The Strange, Acidic Brew of Politics and Race
July 15, 2013
Over the course of the past month or so, as time and schedule allowed, we became transfixed following the live televised trial of a man of mixed race fighting for his future life, via an astute defense attorney by the name of Mark O’Mara, and his team. O’Mara methodically laid out the facts as they were recorded and documented, and as nuances of the trial unfolded, the curious eyes of the public and the varying degrees of strongly held unwavering opinion, unfolded as well. Simultaneously, the State’s prosecution team worked feverishly, until the 11th hour, to attempt to close gaps and bring closure to a grieving family, while appeasing a thirst for blood by a vast segment of the population.
I admit I watched at times with a knot in my stomach, and pondered what a stoic George Zimmerman had to be thinking through much of it. Was his roller coaster ride more ups than downs? How many moments were consumed with indescribable regret, remorse, anger, fear and sadness and knowing, no matter the outcome, his life would be forever changed for the worse?
And...how did it feel knowing that a lynch mob mentality awaited him, should he have the jury elect to allow him to go free? Did he ever in his heart of hearts secretly question himself if he shot and killed a teenager in self-defense, truly, or was he indeed what much of the population considered him to be: a gun happy vigilante, a cop wannabe with an itchy trigger finger, eager to break in his piece? Did he ever dream during that awful night of violence, if the President of the United States would be injecting his viewpoint (and his obvious racism) of politics and race relations into a story that was previously 2nd page material for a local newspaper? No, George Zimmerman was as blindsided by the mushroom effect of his plight as the rest of us. And he had no choice but to ride it out.
I learned the verdict on the car radio, nonchalantly riding back from dinner with my husband. My initial feelings were of profound relief for George Zimmerman and his family. Did I buy the defense’s claims because I found O’Mara a calmer, seemingly brighter, better prepared and more methodical attorney who laid out indisputable facts and referenced the law respectfully, day after day? Or did I just want George Zimmerman to be innocent because I never got over the fact that O.J. Simpson walked free after slaughtering two innocent white people?
This troubled me greatly! My Christian values dictate that no one has the right to take a life except God, while the right to defend oneself has prevailed throughout the ages! And then...there are parents who tragically lost their son and whose lives will also be forever changed. Nice people who were doing their best with their son, their Trayvon Martin whom they loved, regardless of his history of fighting and burglarizing, drug use or school troubles and suspensions, ultimately putting him out of their home, in obvious frustration. No, no matter what transpired under the Martin roof, they loved their son, and a young life was snuffed that night. No one can deny or not empathize with what all parents would agree universally is the worst thing that can happen in their lifetime, the death of a child. A future gone, no one will ever know if Trayvon Martin might have turned his life around to become a contributing member of society.
But what transpired fully that night, we will never know. I doubt even Zimmerman can remember every minute, as he was called upon to do.
I am relieved that Zimmerman did not become a sacrificial lamb as payback to Obama supporters for their votes. I am relieved to learn that the jury of 6 women, all of whom were Democrats, decided to stick to the facts and the letter of the law and not purposely choose to widen a chasm of vitriolic race relations we know for decades in our country. I am glad they separated fact from fiction. I am encouraged in knowing that, as long as there was reasonable doubt, time frames that could not be filled nor explained away, and the altering of the 911 call and photos of George Zimmerman’s injuries by the liberal media did nothing to contribute to the prosecution team’s efforts to obfuscate those facts.
As the DOJ takes the Civil Rights pot off the back burner (where it simmered temporarily until the trial’s end) and brings it to the forefront, George Zimmerman’s freedom and right to walk nonchalantly through the world will remain curtailed. In fact, it will probably never happen again. Though exonerated by a jury system that seemingly did not fail, his own civil rights will be forever compromised.
But let the civil suits commence, and the bitter racial cauldron continue to bubble and boil. We will watch and shake our heads as the great divide of hatred and animosity only widens. How hypocritical to realize that our country’s leader first stirred that pot when he infused in the minds of America his opinion of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in 2009 when he opined that police in Cambridge, Massachusetts "acted stupidly" in arresting a prominent black Harvard professor after a confrontation at the man's home, while unabashedly admitting "I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played." Really? This, from a former law professor and the leader of the free world?
In his ever-sincere manner today Obama issued a statement that the time has come to “ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.”
Indeed, Mr. President. The time has come.
Lorraine Edwards, Editor-in-Chief