Robert E. Meyer
August 21, 2013
We are all exhausted from the Zimmerman v. Martin media fiasco, but need to indulge it once again as a prelude into this piece.
I have no first-hand knowledge as to what happened in the fatal altercation between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. As such, I cannot protest for justice.
Based on the information I was presented, it seems that both parties in this tragic incident, failed to be reluctant participants, in that neither did all they could to avoid confrontation.
Zimmerman was found not guilty, because there was a lack of evidence to convict him of murder. Being not guilty doesn't make him entirely innocent. It appears that a zealous prosecutor overcharged Zimmerman to appease the hue and cry of angry people, while some officials were pressured to act on sentiment rather than evidence.
What bothers me more than anything is that people who don't know any more than I do, feel they have a right to protest so-called injustice through looting, vandalism and violence as revenge directed toward the innocent.
In addition I hold responsible those media outlets and celebrities that have fanned the flames, by trying to make this appear as a racial incident.
And that's the chief racial problem in America today. The pendulum has swung from overt racism against minorities, to an extreme where virtually every event is deconstructed to give a racial interpretation. The late legal scholar, Robert Bork complained in his tome "Slouching Towards Gomorrah" that too many ethical issues have become politicized. It seems that now many have been "racialized" as well.
The latest example to make national news was an event the occurred at the Missouri State Fair. A rodeo clown wore mask of Obama, mocking him profusely. The action was disgraceful and disrespectful to be sure, but presidents have been lampooned by comedians since the Twelfth of Never without jeopardizing their careers. Not so with this clown, who isn't laughing much these days. How does one divine racial prejudice from this event?
August 28th marks the half-century anniversary of the famous "I have a dream" speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall in Washington D.C. One of the most famous lines of the speech was as follows.
"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
Dr. King's whole goal was color-blindness on the part of Americans, which seems to be in contrast with our current cadre of opportunists.
I was opposed to President Obama's economic policies and political ideology from day one, but I thought he might at least have a more positive impact on racial dissonance in this country. Obama has not only chosen to weigh in on some local incidents which presidents usually don't involve themselves with(From Professor Gates to George Zimmerman), but did so in a way that, in my opinion, created more dissention and unrest.
Obama has the undivided attention of the African-American community. Rather than urging calm and using soothing language, Obama seems to pick at the sore. Instead of Abraham Lincoln's tone "With malice toward none with charity toward all," to quell retributive tensions following the Civil War, Obama attempts no similar message of healing to diffuse the racial innuendos, but leaves the pot simmering on the stove. That tendency is disturbing.
The practice of labelling all criticism of Obama as racism, has become standard operating procedure for at least some of his supporters. They do so because it has been effective. To those who habitually exercise this ploy, I ask them if it was Alan Keyes who were president, rather than Barack Obama, would their own opposition to the policies of Keyes be de facto racial discrimination?
If one asks the rhetorical question, "When did you stop beating your wife," it is assumed that wife beating occurred in the past. The burden is on the one making the accusation to offer evidence for his assertion. What is missing is the evidence, yet merely making the charge creates a beneficial distraction.
Presently, character assassination is the new American pastime du jour. We all recognize that racism is a serious offence, but few are as careful and keen to observe that false accusations of such a vice are equally egregious. One must then ask about the general motives behind such assertions. I think the answer becomes obvious: nobody likes to be accused of bigotry in any form, and claims of such motives or illicit conduct cause the one being accused to abandon his arguments or agenda and focus on defending himself from the allegations.
Aside from being disingenuous, there are two basic problems with the presumption of institutional or latent individual racism at the heart of all criticism. First, it allows minority candidates to justify avoiding the personal introspection necessary to develop character, change approaches and adjust public policy. Secondly, it makes minority candidates functionally immune to all critique(since all criticism is really just cloaked racism), which is bad for the political process.
It's important to acknowledge that there will always be individuals and groups harboring racial hatred. Some of that element is present in the criticism of the president to be sure, yet some refuse to acknowledge that achieving social justice does not depend on eradicating every last vestige of prejudice remaining in America.
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