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Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Washington Post, "Obama on Trayvon Martin: The First Black President Speaks Out First As a Black American": Rubbish!

Read the lead online Washington Post article entitled "Obama on Trayvon Martin: The first black president speaks out first as a black American" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-on-trayvon-martin-the-first-black-president-speaks-out-first-as-a-black-american/2013/07/20/41f7045c-f154-11e2-bed3-b9b6fe264871_story.html?hpid=z1) by David Maraniss. It's rare that a news article succeeds in turning my stomach. In this instance, Maraniss succeeds in doing just that.

The article begins:

"Trayvon Martin, the president said, could have been him 35 years ago. That would have been Barack Obama at age 17, then known as Barry and living in Honolulu. He had a bushy Afro. Hoodies were not in style then, or often needed in balmy Hawaii. His customary hangout outfit was flip-flops, called 'slippers' on the island, shell bracelet, OP shorts and a tee.

Imagine if Barry Obama had been shot and killed, unarmed, during a confrontation with a self-deputized neighborhood watch enforcer, perhaps in some exclusive development on the far side of Diamond Head after leaving home to get shave ice. The news reports would have painted a complicated picture of the young victim, a variation on how Martin was portrayed decades later in Florida:

Lives with his grandparents; father not around, mother somewhere overseas. Pretty good student, sometimes distracted. Likes to play pickup hoops and smoke pot. Hangs out with buddies who call themselves the Choom Gang. Depending on who is providing the physical description, he could seem unprepossessing or intimidating, easygoing or brooding. And black."

Any discussion of the George Zimmerman acquittal must necessarily begin with the acknowledgement that no evidence was ever presented that Zimmerman was a racist. There is no mention of this fact by Maraniss. And while Obama and friends have persistently attempted to introduce race into this tragedy, there is no basis for doing so. Tragedy, yes; racially motivated killing, no.

Maraniss writes, "Imagine if Barry Obama had been shot and killed, unarmed, during a confrontation with a self-deputized neighborhood watch enforcer, perhaps in some exclusive development on the far side of Diamond Head after leaving home to get shave ice." What's wrong with Maraniss's analogy involving shave ice? Maraniss does not tell us that the Skittles and Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail, which Martin purchased, combined with cough syrup containing codeine and promethazine create a recreational drug named "lean," popular in the southern United States.

Was Martin aware of "lean"? This had been proven (see: http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2012/05/24/update-26-part-2-trayvon-martin-shooting-a-year-of-drug-use-culminates-in-predictable-violence/).

So, had Martin simply gone out to buy candy and a pop? You decide, but don't you also think that Maraniss had an obligation to inform us of the "lean" possibility?

But let's forget "lean," and instead focus on imagining "if Barry Obama had been shot and killed, unarmed, during a confrontation with a self-deputized neighborhood watch enforcer." Was Obama ever known for violence, even when provoked, or problems at his top private school in Honolulu?

Now compare Obama's privileged upbringing with that of Martin. As reported by the Miami Herald (http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/26/2714778/thousands-expected-at-trayvon.html):

"The Miami Gardens teen who has become a national symbol of racial injustice was suspended three times, and had a spotty school record that his family’s attorneys say is irrelevant to the facts that led up to his being gunned down on Feb. 26.

In October, a school police investigator said he saw Trayvon on the school surveillance camera in an unauthorized area 'hiding and being suspicious.' Then he said he saw Trayvon mark up a door with 'W.T.F' — an acronym for 'what the f---.' The officer said he found Trayvon the next day and went through his book bag in search of the graffiti marker.

Instead the officer reported he found women’s jewelry and a screwdriver that he described as a 'burglary tool,' according to a Miami-Dade Schools Police report obtained by The Miami Herald. Word of the incident came as the family’s lawyer acknowledged that the boy was suspended in February for getting caught with an empty bag with traces of marijuana, which he called 'irrelevant' and an attempt to demonize a victim.

Trayvon’s backpack contained 12 pieces of jewelry, in addition to a watch and a large flathead screwdriver, according to the report, which described silver wedding bands and earrings with diamonds."

Violence? Martin broke Zimmerman's nose, and Zimmerman was also bleeding from the back of his head.

Bottom line as I observed yesterday (http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2013/07/new-york-times-editorial-president.html), Obama as a young man was always on an entirely different trajectory from that of Trayvon Martin.

Yes, there is still much racism in America, and there is a proclivity to violence. But while racism was not demonstrated by the prosecution in the trial of George Zimmerman, President Obama insisted on Friday on explaining away the violent response to the Zimmerman verdict by alluding to racism, and in so doing, he again added fuel to the fire.

This was not the occasion for Obama to go grandstanding. He could not have been Trayvon Martin.

There is always a need to address and confront racism, but this was neither the time nor place. This was a time for healing and for bringing the temperature down below the boiling point.

I repeat, timing is everything.

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