Two years after George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, the American left has shown once again that it is either incapable or unwilling to face the truth about race and crime.
For President Barack Obama, the July 2013 innocent verdict in Zimmerman’s trial presented a teachable moment. He chose not to seize it.
In his post-verdict remarks, Obama once again identified himself with Martin, now even more intimately. “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” said Obama.
Although at 17 Obama was living in Hawaii with his white family and attending an exclusive prep school, their color apparently was bond enough.
Like all men of color, said Obama, he knew what it was like to be followed in a department store or have women clutch their purses upon seeing him enter an elevator.
Even if true, Obama neglected to mention the motive behind this seeming bad behavior. Like Obama’s own grandmother, even the relatives of young black men know that they commit more than their share of crime, far more.
Obama did acknowledge that young men black men “are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence,” but he abandoned this thread prematurely.
Although he had the opportunity to shake up the debate, he instead pulled his ultimate punch, not in what he said, but in what he did not say. He let the idea stand that Martin was one of the victims of violence, but not one of the perpetrators.
If the president had called attention to the fractures in Martin’s domestic life, his suppressed criminal record, his all but unseen descent into drugs and violence, and especially his reckless attack on Zimmerman, Obama might have lent a dollop of moral seriousness to his remarks.
But he did not. Instead, he tacitly encouraged his audience to project their anger and anxiety on to racial scapegoat, George Zimmerman. Jesse “I want to cut his nuts out” Jackson had scared Obama off the track of serious cultural reform five years earlier. He never got back on.
Fearful of going deep, Obama spent most of the talk on shallow side issues like the limits of federal intervention, racial profiling and Stand Your Ground laws.
He capped the talk off with a cheerful bromide about America becoming, racially at least, “a more perfect union.” If that last sentiment had been true, one could forgive his swap of form for substance here, but it was not.
A comprehensive poll taken by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal during the days immediately before and after his talk showed that Obama failed in the one area in which even the opposition hoped he would succeed: bridging the racial divide.
In the month of his inauguration, 79 percent of whites and 63 percent of blacks held a favorable view of race relations in America.
By July 2013, those figures had fallen to 52 percent among whites and 38 percent among blacks, a calamitous decline, rarely addressed, never explained.
Attorney General Eric Holder appears to have learned even less. Two years after the shooting, his Department of Justice continues to investigate Zimmerman for some imagined civil rights violations, but concedes that charges aren’t expected.
In flagrant violation of Zimmerman’s Sixth Amendment rights, Holder hangs the Damoclean sword of federal prosecution over Zimmerman’s head for no nobler purpose than to keep his and Obama’s political base pacified.
The old bulls of the moribund civil rights movement responded much as one would expect them to. “I do not accept the [Zimmerman verdict],” Jesse Jackson told the world. Like a score of other liberal pundits, he absurdly compared the trial to that of Emmett Till’s murderers.
Al Sharpton called the Zimmerman verdict an “atrocity” and laid the blame on the jurors. “What this jury has done,” said Sharpton, “is establish a precedent that when you are young and fit a certain profile, you can be committing no crime … and be killed and someone can claim self-defense.”
Conceding the role mob pressure played in the arrest of Zimmerman, Sharpton did say one thing that was undoubtedly true, “We had to march to even get a trial.”
Just this past Sunday, Louis Farrakhan was demanding judicial apartheid. “We want equal justice under the law,” he said at the Nation of Islam’s annual convention. “Our people can’t take much more. We have to have our own courts. You failed us.”
The nation’s media showed some restraint, but many could not resist the urge to join the mob. The altogether typical New York Daily News asked, “When will it all end” at the end of a list that began with Emmett Till and ended with Trayvon Martin.
Two years after the shooting, the media continue to pretend that their trumped-of version of events was the right one and that the jury got it all wrong.
In his recent interview with George Zimmerman, for instance, Chris Cuomo of CNN – the network that translated a fully indecipherable word on the dispatcher call into “coons” – had the nerve to ask Zimmerman, “What was the miscarriage of justice?”
Here is the real injustice. In the two years since Trayvon Martin died, roughly 15,000 black Americans have been killed by other African-Americans.
If asked, I doubt if Barack Obama could name a one of them. I doubt if Holder could either. In these last two years, in these last five, neither has made a serious inquiry into why young black males kill and get killed at such a frightening rate.
It is so much easier and so much safer to blame George Zimmerman.
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