Saturday, 20 June 2015

Hillary Clinton Calls America’s Struggle With Racism Far From Over

Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered on Saturday her boldest remarks yet on race and gun violence, topics that have quickly become some of the most prominent and divisive in the presidential campaign, particularly after Wednesday’s mass shooting in Charleston, S.C.
“It’s tempting to dismiss a tragedy like this as an isolated incident, to believe that in today’s America bigotry is largely behind us, that institutionalized racism no longer exists,” Mrs. Clinton said in a speech in San Francisco. “But despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America’s long struggle with race is far from finished.”
Invoking President Obama at times, Mrs. Clinton called for a “common sense” approach to gun laws, pledging to take swift action if elected. She did not, however, make clear how she would navigate the divide in Congress that has undercut Mr. Obama’s own efforts to pass gun laws.
 “The president is right. The politics on this issue have been poisoned,” Mrs. Clinton said. “But we can’t give up. The stakes are too high. The costs are too dear. And I am not and will not be afraid to keep fighting for common sense reforms.”

Mrs. Clinton’s strongly worded stance on the issue could help her make a contrast with Senator Bernie Sanders, who has been drawing large crowds in early voting states, where recent polls show him narrowing the gap with Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Sanders, a socialist from Vermont also seeking the Democratic nomination, has a decidedly mixed record on gun control, which may pose problems for his campaign as it seeks to bill itself as a more liberal alternative to Mrs. Clinton.
Saturday was not the first time that Mrs. Clinton’s Democratic campaign, still in its infancy, had found itself having to address race and racism in the wake of violence. Her first major campaign speech, at Columbia University in April, coincided with widespread unrest in Baltimore after the death of a black man, Freddie Gray, who had been injured in police custody. Mrs. Clinton used that occasion to advocate an overhaul of the criminal justice system, saying it was time for honesty about race and justice in America.

HENRY E. J Williams

Author & Editor

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