July 22 2013
President Obama has been receiving mostly praise in the media for his impromptu remarks on race last week that put America in such a bad light.
Instead of calming the nation in the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, President Obama pandered to the racial hucksters.
The Me Me Me Presidentonce once again showed his breath-taking self-absorption by noting that Trayvon Martin “could have been me thirty-five years ago.” This was a promotion. The president said in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, as you no doubt recall, that if the president had had a son, he would have looked like the troubled teen.
The president posed as a man explaining African-American grievances to the general public, which should be engaged in soul-searching in the wake of the Zimmerman acquittal. He made some bromidic remarks about the jury's having spoken but didn't have the guts to say that the jury looked at the (scant) evidence arrayed against Zimmerman and found that he acted in self-defense.
Here is what jumped out at me in the president's words:
I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.
But this history has gone away. As defense attorney Mark O’Mara commented Zimmerman would never have been brought to trial if he had been African-American. It was a case of self-defense and this was clear to the original law enforcement officials, who did not want to bring the case to trial. This is a far cry from the history that the president says doesn’t go away.
Some parsers of sentences have suggested that the president’s remarks were a clever attempt to express solidarity with the grievance community while at the same time dropping it into his remarks that the evidence is such that it is unlikely that the Justice Department will continue to persecute Zimmerman. So this is what we’ve come to?
The president could have turned this foray into the briefing room into a great moment in American history. What if the president had said that the Zimmerman trial had a fair outcome? It was, after all, watched by millions, so the evidence is there in the open for the public at large to review. What if the president had urged African Americans to recognize the fairness of the outcome of the trial and that American society has changed drastically in the last half century? The president was right to send praise and prayers to the Martin family. But what about the Zimmerman family, who have also endured a horrible ordeal, are currently in hiding, and, moreover, are also citizens of the country Mr. Obama leads?
To make a genuinely healing talk would have required a kind of depth and courage I don’t see coming from a man whose sincerest compliment is “he could have been me.” This president instead of going for real glory of calming the nation allied himself with the likes of Al Sharpton and other race baiters. Michael Goodwin writes:
Is Al Sharpton president of the United States? Or just attorney general?
I ask because it’s not clear where the rabble-rousing rev’s agenda ends and White House policy begins. These days, they are one and the same.
President Obama erased the final distinction Friday by describing the Florida shooting case exclusively in racial terms. Obama’s headline-grabbing statement that “Trayvon Martin could have been me” and his attempt to justify black anger were straight out of Sharpton’s playbook.
Don’t get me wrong — a personal speech on race from the first black president could be a game-changer in the right context. But this one suffered a fatal flaw — it ignored the fact that race played absolutely no role in the trial, including in lawyer statements, the evidence, testimony and the jury’s unanimous verdict of not guilty. Even the FBI found no evidence of racism by defendant George Zimmerman.
If Obama felt the need to say something, duty required him to emphasize the facts instead of endorsing racial manipulation. Sadly, though, his remarks follow a recent pattern where he and Sharpton sing from the same page. Both distorted the case to paint a broad picture of blacks as victims of white racism and ignored Zimmerman’s half-Latino family.
The turnout for the Trayvon Martin rallies this weekend was small. The heat had to be a factor. Roger L. Simon suggests that it is because the citizenry, if not the presidency, sees through the bogus racism claims:
Could it be that the citizenry, including African-Americans, supposedly so greatly injured, have seen through the media hype (what I earlier called media pornography) and themselves realize this case is simply an accidental, anomalous one-off and not that big of a deal?
I certainly hope so, because what we have been going through is a form of national nervous breakdown, taking us rapidly backwards on race relations, something that has improved consistently in our country over the last fifty years.
What is so sad in all this is that the president who was supposed to bring us together has torn us apart. He sided implicitly with the demagogues.