Saturday, July 20, 2013

Doing the Right Thing...Too Much

    President Obama just could not help himself !  He had to do more that he did on the day of the Florida verdict; issue a short, diginfied, presidential statement setting the tone of sadness and reflection, the only truly human, civilized, Christian response to the legal outcome of the George Zimmerman's trial for those who did not find comfort in it. The only response that could calm the streets down. Alas, the president felt it was not enough ! He had to speak out, and bare his soul and capture the sad and, yes maddening,  incident as his personal experience, as the experience of his people, that would breathe some meaning to that awful, senseless killing which claimed young Trayvon's life on that rainy night in Sanford. There is of course nothing wrong with the sentiment. It comes from the noblest part of our soul, from the desire to share in someone's pain and suffering, from the resolve to set things right.  

    Unfortunately, the idea is fraught with danger. The president in his soul-searching failed to perceive that it was the same noble sentiment which propelled George Zimmerman to open the door of his car and to pursue the shadowy figure that deprived his community of peace and security.  He too already did the right thing !  He called the police dispatch to take a look at someone who did not seem quite in place. But he had to do more ! He had to get involved personally because - it seemed to him - the regular tools to right this wrong were not adequate.

     I imagine that Trayvon felt the same when he was confronted by a strange huffing and puffing creepy ass cracka who had a problem. He too tried to correct the perception the man had of him, one that was obviously wrong. He too went too far, young and inexperienced as he was in the ways of this world.

    There is no other tragedy in the death of Trayvon Martin that I see, certainly no cause worth fighting for.  If we all could just learn to step back when we feel we are so right and the other person or people so wrong !  I hope the president will eventually see that it is wrong to use his office to the ends he did yesterday.   I agree with much that he said, including the "Stand Your Ground" laws. They are unworthy of a civilized people. It is just that it is not right to speak about one community experiences in an incident that touches everyone in the US, including the man who was acquitted of a crime but has to live in hiding because there are so many people who in their noble sentiments want to do far more than is just. They demand what George Jonas once aptly described as "affirmative atrocity".
    The president needs to find a way how to address everyone in this, fairly and equitably. Stories about car doors clicking and ladies clutching purses will not do it. Someone needs to step up boldly and say, it is one thing to do the right thing and another thing to know how much of the right thing you may do before you bring down the house divided ! 

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