But with alternative perspective set forth by Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, the complexity of the situation begins to unfold.
Then today, Phoenix New Times journalist Ray Stern reported that Tia Oso, the protester who got up on stage with Martin O'Malley and the moderator to hold forth for about 15 minutes, has previously been convicted of felony embezzlement.
Anshantia "Tia" Oso, one of the protesters who interrupted a Town Hall event with presidential candidates Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders on Saturday, writes in a high-profile column today that she was the "right person" to lead the halting of the program.
Oso touts her many activist qualifications in the column, but she left one thing off her bio: her 2009 conviction for embezzling thousands of dollars from a nonprofit Valley arts organization.To Oso's credit, she has worked hard to pay back the embezzled funds, after which her conviction was changed to a misdemeanor. I respect and admire her for that.
However, by taking the microphone and expounding for so long, she also disrespected the only presidential candidate who has impeccable credentials in advocating for civil rights, disrespected the audience, AND disrespected the organizers of the Netroots Nation Conference.
In the heat of the moment on Saturday morning, and since, I've been inclined to give the protesters slack for their reckless zeal. That is, because the cause is so acutely urgent. But do we even know if any official organizers of the #BlackLivesMatter movement even had any idea that the protest was going to take place?
If the movement is going to be at all cohesive and fruitful, it will require effective leadership. If that leadership doesn't figure out how to recognize when they are being heard, like Tia Oso and the several dozen fellow protesters failed to do, it will end up fanning the flames of racism, not causing them to be doused and our society healed.
On a tangent, my main interest since beginning this blog in 2010 has been independent redistricting. One of the main instigators of opposition to the work of the Independent Redistricting Commission has been another convicted felon, Wes Harris. Because of the perspective Harris advocates from, I take issue with just about everything he pushes. But I have to give him credit for owning up to his crime and not getting defensive about it when I first asked him.
My point is this. Tia Oso has a voice and a right to speak up about the entrenched racism in America. She has a right to demand change. I hope she persists until she succeeds. But she will not succeed if she thinks she can just gloss over, by ignoring it, her crime even though it may be attributed to the poor judgment of her youth. She must incorporate the personal history in her overall narrative, at least when it comes to political involvement and advocacy.
And she must learn from the most effective Black leader of the last hundred years. Martin Luther King Jr. knew when it was time to listen.
The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. -Martin Luther King Jr.and this one is particularly poignant in light of the adverse ramifications of Ms. Oso's impromptu action.
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent. -Martin Luther King Jr.
Isn't Hillary the inevitable nominee? Ms. Oso, how much change do you think the corporate candidate will make?
Yeah, white liberals may share responsibility for racism not having been eliminated from our society. Many of the white liberals at the convention on Saturday assigned blame to O'Malley and Sanders for how the incident played out. Because neither had responsibility for control of the conference or the town hall, I think it's a bogus claim.
I don't retract anything I wrote Sunday about the fact that each of the candidates could have handled the situation better. But they were not responsible for how it started or how it played out.
BOTH either immediately listened or indicated they were prepared to listen. The protesters WERE HEARD.
The primary ramification of the reckless enthusiasm was to give corporate media and Hillary Clinton a golden opportunity to try to quash the ONLY candidate who has a track record of fighting for exactly the kind of change the protesters say they want to make happen.
And Hillary took the ball right off that tee and served up a doozy of a blast on her opponents by saying, in essence, "see these guys don't love you, but I do!"
Face it, Hillary is THE corporate Democrat in this race. Tia Oso, please don't continue trying to undermine Bernie Sanders. He is the ONLY candidate who will address your stated concerns full on.
IF the only thing you're looking for is personal recognition, I won't support you.
In your op-ed published today on Mic.com, you state,
Feeling dissatisfied with Netroots' framing of black issues and the narrow focus of its immigration-themed activities, I worked with Phoenix-based organizers to create #BlackRoots, a space to focus on black perspectives and connect national organizers with local black community members.Okay, you're dissatisfied with Netroots Nation. Take it out on and take it up with them. But they heard you too. #NN16 will be in St. Louis, as close as they can get to Ferguson, MO.
You also said,
My action, along with those of my sisters and brothers in the Movement for Black Lives, was not done to call attention to myself, but to all black people fighting to live free.Yet, your op-ed said more about you than about your cause. You didn't just interrupt Netroots Nation. Despite claiming (again, in the op-ed)...
Our courageous and bold efforts are being applauded for changing the conversation and creating a space for a more honest and direct discourse....you persistently and repeatedly interrupted both candidates. Do you even know what it takes to hold a conversation?
1.informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons; talk; colloquy.You would be correct to suppose that you can't have a conversation with somebody if you can't get them to listen to you. My observation is that you succeeded in getting that far.
Did you listen to see if your targets heard you? From where I sat (surrounded by the protesters) in the town hall, nobody in your group seemed to be looking for any such clues or cues.
The definition above includes the word "colloquy," which is a dialogue. What took place was not a dialogue, not a colloquy. Both the chants and your speech while on the stage rather gave off a very strong impression of soliloquy.
1. an utterance or discourse by a person who is talking to himself or herself or is disregardful of or oblivious to any hearers present (often used as a device in drama to disclose a character's innermost thoughts): Hamlet's soliloquy begins with “To be or not to be.”
2. the act of talking while or as if alone.
Audiences generally tolerate comedic monologues very well. Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Conan O'Brian and Jimmy Kimmel all demonstrated highly effective skill at delivering monologues. Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert have obviously used that skill for effective political communication. Take a lesson from them if you want to try to change America by way of monologue.
But if you want to have a conversation with power players, once you've gotten their attention, you'll have to demonstrate the capacity to listen just as well as you want them to listen to you.
IF you're serious about changing society, join me in fighting to put Bernie Sanders in office as the next President of the United States.
As to critics complaining about Sanders' appearing "noticeably irritated," I want to state unequivocally that I want a fierce president capable of bending Congress and world leaders to his will. I'm not the least bit offended or put off by Sanders politely stating that if the protesters didn't want him there, that was fine.
Bernie Sanders in 2015 (2016) is NOT Howard Dean in 2004. I'm not going to remain silent while corporate media and its chosen candidate try to burn Bernie at the stake as if he were Joan of Arc (or Howard Dean).
Yes, Oso's cause is righteous. The ONLY candidate up to the challenge to address that cause and make the change is Bernie Sanders.