During the primaries, Biden also benefitted from his proximity to President Barack Obama, yet his understanding of race seems to have been equally shaped by what has followed Obama’s tenure. The current climate of brazen racism, which, on more than one occasion, has turned violent, is, in part, a direct reaction to the simple fact that a Black man held the Oval Office for two terms, and Biden has consistently criticized Trump for his role in inciting the hostility.

As President, Biden would not give comfort to white nationalists, encourage intolerance, or further inflame racial animosities. But, to undo the damage that has been done, his Administration would need to immediately confront white-nationalist terrorism and work to disrupt the networks that enable it. Both the Trump White House and the Republican Party have largely ignored the problem. After Trump’s election, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Homeland Security did not hold a hearing on domestic terrorism until May, 2019, shortly after the Democrats regained control of that chamber. Earlier this month, Politico reported on a draft Department of Homeland Security report that predicted that white supremacists will be the “most persistent and lethal threat” in the United States for at least the next year. That threat warrants a coördinated strategy from the D.H.S., the Treasury Department, and the Department of Justice, including the F.B.I. Biden would need to appoint a Secretary of Homeland Security who would make this kind of interagency coöperation a priority.


You can read the full article by Jelani Cobb here.

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Jelani Cobb

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