Nearly two months have passed since St. Louis’s first elected Black prosecuting attorney, Kimberly Gardner resigned her position. The twice elected Circuit Attorney resigned amidst a longstanding onslaught of attacks, criticism and legal challenges.
The media, public officials, corporate St.Louis were diabolically masterful, yet hypocritical in creating a narrative that singularly assigned the blame for the burgeoning state of crime in St. Louis City. Less than a year ago, local officials were quick to tout “their” success in what was at that time a drop in the crime rate. In the commentaries that followed, nay was a sign or credit to the Circuit Attorney’s office.
Fast forward 2023, a chorus of blame orchestrated to paint Mrs. Gardner as the sole culprit. For the record, I think it’s unintelligent and wrong to assign the blame to one entity where the Wheel of the criminal justice matrix is composed of multiple cogs.
I would never repeat the chorus of, “Blame it on the police”.. “Blame it on the politicians”.. “Blame it on the parents”, etc. Because the reality as I’ve always posited was that each has a role to play and responsibility, all part of the problem and thus all part of the solution.
What I think is important for the general masses is to learn the process and the roles that each one of the sectors have and how they interrelate in the criminal justice system, (i.e., Mayor’s office, Public Safety Director, Police Chief, Courts, Judges, Public Defenders, Prosecutors, etc.)
Instead, maybe in a rush to appease the public’s appetite for a solution to the age-old problem of high crime in the City, the hidden hands carved into a sacrificial lamb. With only an eye and ear and no quotable statistics to note, it seems that the removal of Mrs. Gardner has not deterred, solved and/or abated the crime problem and yet not a question of “Where’s the comprehensive crime plan absent of basic slogans and soundbits?” (and not just downtown and corporate/commercial corridors of the city).
“Have things improved?” “Where and to whom lies blame and critique now?” Whether one was a supporter of Kimberly Gardner or not, the hypocrisy and shortsightedness of those who took a forward position in aligning with a narrative that assigned blame solely to her office was saddening.
It should have pained those, like bravery pains a coward to watch the very public lynching of an African-American women left at the gallow, aided and abetted by those of her own party, gender and race. Yeah, I said race! Because objectively it wasn’t about Kim Gardner the individual that was under attack, but Kimberly Gardner part and parcel of the Black Political power dynamic.
Those who supported it, abdicated and forgo your argument for local control because you were quiet on our state legislators and forces in their call to take over the office. If you sat idly by, you can’t be taken seriously when you speak of voting rights as the extreme measures engaged between Jefferson City. And some, in regional leadership supported and rendered your vote and voice mute and circumvented the voting will of the people and their right to redress at the polls if it so be.
The very cheers of Black Girl Magic, Black Lives Matter, etc. concepts that in essence I support, can no longer be used in a politically expedited manner to coral the sensitivities of the masses of the Black community by elected or aspiring public officials.
Like Clarence Thomas benefiting from affirmative action, and then voting against it. Not to mention… leave the partisanship at the door (Note to Democrats) all issues and agendas from this point.
Lastly, things have a way of coming full circle. Outside the self-affirming, political echo chambers of City Hall, Jefferson City, Corporate STL, the community is smarter than given credit and many things were exposed to awaken the masses of the Black community. Historically it’s always been an accepted political theorem that ‘Black folk have a short memory and are easy to forget and forgive”. You can ignore, abuse and shortchange the African-American community… just give them a good song and dance and some token concessions will suffice! The laissez-faire attitude toward the Black political power dynamic and of Kimberly Gardner may come back and haunt some people and the party at the polls.