Barack Obama could have saved Trayvon Martin
When the President famously said in the heat of a presidential election "If I had son, he'd look like Trayvon," he ironically spoke a truth greater than he knew. I assume Obama was talking about the photo of the young, smiling Trayvon that was shamelessly displayed on every major media outlet and on activists tee shirts, not the actually 17 year old troubled youth expelled twice from school with the raised middle finger. Both pictures of Trayvon were taken during Mr. Obama's Presidency. The lad went from smiley youth to self-described angry "gangsta" on your watch, Mr. President. Mr. First Black President, both versions of Trayvon were your sons and you failed them.
Regardless of your political persuasion, it is a sign of the greatness of this country that black Americans could go from Selma to the White House in part of one lifetime. All Americans should have be proud of that achievement particularly given that the black man ran on an inclusive platform of "Hope and Change," uplifting ideals if also very fuzzy. Martin Luther King would have been proud.
Much progress has been made since Selma, but not everything "progressive" is good. To say the black family is in crisis is a huge understatement when over 70% of black children are born to single mothers. The education inner city minorities receive is a scandal. Even those few who graduate get a substandard education that leaves them increasingly unqualified in a high tech world. Black teen unemployment is twice white rates. Welfare dependency is a multigenerational problem with young black males incarceration rates astronomically high. Half of all murders are committed by blacks and almost all blacks are killed by other blacks. The black inner city is an urban war zone with wasted lives and destroyed dreams
The black family is imploding and there has never had a greater need for a black voice of authority and reason. Barack Obama, elected as America's first Black President (or White Black President as the New York Times might say), was uniquely qualified to deliver that message.
So, what message did you bring to your constituency in crisis, Mr. President?
To live a good life you must live a moral life. Don't get pregnant out of wedlock, it dooms you and your child. Education is the way out of poverty. If you stay in school and work hard, I will do the hard work to ensure that your union controlled schools will be reformed, including vouchers out of educational cesspits. You will get a real education. Avoid the gangs and gangsta society. Getting into fights all the time, another Trayvon text, is not a good way to live. Bitches, whores, niggas and crackers are not acceptable in any society, particularly in black society that has had to endure so much. Don't listen to the race hustlers, they will make you a permanent victim and use you just like the old Jim Crow bosses.
Did Obama make these his guiding message to the black community? No. Instead he offered Obama phones, Jay Z is cool, cops act stupidly, the NBA thugs are hip, D.C.'s successful voucher program is unfair, schools failing No Child Left Behind standards are given a pass, stimulus spending should go to union jobs not your jobs, avoiding all personal responsibility is ok, and generally living the lifestyles of the rich and famous on taxpayer money is the way to go. That was his message to Trayvon.
And Trayvon listened - and got caught with stolen goods and burglar tools. Caught with drugs. But faced no criminal charges. Was into MMA fighting, doing it away from school. If it gets you kicked out your mom's house, no problem, you can go stay in Sanford at your Dad's girlfriend's place. Out on rainy night with a hoodie looking into windows. of course you will get a pass just like every other time you did something wrong. Except one time, he didn't.
What could have happened, Mr. President, if four years ago you had started talking loudly and often to the young Trayvon with a real message of personal responsibility, of buckling down and accepting discipline as? Maybe we wouldn't be having this national discussion.
Show some real leadership and come out now for real hope and change. It will be tough because it will require an important voter bloc to honestly assess their lifestyles and make difficult changes and taking on your teacher union allies. But you were elected for exactly this moment. If you want a real legacy, truly be the First Black President.
America used to say that anyone can grow up to be President. Barack Obama proved a black man can be President. Tragically, Trayvon can't. Trayvon's step-brother texted that Trayvon was "going to teach me to fight." It is not too late for him. There is another young Trayvon out there listening, Mr. President. Don't fail him too.
Walt Ughes is the pen name of a Libertarian blogger and historian who fervently believes in American exceptionalism. While leading demonstrations opposing American involvement in what he believed was an unconstitutional war, as a lover of freedom and the constitution, he volunteered for military service.