From the July 18 edition of MSNBC's The Place for Politics:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: What do you make of this gathering thus far, and what do you make of what [Sheriff David Clarke] had to say?
TAVIS SMILEY: It is always easy to find these sort of political sycophants who are willing to stand up and advance these sort of simple slogans and rosy rhetoric but can't get to a real conversation about what's at stake here. What's at stake here is not just the lives of cops. And there's no one in the country who doesn't believe that blue lives matter, indeed they do. The question is when do we get around to appreciating, to valuing the sanctity, the humanity, and the dignity of black life? That's what's at the stake. That's why Black Lives Matter is in the streets protesting. I think protest has its place. And when I hear the sheriff referring to the Black Lives Matter movement as anarchy, first of all I don't think that's the case, but if it is the case I think the Boston Tea Party could be called anarchy. But we wouldn't be here without it.
RACHEL MADDOW: You saw the way that Sheriff Clarke there, the rest of his remarks received, sort of tacitly I think, by the crowd. But when he came out and screamed “blue lives matter” at the very beginning, the reason he had to raise his voice was to overcome the audience and the standing ovation. What do you make of how much of a flash point that movement has become on the right?
SMILEY: In a word Rachel, brilliant question, it's scapegoating. That's what it is. It's scapegoating. And that's what happens when you don't want to address the issue that's at stake. Again, I repeat, it's about the humanity, and the dignity, and the sanctity of black life.