Everyone seems to want to add his/her two cents to the Zimmerman verdict, so here are mine for free, long-winded and a bit rambling – just like President Obama’s. On the most basic level this tragedy occurred because both men distrusted each other’s intentions. George Zimmerman felt Trayvon Martin was a thug up to no good and called the police to report him and based on Trayvon’s girlfriend’s testimony, Trayvon felt George was a “creepy ass cracker”, who was following him. The physical altercation occurred because of these misconceptions each man held about the other one. The fact that this case is being highlighted and played up as a symbol of racism has led to extreme characterizations about both men, where oddly enough the only way to describe it is folks who believe Trayvon was murdered have whitewashed his character and tried to turn him into a choirboy, instead of a young man who liked to fight. On the other hand George Zimmerman has had his character darkened to be a racist, wanna-be cop, who wantonly murdered Trayvon Martin, instead of a young man trying to keep his neighborhood safe.
A jury decided the facts they heard in court didn’t add up to second-degree murder or manslaughter and since I didn’t watch the entire trial (because I hate sensationalized trials), I accept our jury system and the verdict, regardless whether I think the jury is right. We are “a government of laws, not of men”, as our 2nd President, John Adams, put it. For instance, in the OJ Simpson case, I believe, based on various juror statements that some jurors based their decision on jury nullification, where they felt their racial views should be the basis of their decision. That pained me to hear that, because all cases should be decided on the evidence presented in the courtroom, but I accept our jury system and give wide berth to assuming a jury acted in good faith.. Nothing I have heard about George Zimmerman’s history has led me to believe that he was a raging racist, intent on murdering a black “child”, which seems to be the characterization the shameless race-hustlers in America have decided to run with. This case is a sad testament to the true state of race relations in America – anger and distrust still simmer below the surface and despite President Obama’s happy talk about uniting America, he’s been a continual source of fostering racial tensions and inserting himself into local legal matters, where he perceives racism. Distrust, which ignited the confrontation that led to this tragedy, sadly seems likely to be used to fuel a lot more mob mentality reaction, before it’s all said and done.
Facts matter and I’ll toss out a few – racism still exists in America, but often charges of racism come way too easily, which leads to actual racial tensions when false charges of racism get tossed about. There is no evidence that George Zimmerman was a flaming racist, which is the characterization that has been made here. President Obama gave a speech today validating this characterization and really just fanning more racial tensions and I marvel at how he takes great pride in his racial identity as a “black man in America”, but he never recognizes his white heritage at all. He does make incorrect statements pertaining to local incidents where he perceives race played a part and he sure wanted to label rural Pennsylvanians as racist rednecks. In regards to his own heritage, he threw his white grandmother under the bus and proclaimed her a typical racist white person too. Among black Americans, black people who hold conservative political views get ostracized by the prominent, loud black liberal establishment and get racially tagged as “Uncle Toms” or ““house negroes” or other vile racist names. Racism cuts both ways in America and that’s the sad truth. We have a highly honed sense of equal opportunity and a high level of teaching every American to report and seek legal redress based on racial, ethnic or gender sensitivity – we are the most sue-happy people on earth. Americans can’t just sit down and talk out little instances of friction caused by misconceptions about each other or work to build trust. In America we politicize just about everything.
The statistics on black crime in America show a disproportionate percentage of violence against black people is committed by black males. Now, those in the business of racial grievance politics try to spin this into racist efforts to arrest and prosecute black men more than white men. However to highlight the glorification of violence, disrespect for the law, women and yes, even human life, you need look no further than the thriving rap music industry and listen to the vile, hate-filled, violent lyrics. Here’s one of those home truths again, who you become depends on how you are shaped, trained and molded as a child. The breakdown of American families, where black families have been hit hardest, leads to the rampant violence and most certainly is harming more black children than the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. The race-hustlers, like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the NAACP and others latched onto this case to make money and to fuel more racial discord, not promote uniting Americans. And in typical left-wing political fashion, the cause has morphed from being about “justice for Trayvon” to a full-throated effort to repeal “stand your ground laws” and more gun control efforts. Sheer political opportunism – that’s what this is. It’s a tragedy that this young man is dead, but demanding we overthrow the Constitution won’t be “justice for Trayvon” either and I would be willing to bet money that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton already plotted which governmental agencies and which people they want to shakedown in order for them to call off their protests and agitating – these two men are extortionists, who peddle in inciting anger and divisiveness. That’s a fact.
Now, rather than marching, protesting, demanding we overthrow the Constitution and toss out the 5th Amendment: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.“, maybe what’s needed most is to use this case to educate young people on The Constitution and the long, intellectual legal history that underpins our legal system. I’ll even go a step further and say, that Trayvon’s girlfriend, Rachel Jeantel, is exhibit A of our desperate need to educate children. She stated that she is “new school people” and if “new school” means you can’t read cursive handwriting and need to have your friend write letters for you, we’re in sad shape. If “new school” means we accept racist claptrap on the intricacies of acceptable racial language and when a racial slur is acceptable, then we have taken great strides backwards in our civil rights march. For talking heads to let this young woman spew this racist nonsense, unchallenged, shows how far we have sunk. Of course, she’s being used and while her handlers did a nice style makeover, listening to this young woman’s racist nonsense saddened me a great deal.
