Milwaukee sheriff speaks the truth

Shooting | David Clarke offers a voice of reason amid the senseless violence and rioting
by Cal Thomas
Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2016, at 1:08 pm

Growing up, I watched a lot of TV and movie Westerns. In addition to the cowboy hero, the sheriff portrayed in these programs and films was almost always a model of integrity who stood for law and order against bank robbers and kidnappers trying to disrupt both.

A contemporary and real-life version of those fictional characters is Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wis.

Clarke has been trying to restore law and order after several nights of riots following the shooting death of an armed black man by a black police officer. The suspect, 23-year-old Sylville Smith, had a felony rap sheet longer than some people’s résumés. Smith should have been in prison, but was on parole after many charges against him were dropped or modified for unknown reasons.

Sheriff Clarke has appeared numerous times on the Fox News Channel, but not so much in other media. On Monday, The Washington Post carried a story about the riots and ignored Clarke, choosing instead to quote Milwaukee’s chief of police, Edward Flynn. I suspect that’s because Sheriff Clarke speaks some hard truths, which many liberals do not want to hear.

In an appearance Monday on Fox, Sheriff Clarke, who is African-American, offered his explanation for the major cause of riots in Milwaukee and other cities: “You know what encourages this? The growth of the welfare state. These are underclass behaviors. Seventy percent of the kids born in Milwaukee … are born without an engaged father in their life. So I look at the progressive policies that have marginalized black dads. They push them to the side and say ‘you’re not needed.’ Uncle Sam is going to be the dad, he’s going to provide for the kids, he’s going to feed the kids. … Uncle Sam has been a horrible father. Uncle Sam does not love these kids. He might keep a little food in their mouths and that is about it. But we all know the importance of an intact family, what it can do to shape the behavior of kids.”

Clarke might have also indicted the failing government schools in poor areas, from which liberal Democrats refuse to let children escape.

He called progressive policies “a total disaster,” not only in Milwaukee, but in Chicago, Baltimore, New York, and elsewhere.

He called progressive policies “a total disaster,” not only in Milwaukee, but in Chicago, Baltimore, New York, and elsewhere: “These progressive policies have hit the black community like a nuclear blast, and until we reverse this government dependency, that’s what creates all of this and it encourages it by the way, along with some questionable lifestyle choices.”

Clarke’s answer? “Until the black community does a self-evaluation and until they begin to self-criticize about some of the lifestyle choices they are making, this stuff is going to continue to fester,” he said.

A young African-American man found by a TV camera during the weekend riot said: “The rich people, they got all this money, and they not … trying to give us none.”

Really? All of that tax money spent on anti-poverty programs for the last 50 years never trickled-down to him? This poisonous attitude has been promoted by progressives and has not helped the poor rise above their circumstances.

This young man should talk to Sheriff Clarke about changing his attitude, some self-evaluation, and an internal re-adjustment that is more spiritual than political and economic.

Why do more than 90 percent of African-Americans continuously vote for liberal politicians who have done little to help them and caused much harm?

Again, Sheriff Clarke gets it right: “Until we push back against this progressive ideology, this dangerous ideology that has been very destructive to the black community … and that’s what I’m trying to do … it’s job one right now in terms of messaging—this thing is only going to get worse.”

© 2016 Tribune Content Agency LLC.

Cal Thomas

Cal, whose syndicated column appears on WORLD's website and in more than 500 newspapers, is a frequent contributor to WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It. Follow Cal on Twitter @CalThomas.

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  • DCal3000
    Posted: Fri, 08/19/2016 09:08 am

    I am grateful that Mr. Thomas wrote this column.  Though I don't always agree with Sheriff Clarke, the ideas that he and Mr. Thomas express here are a helpful counterweight to increasingly prevalent evangelical views that ignore such topics.  Many evangelicals, especially in Reformed and Reformed-friendly denominations, are more and more closely allying themselves with elements of the extreme left.  They would say that Mr. Thomas, and oddly-enough Sheriff Clarke, are speaking as a result of their "whiteness." The modern evangelical message has changed, I fear, from "Repent and be saved," to "Feel guilty and be less white." Sins like broken families, homosexuality, abortion, intentional racism, etc., matter less and less to the postmodern evangelical mind.  Instead, we spend pages and pages figuring out how "whiteness," "white guilt," "narratives," and a whole host of other postmodern concepts have caused events like those in Milwaukee.  Mr. Thomas offered an opposing view, and I hope he doesn't get too much backlash from the evanglical community.

