That's fine. That's what governors do.
Governors also show up and stick around when some part of their state descends into chaos. Nixon did that when Joplin got clobbered by a tornado in 2011. Nixon hasn't done that in Ferguson.
Ferguson is the St. Louis-area suburb where an unarmed Michael Brown was shot dead last weekend by an inexplicably unnamed police officer there. The circumstances of the shooting remain hazy, but it's another example of an unarmed black man getting shot down by law enforcement
(or someone acting like he's part of law enforcement
). In the days that followed, authorities in Ferguson have done a pitiful job of dealing with peaceful protesters (and some looters) who have fanned out throughout the St. Louis suburb in reaction to the shooting.
The eyes of the country are fixed upon the deteriorating situation in Ferguson, and since making some remarks in Ferguson on Tuesday, Nixon has been off this week touring schools in Joplin and hanging out with the state's Future Farmers of America.
Several media outlets (including ones sometimes sympathetic to Democratic politicians, like MSNBC
and Mother Jones
) castigated Nixon for staying mostly silent on the Ferguson matter. Even Dante Stallworth, a free agent NFL wide receiver with little or no apparent connection to Missouri, wondered what Nixon was up to
in the face of the Ferguson crisis.
Nixon on Wednesday night announced that he wouldn't go to the Missouri State Fair later this week after all and would instead go to North St. Louis County to do his job.
He also finally released a statement on Wednesday:
“The worsening situation in Ferguson is deeply troubling, and does not represent who we are as Missourians or as Americans. While we all respect the solemn responsibility of our law enforcement officers to protect the public, we must also safeguard the rights of Missourians to peaceably assemble and the rights of the press to report on matters of public concern.
“I have been closely monitoring the situation and will continue to be in communication with local leaders, and I will be in north St. Louis County tomorrow. As Governor, I am committed to ensuring the pain of last weekend’s tragedy does not continue to be compounded by this ongoing crisis. Once again, I ask that members of the community demonstrate patience and calm while the investigation continues, and I urge law enforcement agencies to keep the peace and respect the rights of residents and the press during this difficult time.”
Better late than never, we guess.
Jay Nixon is always traveling all over Missouri, promoting some idea of his or defending his decision to veto some wacky legislation put on his desk by lawmakers.