Charlotte is the conversation we’re getting about race in America, with rioting, death and looting, encouraged by the noise of the mob, the purple rhetoric of certain newspapers, bloody mayhem on the television screen, and encouragement, no doubt unintended, by the president of the United States. It’s a carnival out there, but not much conversation.
The city buttoned down for a third night of violence Thursday, with National Guardsmen joining the thinning blue ranks to impose restraint if not order. The lot of a policeman, nor of anyone else in Charlotte, is not a happy one.
President Obama finally spoke up Thursday. Not the president himself, but his earnest spokesman, Josh Earnest. “The president hopes that the rights of peaceful protesters will be protected,” he said, and added, as if afterthought: “But he also believes that it should be made clear that the protests must remain peaceful, and they should not be used as an excuse to engage in vandalism or violence.”