The long knives are out at Netroots Nation 2015, but for once they aren’t pointed at the Republicans. The infighting has gotten ugly because the non-Hillary Democrat candidates were apparently not focused intently enough on the #BlackLivesMatter movement. No other topics of discussion seem to be acceptable this year, and the high profile speakers got an earful if they strayed from that script or dared say something more general about the needs of the entire population of the nation. The first, and probably biggest loser of the day was Martin O’Malley, who showed up there and foolishly began talking about things like income inequality and prison reform. The crowd wanted none of it and began chanting, “Black Lives Matter” until O’Malley was silenced and the stage was given over to a “Black Lives Matter activist” who explained that they didn’t need to hear about those other things. That’s when O’Malley attempted to respond and foolishly uttered the one phrase which will get you hounded to the ends of the Earth with that crowd. (From The Guardian)
His words were greeted by heckling.
O’Malley tried to respond, saying: “This is … let me … sure. I’ll just share with you … I’m trying to respond as best I can. No … hey. Look … I know, I know.”
Vargas said: “What just happened there? I’m so lost.”
O’Malley switched to an inclusive tack. He said: “Black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter.”
He was greeted, repeatedly, by booing.
Yes, Martin O’Malley stood in front of the Netroots Nations crowd and dared to say “all lives matter.” He compounded the error to an infinite degree by including, “white lives matter.” In retrospect, I’m rather shocked that he got out of there with all of his skin intact.
The crowd was whipped into a frenzy to the point where Bernie Sanders, up next on the agenda, was also essentially driven from the stage and he didn’t even get to say anything “controversial” along those lines.
Sanders began a prepared introduction – as had been delivered by O’Malley – talking about policies, including media bias and the need for a raised minimum wage. Chants of “black lives matter” and “save our men” then broke out again.
“Black lives of course matter,” Sanders said. “I spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and dignity, but if you don’t want me to be here that’s OK. I don’t want to out-scream people.”
The speeches were being moderated (of course) by Jose Antonio Vargas, noted illegal immigrant and journalist who we’ve written about here many times. (Apparently we are still unable to deport him, even though he was arrested in Texas.) But even the famous “undocumented American in waiting” was unable to assuage the crowd’s lust for all Black Lives Matter all the time. At this point we should probably reflect on the fact that Hillary passed on going to the event is likely very happy that she did so.
Some Twitter goodness to flesh out the spectacle.
— Chris Moody (@moody) July 18, 2015
— The Hill (@thehill) July 18, 2015