Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Fisking the President's Speech on George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, Part I
Last week, President Obama came out unannounced to the Press Room in the White House to give an "impromptu" speech on the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case. The speech has been praised as Lincolnesque or as the second coming of Martin Luther King. It's not, and no thinking person could believe it is. Here are my notes:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I — I wanted to come out here first of all to tell you that Jay is prepared for all your questions and is — is very much looking forward to the session.
I haven't checked the audio, but I can imagine giggling here as the President mentions his paid dissembler, Jay Carney.
Second thing is I want to let you know that over the next couple of weeks there are going to obviously be a whole range of issues — immigration, economics, et cetera — we’ll try to arrange a fuller press conference to address your questions.
If those issues are important, why aren't you speaking about them NOW?
The reason I actually wanted to come out today is not to take questions but to speak to an issue that obviously has gotten a lot of attention over the course of the last week, the issue of the Trayvon Martin ruling. I gave an — a preliminary statement right after the ruling on Sunday, but watching the debate over the course of the last week, I thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit.
It's not a "ruling." It was a jury verdict. A "ruling" is something that a judge does. A jury renders verdicts as a trier of fact. Obama should know this (if he had ever really practiced law and not just been a pretend lawyer/community organizer/"lecturer"). It is unseemly to downgrade a jury verdict in a criminal case where the Constitution prohibits double jeopardy to a mere "ruling."
First of all, you know, I — I want to make sure that, once again, I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation. I can only imagine what they’re going through, and it’s — it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it.
Look, I feel sorry for anyone who has lost a family member to violence. But the "family" of Trayvon Martin included a father and mother who were not married or living together, a "family structure" that is all-too-common as the source of the various pathologies of the black underclass. Talking about the "incredible grace and dignity with which they've dealt with the situation" should also, if we really want an "honest" discussion (see Holder, Eric) include how extraordinarily bad a job they did in raising their child, who was basically on a path to complete dysfunctionality and criminality as an adult. Sorry, but what I'm saying is true, and what the President was saying is a fantasy. Until we start holding black parents accountable for their children's behavior, the black community will continue its spiral into chaos.
The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there are going to be a lot of arguments about the legal — legal issues in the case. I’ll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues.
Interesting... wasn't one of the reasons people said he was "the smartest man ever to become President" was the fact that he was a "Constitutional Law Professor"? (He wasn't, but put that aside.) Why so reticent about offering legal opinions? He certainly wasn't reticent in the Henry Louis Gates incident. He certainly wasn't reticent at the beginning of the Trayvon Martin case, when he offered that "if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon."
The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries were properly instructed that in a — in a case such as this, reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury’s spoken, that’s how our system works.
Well, right. But why then don't you instruct your Justice Department to stand down on the risible notion that Zimmerman ought to be tried a second time for a "hate crime"?
But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling. You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African-American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that — that doesn’t go away.
The French call this "nostalgie de la boue"... nostalgia for the mud. It's where an upper class intellectual borrows the lower class experience to enhance his own "street cred." Trayvon Martin has almost nothing in common with the Obama of 35 years ago. One of them was a high-achieving half-white Hawaiian prep school student on his way to the Ivy League, who was being raised by a middle class liberal family that happened to be white. The other is a non-achieving urban black youth steeped in a culture of rap, violence, drugs and sex, from what we used to quaintly call a "broken home." One was growing up in Lost Horizon. The other was growing up in Lord of the Flies.
More to come...