Monday, July 11, 2016

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 7/8/2016

"Shields and Brooks on Dallas police murders, Trump's Republican problem" PBS NewsHour 7/8/2016


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss what they both agree was a bad week for America.  They see little chance for an end to the increasing polarization.  Both also had unkind words for presidential candidates — Hillary Clinton for dodging on the email scandal and Donald Trump for his failure to unify Republicans.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Now to the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That's syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Welcome to you both, although the show, the program tonight, Mark and David, consumed with these killings of two black men by police in Minnesota and Louisiana, and then, last night, this terrible attack on the police in Dallas.

What do you make of all this, David?

DAVID BROOKS, The New York Times:  Well, it's been a crappy week.

We have had the killings.  We have had, frankly, both our presidential candidates behaving reprehensibly.  And so I think we're sort of at a moment where, on the one hand, a lot of harsh truths are being exposed, a lot of people who have been silent are speaking out.

And some of that is about violence, as we have seen, against African-Americans.  Frankly, some of the Trump movement, it's members of the white working class speaking out.  And that's all to the good.

The question, to me, is, are we going to speak out in a way that is actual dialogue and conversation, or are we going to drift into tribal thinking?  There's been a lot of rancid over-generalizations in our society, that all African men behind the wheel are dangerous; that all Muslims are somehow involved in terrorism, that all cops are somehow at war with communities.

And if we can speak in a way that's not tribalistic, that's not making these generalizations, then we may make something out of the current moment.  But I'm not always hopeful after a bad week like this one.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Mark, what do you make out of all this?

MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist:  Judy, I think that we all — or at least I — speaking for myself, I was overconfident, over-optimistic in 2008.

I thought the original sin of America, racism, that it was a time to celebrate, that we had done something really rather remarkable in electing an African — and we did — electing an African-American President, and that, somehow, with — this terrible chapter was behind us.

The constant in every one of these killings and tragedies this week is race.  And I get the feeling, almost like 1968, that events are in the saddle.  It's not Vietnam.  There aren't 548 Americans dying every week.  And we haven't had a James Earl Ray or a Sirhan Sirhan yet to assassinate our leaders; but just a sense, whether it's Zika, whether it's Istanbul, whether it's Orlando, that events are in the saddle and that things are not going to get better.

And it's a dreary political landscape right now.

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