Few things have been as polarizing in America during the past year as race relations. Granted, the issue has always been here, so it’s not completely accurate to say this is something new or that it has only surfaced due to recent events. Yet, with the highly-publicized police-involved deaths of Black men such as Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Freddy Gray, race relations surged past the boiling point and erupted.
From peaceful demonstrations to violent uprisings, the emotions of the nation have been let loose and cannot be ignored, especially if you are hoping to become the U.S. President in 2016.
Senator Ted Cruz from Texas, one of those hoping to be on the presidential ticket come next November, let the public in on his thoughts about this touchy topic, and took a pretty unique tack. Senator Cruz places the brunt of the problem squarely on the shoulders of President Barack Obama.
In Cruz’s words, Obama “could have chosen to be a leader [on race relations, but] has made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions – that have divided us rather than bringing us together”.
Raw Story notes that the president has faced this criticism before, when “Obama said a white police officer had ‘acted stupidly’ in arresting Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on the porch of his own home,” and again, when he said, “You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon [Martin],” and then the latest occurrence, when the president commented that there are “too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African Americans, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions.”
The question in all these cases is not whether or not the statements are true, but if they were the right things for the leader of our nation to say. Were they the words of a leader who was moving in the right direction to heal the wounds of the nation, or have the comments, as Senator Cruz believes, led to “inflamed racial tensions?”
Senator Cruz did not give any indication about what he would have done better than Obama to improve race relations if he had been the president during these events, and based on his current poll numbers, the public may never find out how a President Cruz would handle it.