'To Kill a Mockingbird' and the George Zimmerman trial

So much has changed in America since the days of Jim Crow -- an era when racism was seen as an evil suffered only by black Americans.

Those days are gone.

Consider how Harper Lee's classic 1960 novel ,"To Kill a Mockingbird" can now serve as a metaphor for George Zimmerman's treatment in a hostile court of public opinion -- one whose passions and rush to judgment were stirred up by America's news media. So says retired English professor Peter Machera in a marvelous column that calls Zimmerman lawyers Mark O'Mara and Don West "real-life civic heroes" in the mold of "Mockingbird's" small-town defense lawyer Atticus Finch, who courageously defends a falsely accused black man. "Under enormous pressure," he explains, "they defended an innocent client whom vocal and powerful elements of society were quick to condemn."

Specifically, Machera sees striking parallels between the Zimmerman trial and "To Kill a Mockingbird," explaining:

"In this classic portrayal of life in the Deep South, Tom Robinson is the hapless victim of a false rape accusation leveled in a society that was highly biased to believe the charges regardless of the evidence, or lack thereof. Atticus Finch is the defense attorney willing to endure the wrath of a hostile public in order to defend an innocent client, and ultimately, to do what is morally right. Mark O'Mara is modern-day America's answer to Atticus Finch. Don West also deserves enormous credit, yet he does not have the detached and martyred air that Mr. O'Mara shares with Atticus. Mr. West could not contain his exasperation when faced with an incredibly unprofessional prosecution and judge. Mr. O'Mara, in an equally valid response, chose to keep his Zen."

He adds that Atticus and Mr. O'Mara share a quality that Ernest Hemingway called "grace under fire"; they throw themselves unflinchingly into a worthy cause."

And quoting from Atticus Finch, he writes: "'The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.'" Let's be grateful this wasn't trial by majority as conceived by CNN or MSNBC, in which case Mr. Zimmerman would have been locked up without a key."

Read the whole Washington Times column here.

The YouTube clip below is from the movie version of "To Kill a Mockingbird" -- a scene that could have been right out of the Zimmerman trial as O'Mara and West exhorted jurors to only consider the evidence - and not the passions stirred by media outlets, irresponsible public officials, and race hustlers that even included President Obama.

So much has changed in America since the days of Jim Crow -- an era when racism was seen as an evil suffered only by black Americans.

Those days are gone.

Consider how Harper Lee's classic 1960 novel ,"To Kill a Mockingbird" can now serve as a metaphor for George Zimmerman's treatment in a hostile court of public opinion -- one whose passions and rush to judgment were stirred up by America's news media. So says retired English professor Peter Machera in a marvelous column that calls Zimmerman lawyers Mark O'Mara and Don West "real-life civic heroes" in the mold of "Mockingbird's" small-town defense lawyer Atticus Finch, who courageously defends a falsely accused black man. "Under enormous pressure," he explains, "they defended an innocent client whom vocal and powerful elements of society were quick to condemn."

Specifically, Machera sees striking parallels between the Zimmerman trial and "To Kill a Mockingbird," explaining:

"In this classic portrayal of life in the Deep South, Tom Robinson is the hapless victim of a false rape accusation leveled in a society that was highly biased to believe the charges regardless of the evidence, or lack thereof. Atticus Finch is the defense attorney willing to endure the wrath of a hostile public in order to defend an innocent client, and ultimately, to do what is morally right. Mark O'Mara is modern-day America's answer to Atticus Finch. Don West also deserves enormous credit, yet he does not have the detached and martyred air that Mr. O'Mara shares with Atticus. Mr. West could not contain his exasperation when faced with an incredibly unprofessional prosecution and judge. Mr. O'Mara, in an equally valid response, chose to keep his Zen."

He adds that Atticus and Mr. O'Mara share a quality that Ernest Hemingway called "grace under fire"; they throw themselves unflinchingly into a worthy cause."

And quoting from Atticus Finch, he writes: "'The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.'" Let's be grateful this wasn't trial by majority as conceived by CNN or MSNBC, in which case Mr. Zimmerman would have been locked up without a key."

Read the whole Washington Times column here.

The YouTube clip below is from the movie version of "To Kill a Mockingbird" -- a scene that could have been right out of the Zimmerman trial as O'Mara and West exhorted jurors to only consider the evidence - and not the passions stirred by media outlets, irresponsible public officials, and race hustlers that even included President Obama.

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