Honoring Trayvon Martin
Barack Obama's official response to the "not guilty" verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman was classic community organizer muckraking: present yourself as urging calm, but position yourself firmly on the side of the "victims of social injustice."
Here is Obama's complete statement:
The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we're doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we're doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that's a job for all of us. That's the way to honor Trayvon Martin.
We are so used to Obama's style, and to the news media's framing of this case, that many will have to strain to see anything untoward in Obama's diatribe, apart from his "never let a crisis go to waste" reference to gun control.
But consider this: by beginning with an expression of sympathy for the Martin family, and then tying the effect of this "tragedy" upon "America" directly to the Martin family's hardships, he is implying that the "tragedy" here is the injustice done to the memory of Trayvon Martin. He is indicating, in other words, that this is a civil rights struggle, not a criminal case with a "not guilty" verdict.
"But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken." Notice that he does not say "justice has been served," or "a jury of our peers has weighed the evidence judiciously and decided that it does not support a conviction." He says merely, "a jury has spoken," which he follows immediately by asking "every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son." By "every American" here, since he is speaking to concerns about violent outbursts in reaction to the verdict, he means those who "know" the verdict is unjust. He is hoping to imply that America at large understands that a grievous wrong has been done. In other words, he is hoping to reinforce this perception in everyone's mind.
His next remarks, about "widening the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities," can only make sense in the context of a presumption that this case was about racism -- specifically about a "white man's" lack of compassion for a "black child."
Then comes his brief allusion to gun control, which, according to the scenario depicted by the winning side in this case, would have served only to ensure that George Zimmerman, a legal gun owner who was found not guilty of any crime, would have sustained more serious, perhaps life-threatening, injuries at the hands of the habitual street-fighter, Trayvon Martin. For Obama to introduce gun control into this issue is, in fact, his most explicit expression of disapproval of the verdict. According to the legal outcome of this trial, gun control, if it affected the case at all, would have prevented Zimmerman from defending himself effectively against an assailant, which he has every right to do. By linking gun control to this case, Obama is clearly implying that he thinks Zimmerman was not defending himself, but rather committing murder.
Finally, and most interestingly, on the subject of how to "prevent tragedies like this," Obama says that considering this question is "the way to honor Trayvon Martin." I understand that Martin's death may have been the result of misunderstanding, confusion, and poor judgment that spiraled quickly out of control. I understand that his parents must have gone through hell. But to suggest that the proper response to this situation is for America to find a way to honor Trayvon Martin seems to stretch the bounds of irrational sentimentality beyond the breaking point.
Not one mention of George Zimmerman. Not one expression of regret for the ordeal he has gone through. Or, if one wishes to stay above the fray entirely, why not express sympathy for Zimmerman's family, as well as Martin's? Haven't they gone through a nightmare, watching their son, brother, and husband stand trial for murder, watching him lynched and lied about in the news media for more than a year, and knowing that, thanks to the combined efforts of certain race-baiting opportunists and their accomplices in the media, his life will be marred forever.
The difference between Barack Obama and Al Sharpton is, and has always been, that Obama hides it better, he is handled better, and his coldness and lack of conscience express themselves in a manner that passes for sobriety and seriousness with some people. And he has bigger goals, which is to say a bigger ego, than the laughable Sharpton. Obama's statements on this case, from beginning to end, have been spoken like a true community organizer: use pleas for "calm" resignation in the face of alleged injustice to stir up and solidify support for your broader authoritarian agenda.
Having said all that, if we want to be philosophical about this, we might observe that there is, indeed, a way to honor Trayvon Martin. It is for the white-dominated American media, the white-dominated entertainment industry, the white-dominated Democratic Party, and the rest of white-dominated progressive America to stop telling young black people like Trayvon Martin that they are not "really black" unless they are fighting, using drugs, talking and acting like thugs, and citing "racism" as their excuse for everything. It is for America's first half-white president to stop treating black Americans as an aggrieved underclass that can only be protected against injustice and poverty by voting Democrat. It is for that half-white president to stop trying to earn "his props" by flaunting his friendship with the millionaire "pimps" and "hoes" of the "black entertainment industry" who sell drugs, violence, racism, and sex as the secret path to "coolness," i.e., acceptance, when in truth -- as the lives of so many of these "entertainers" beyond age thirty prove -- the heaven they are selling is in fact the pit of an inescapable hell. Enough of the White House gala evenings and Michelle Obama tweetings about Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and the rest of the creeps, punks, and porn stars-cum singers.
Duke Ellington brought American "black entertainment" to the heights, mixing his muse comfortably, and on a footing of real equality, with Shakespeare and Steinbeck, Tchaikovsky and Grieg, always studying, always learning -- so that today, his supposed heirs can rant in a drugged-up stupor about killing cops and defiling women. Ella Fitzgerald became America's "First Lady of Song" by expanding her repertoire from the popular dance tunes of her early days to masterful renderings of Gershwin, Porter, and Ellington in the 1950s; her heiresses today slink around like strippers using words and images to enliven the basest sentiments of the perpetual pubescents that comprise today's pop music audience. Today's so-called black leaders, including their "beige" president (to use Ellington's phraseology) are firmly on the side of the glamorizors of cop-killing, rape, and prostitution. They have deliberately squandered or obscured the gains of the twentieth century for their own evil, oppressive purposes.
If you want to "honor Trayvon Martin," stop actively corrupting the character and sentiment of each new generation of Trayvons. Stop encouraging, excusing, and even praising behavior that causes broken families, government dependency, moral decay, illiteracy, the degradations of a permanent underclass -- and, all too often, sad wastes like the "tragedy" of February 26, 2012.
In short, if you want to honor Trayvon Martin, end American progressivism now.