Steve Chapman: Democracy and Ferguson


Environmental Protection Agency / Wikimedia Commons

Not all the residents of Ferguson, Missouri, are black; not all of them are out protesting; and some think the protesters are neglecting a better option for change.

"There are so many people here that don't vote, but they think they have the rights to everything in the world," one man told NPR. "The reason that in the African-American community there's less power is that they're not registering to vote," former Mayor Brian Fletcher told NBC News.

But not everyone is so keen on the idea, writes Steve Chapman. Amid the protests, a couple of local women set up a booth in Ferguson to register voters. "We're trying to make young people understand that this is how to change things," one explained.

The reaction of the Missouri Republican Party was not elation. "Disgusting" and "completely inappropriate" were the terms used by Executive Director Matt Wills. "If that's not fanning the political flames, I don't know what is," he said.

Let's get this straight. The critics don't want the black citizens of Ferguson to demonstrate. They don't want them to riot. And they don't want them to vote. What are they supposed to do to effect the sort of change they want? Pray?