We’ve seen plenty of lynch mobs and rushes to judgment over the years. But rarely has there been such conditioned national distress as we’ve seen with the Trayvon Martin case.
Reactionaries – some of whom make a very nice living out of reacting – have tried to compare the black teen’s death in a gated Florida community to the civil rights fight in Selma.
That’s just beyond dopey, and is a gross insult to the pioneers of the Civil Rights movement. For one thing, whatever young Trayvon Martin was, he was not a freedom marcher. Fact is, troubling reports of antisocial views and compromising positions are surfacing that put into serious question the Boy Scout image his supporters have put forth.
Secondly, whether his killing was justifiable or not, he wasn’t killed by a government or a society or a race.
If Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman was overzealous and is found to be at fault in the case, he will, and should, face the consequences. But the scene in Florida resembles nothing less than a lynch mob, which African-Americans might be the first to recoil from.
We need to calm down and let the facts come out – while no doubt watching the system like a hawk.
Instead, professional parade-jumper Al Sharpton and others are whipping people into a frenzy and further dividing the nation. Meanwhile, President Obama has failed to bring any coherence to the table – oddly noting that if he’d had one, a son would look like Trayvon. Really? That’s the best our first black president can do?
And cynically, Democrats in Washington and Florida see the surf’s up and are trying to catch a political wave – holding hearings in D.C. and seeking a special legislative session in Tallahassee, all while the criminal investigation goes on.
This isn’t a political football with which to try to win points. It’s a tragic confrontation, the full picture of which has yet to emerge.
Beware those who seek to exploit it.