  • socialworker
    Posted: Fri, 08/19/2016 09:51 am

    I heard that "man on the street" quote and never thought of the comeback that Cal suggested in the article.  But it is so true.  We, regardless of skin color, heritage or religion, pay about 35% of what we earn into the system.  That system, in turn, sends part of that to needy communities.  I'm guessing the guy speaking about not getting the money isn't really interested in teachers for their schools or EBT cards to feed hungry children.  He wants other people's money to spend on things he wants.  

  • socialworker
    Posted: Fri, 08/19/2016 09:52 am

    And I'm surprised to hear you say (DCal3000) that many Reformed congregations are floating toward the extreme left.  I am not part of a Reformed group but I get some of their publications.  That doesn't seem to fit in with what I read from them.

  • DCal3000
    Posted: Fri, 08/19/2016 07:00 pm

    Thanks for your remark.  I am Reformed, and I love Reformed denominations, which strive to be biblically orthodox and promote intellectually rigorous ideas.  I should have clarified that Reformed churches are drifting leftward only on certain issues, particularly postmodern views on race.  Reformed churches have been seeking ways to repent of racism, which is our duty as Christians.  In the process, though, some have begun to use postmodern identity politics--fighting "whiteness," and "white privilege" rather than racism proper.  In the name of reconciliation, they have inadvertently promoted racial differences and the idea that people with different races are unable to represent each other due to the limitations of our subjective experiences.  The Reformed African American Network website contains many examples of such viewpoints from multiple pastors, black and white.  One article even suggested that white people lack the ability to empathize.  Meanwhile, and outside of that website, some Reformed pastors have adopted anti-police viewpoints to such an extent that I saw one make a Facebook post critical of the police within 24 hours of the Dallas shootings (granted, I don't know if he realized the Dallas attack had occurred).  

  • DCal3000
    Posted: Fri, 08/19/2016 07:38 pm

    In addition to the points I made in my post a few minutes ago, I've also been concerned that many Christian leaders, such as some in the Gospel Coalition, have seemed more shocked at Donald Trump (whom I too dislike) than they have seemed about Hillary Clinton, even though the Democratic Party cheered for abortions at its convention this year.  In fact, at least one member of the Gospel Coalition promotes voting for Clinton (though I recognize that is not the stance of the Gospel Coalition as a whole).  I'm not worried especially as to whether some Christians support Clinton or not, for I know people will disagree with each other on politics. I'm just worried that, in parts of the Reformed-friendly world, the shock value of immorality seems to be wearing off.

  • DCal3000
    Posted: Fri, 08/19/2016 02:47 pm

    Finally, and to follow-up on my last remark, I've personally seen a few Reformed Christians with influence write off those who, whatever their motive, profess to stand for religious liberty.  I've been told to support traditional marriage my entire life.  Now that homosexual marriage is government-sanctioned, however, some Reformed Christians have begun to belittle those who still hesitate to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding or, like Justice Roy Moore, continue the political fight for traditional marriage.  It is discouraging to hear on Sunday that the Bible forbids homosexual marriage only to be told on every other day of the week to merely comply with the homosexual agenda and fade into the shadows.  Unfortunately, I can't cite sources to support my point here.  It has merely been my general impression.  All of the above, though, is why I'm grateful for Cal Thomas, who still challenges reigning ideas when they need to be challenged.  There are many Christians (Reformed and otherwise) who do that too; I've just been discouraged lately.

  • Ben K
    Posted: Mon, 08/22/2016 07:17 am

    WORLD is the first place I'm hearing about this man.  Thanks for the piece.

  •  Searwar Family's picture
    Searwar Family
    Posted: Mon, 08/22/2016 08:32 am

    Oppression via dependency appears to be like an  abusive marriage with government.

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