If the voices and concerns of ordinary Americans aren't at the center of this debate, we can expect the ticking time bomb of urban unrest to explode in more and more communities. Without major reforms, the recent upheavals in Ferguson and Baltimore may simply be a precursor to a wave of 21st century riots.
While policy discussion in the traditional media confines of D.C. conventional wisdom is depressingly narrow, the progressive movement is bubbling with not only big and bold policy ideas but energy as to how to push them even in the face of Republican control of many of the levers of government power.
Obama seemed to abandon his affinity for organizing soon after he entered the White House. Now, a new protest movement against racist injustice -- triggered by the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and the failure of the criminal justice to indict their killers -- has propelled Obama to recall his community organizing roots.