Sunday, March 25, 2012

Republican Senator Defends President Obama's Comments on Trayvon Martin

Last week, the President, and those who challenge his seat, were among the many who spoke out in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin's murder.  On Friday, I commented on reports that the President had said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” by pointing out that his willingness to share empathy with Trayvon and his family made him a good leader, whereas Rick Santorum's choice to pick up a gun instead of a hoodie was distasteful and off the mark in more ways than one.

I have since noticed that I failed my readers in not mentioning another contrast to our president's fine leadership.  While our friend Rick was firing away at a Louisiana gun range, Newt Gingrich was also weighing in on Trayvon Martin.  Newt Gigrich's choice was not to reach out to Trayvon or his family.  He instead chose to attack the president for being aware of the fact that this murder was racially motivated when he said that "What the president said in a sense is disgraceful.  It’s not a question of who that young man looked like. Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe period.  Is the president suggesting that, if it had been a white who'd been shot, that would be OK, because it wouldn't look like him? That's just nonsense."

South Carolina Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, came to the president's defense on CNN’s State of the Union, "We all know there’s a racial component to this,"  and later adding, "nobody suggests that the president’s insensitive to the 17-year-old if he’d been white."   Now, remember folks, this is the same guy who defended Rick Perry and said that guy wasn't racist. In my opinion, it's saying quite a bit that he won't continue to tow the party line and defend Gingrich as well.

I don't want to waste your time, with a big long rant, or a stupid debate, over whether race played a part in this issue.  The fact is, that so long as we have to ask ourselves if race is playing a part in the issue, it is about race.  So long as we have a 911 tape with racial slurs being directed at the victim, it is about race.  So long as we have white boys safely walking around in hoodies with sweet tea and skittles, it is about race.  Most importantly; so long as we have presidential candidates who pussyfoot around issues like this, and try to make them not about race, because their white skin or privileged background doesn't allow them to feel empathy for a mother who has so obviously and unjustly lost her child, it's always going to be about race.

I say this because I have white skin, and my first thought was,"My sons have brown eyes too."  Their blood is just as red and salty as Trayvon's was.  My grief, had they been lost to hatred and ignorance, would be just as deep and dark as Trayvon's mother's grief.  These facts, and my ability to love this young man, and hate the hate that killed him, don't make me a racist.  They don't make Barack Obama a racist either.  The racists here, are George Zimmerman and those who protect him.

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