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Is Ferguson the new American normal?

Could it be that our long national nightmare is just beginning?

Could it be that after decade upon decade of refusing to address the cost of racism in America, the bill has finally come due?

The protests in Ferguson, Mo., the arrests, the shootings, the armored vehicles, the police in full battle regalia indiscriminately training military-style rifles on unarmed citizens, the clouds of tear gas, the Molotov cocktails, the social media “reporting” of both hard truth and dangerous rumor as if there were no distinction between the two — could it be that this is our new normal?

Ferguson has become America’s nightly reality show. During the day, we get talking heads, and during the night, we get clouds of tear gas.

It is often difficult to tell which is denser.

The truth should not be hidden. The truth should be revealed. But truth is often hard to come by as the battle is still unfolding.

Instead, the fog of war has come home to America.

President Barack Obama has offered little help thus far. Ferguson is a racial dispute, and the president would rather talk about Iraq or just about anything other than race.

He appeared in the White House briefing room Monday without a necktie to signal he technically was still on vacation.

“Let’s seek to heal rather than to wound each other,” he said. “That’s how we’re going to move forward together.”

The words seem to have been assembled by committee. They did not seem to have originated in the president’s heart or soul.

“I’ve got to make sure that I don’t look like I’m putting my thumb on the scales one way or the other,” the president reminded us.

Actually, I wouldn’t mind if he jumped on the scale with both feet, as long as he came down on the side of justice.

“We’ve got to make sure that we are able to distinguish between peaceful protesters who may have some legitimate grievances … and those who are using this tragic death as an excuse to engage in criminal behavior,” the president said.

Yeah, fine. But tell us how we are going to do that before you go back to Martha’s Vineyard, Mr. President.