We all form our perceptions based on our own lives, so once again, this is what I learned growing up in a blue-collar, rural village. My lineage is mostly PA Dutch and growing up, many of my relatives still spoke PA Dutch at home, but everyone learned to speak English in school. English is the language of success in America – this cuts across all racial, ethnic, social strata. Speaking proper English matters and placing a high value on quality education matters too. The travesty of justice Rachel highlights is the travesty of a multicultural education, where this young woman explains the nuances of applying racial epithets on various groups of people. A common ground demand that all people deserve to be treated respectfully should be the starting point in educating all American children. I learned that it’s hard for outsiders to understand speech heavily laced in a PA Dutch accent, but that was one struggle I avoided. I couldn’t speak without stuttering, so when I finally learned to spit out a few sentences without stuttering, my speech patterns mimicked my speech teacher (who was not PA Dutch). We never expected other Americans to learn our lingo, but learned we were part of America and needed to fit in. It’s fine to embrace your own culture or language, but to succeed in America, you must speak English! Rachel apparently has a part Creole background from what I’ve read, which was highlighted to explain her halting speech. Okay, fine, I understand coming from a home where another language was present and I sure understand halting speech from years of stuttering, but we live in America and a common language keeps us unified – it’s a strong, building block of one America, not some nefarious intent to steal your culture from you.
Way too many children in America, of all races and ethnicities, live below the poverty line. As someone who grew up in decidedly less than luxurious circumstances, I do understand the difficulties of fitting in with people who have had more advantages, but rather than embracing animosity toward those who have more, our common goal has to be to help all American children become successful and to reach for the stars. Rather than spend so much effort on dressing up Rachel, someone needs to sit her down and teach her about respecting other people and teach her about America – the land of opportunity.
My mother was the hardest working person I have ever met in my life. She set such high cleanliness standards that when I joined the Army, I was perplexed by so many fellow soldiers opting to sleep on the floor rather than in their bunks. Once they had their beds made to Army standards, they feared messing it up. I had no problem making my bed to Army standards in a few minutes, because I had been doing that my entire life (my Mom was a stickler for perfect hospital corners). I found many of the Army cleanliness standards less rigorous than my mother’s, who actually did use a white glove sometimes to show us where we missed dusting (oh my, don’t’ skip dusting the door frames). My mother also learned how to do so many things and she emphasized the point that for most things in life – there’s a right way to do it. Too many Americans wallow in envying what other people have and our culture is obsessed with acquiring stuff. This emphasis on material wealth decimates many poor Americans, because so much effort is expended on acquiring things or on looking for self-worth in material objects.
We should be teaching our children that character and how you treat others is the gold standard. My mother took care of everything she had and she never allowed us to whine about what we didn’t have. She taught us to be thankful for the many blessings that living in America provides and I am still amazed at how my parents always worked hard to make the things they did have last as long as possible, yet they still managed to help others who had less. There’s always someone worse off than you and so when my father passed away, my mother told me she took my Pop’s new winter coat and gave it to a young man who worked at the gas station, because she noticed he didn’t have a warm coat. Very few young people pay any attention to the people around them, because most people, young and old alike, spend their lives distracted by electronic gadgets and on material stuff. If there’s one thing we should glean from this case is that with a little open communication between these two young men, this tragedy could have been averted and we sure need more parents in America like mine – yes, I think my parents set an excellent example and they talked about stuff like responsibility and duty and they sure didn’t want to hear a bunch of boohooing about other people having more. They would put you to work doing chores and tell you that this is America – you need to work hard and you can do anything.
I’ve noticed in many black homes there’s a copy of the MLK, “I Have A Dream” speech hanging in the living room. In first grade, one of my white “cracker” sons got selected by his black teacher to play Martin Luther King Jr. in their black history month play (true story). I heard many grumblings sitting in the audience from black parents and afterwards I mentioned this to the teacher and she told me matter-of-factly, that my son was the best at reading out loud in that class. This teacher was living by the words within that speech and maybe we all need to move in that direction. A fancy makeover isn’t going to help Rachel, once these race-baiters who are handling her get done with her. Someone needs to teach her that all people matter and her silly racial semantics are hate-filled racism baring its ugly head. I doubt anyone will tell her that though. I sure wish we could clone my son’s dedicated first grade teacher, who was a DoDDS teacher working in Germany. She exemplified excellence in teaching. She spent so much time not only trying to make classroom time count, but she spent many hours putting together a monthly program where she invited the parents and all she asked of us was that we bring some food to eat to fit the occasion. Growing up in an almost exclusively white community, no one in my school talked about Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights era. Until my son had to practice that speech, I had never read the entire speech. Instead of looking for causes to divide America, leaders should read this speech and start living it. And we all need to move in the direction of talking to each other rather than escalating the distrust and racial animosity. As black activists, from the President on down, march us backwards, dividing America, it’s obvious we’ve got a ways to go before we will get people to “sit down together at a table of brotherhood”. Watching this sad national spectacle, we sure don’t seem to be any closer to his dream and our long national nightmare of dealing with the racial discord seems a vast, widening chasm of dashed hopes and way too little real change.
I can excuse Rachel for her racist statements, she’s a kid who doesn’t know better, but really the smallness of President Obama’s racial pandering and disingenuous statements about “wringing as much bias out of me”, while moments earlier in this speech he regaled us with the rampant racial profiling he experienced in his very ethnically diverse home state of Hawaii disgust me. Here’s a quote from him on growing up in Hawaii that he wrote long before this FL situation: “The opportunity that Hawaii offered—to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect—became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear.” He never lived in the Jim Crow South, but he sure has borrowed that narrative as his own, and it’s about as realistic as his ridiculous statement that, “Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”…….. except for the pesky fact that unlike Trayvon, who was into ground and pound fighting, Barry liked to hang out and get high as a teenager, then he went to college in CA, followed by NY and then he became a community organizer in Chicago and then on to Harvard. Between the racial pandering at the beginning of this speech and the MLK rhetoric at the end lies the truth in this speech – he wants to expand the federal encroachment into local matters. Yes, he may be the Constitutional scholar who went to Harvard, but he sure seems intentionally, willfully determined to ignore any of the parts that are inconvenient to his far left political visions – like the 10th Amendment:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”