Friday, July 19, 2013

President Obama and Trayvon - Unite'er or Divider?

President Obama gave his thoughts on the Trayvon/Zimmerman case this morning
I listened to it a couple of times, I wanted to make sure I didn't read into it anything that wasn't there.

There's enough of that going on in the media already, Right and Left.

Lot's of clips of what's being said and lot's of interpretations not eluded to in the presidents original transcripts.

Okay, so here are my personal thoughts on what the president said, just my own thoughts and not in any particular order.

My overall, step back and listen, impression is that it seemed a bit one sided. His sympathies mentioned in the first half of the speech and specifically his points made that "Trayvon could have been my son....I could have been Trayvon 35 years ago" seemed at first understandable. He is African American just like Trayvon, he also seems to suggest that he had a hard life like Trayvon.

What is he saying? He also smoked pot like Trayvon, wandered the streets like Trayvon? Is he saying Trayvon didn't have a strong father figure like him?

He wants to make some sort of connection with this family and distance himself from the Zimmerman family. Why?

Out of empathy? Is he sincere or only trying to make sure his African American voting base (90%) is intact?
I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Here's where I have a bit of a problem. Right after he goes through this part of his speech, I hear no sympathy for the Zimmerman family. What about the multiple death threats his family is getting? What about the tragedy affecting both families. The loss of a son for the Martin's and the instability of the Zimmerman family with a future of forever looking over their shoulders.
Nothing, not even a mention.

Now one may say the president is only expressing his empathy and inner feeling for the tragic loss of the Martins however he is the President of the United States and so I would think that his comments would recognize ALL the sense of loss here. He must go beyond his personal feelings.

The president then goes on to mention the plight of the African American male, having to hear "clicking car doors" and women in elevators "clutching there purses".

Well, I don't understand. With over 80% of arrests of people committing crimes being African American's is it any wonder. I don't think clicking your car door shut or woman holding on to her purse tighter is an extreme prejudice action. If it were a skin-head with a dog collar or  menacing bikers surrounding your car as you drive down the street, I don't think those action would seem out of place.

In his second part of his speech the president continues with an explanation as to why the African American community is suspicious and upset (I guess he is watching the late news of the the one here in LA) of the he calls Trayvon story, I think he means the disagreement of the verdict.

He blames it on the history and past of the African American life. He mentions the poverty the disproportional victims and arrests of African Americans (80% as mentioned above also includes that most of these are Black on Black crime).

He says the community is frustrated. So what does that mean? The African American community should and must be excused for pulling people out of their cars and beating them up, of trashing their neighborhoods, attempting to break into local stores and establishments as I saw happening in LA? That is not the crowd I saw, it was a crowd of young people out for a good time of causing pandemonium. I even saw very young kids (under 8yrs) being dragged with there moms who where apart of the riotous crowd. There faces were not ones of outrage at the Trayvon verdict. They were smiling and having a great time.

I've seen the LA Riots of earlier years. I worked in the area and it was terrifying watching the mob run wild, not knowing if you can make it out of the area and home safely. The city fires blazing as seen from the over packed freeways, hoping the mob won’t move on the cars and their occupants.

Was I over-reacting when I locked my car doors?

Towards the end of the speech the president mentions how Eric Holder is looking into a Civil Rights  case against Zimmerman.

Here again I'm confused. The thought is Trayvon had his civil rights violated. He's rights to walk to the store in the rain and get skittles and ice tea. ( What is Purple Drank?).

Was it racial? The FBI says it wasn't by the way.

What about Zimmerman's civil rights. The right to remain innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Seems the Media violated those rights by claiming his guilt night and day on the news.

I guess if you're going to investigate civil rights, why not do it all around.

So Mr. Obama ends his talk with a few good points. Generally discussing what we need to do next.

1. At the State level, Mayors and Governors training Police I presume to be more  cognizant of the African American mentality, to remove the mistrust.

I don't understand, I think we have plenty of African Americans on the police forces of our cities and in our State legislation. But I understand we can take another look at what can be done. Dialogue is always a good thing.

2. He mentioned the "Stand Your Ground" law, which by the way have no major reaches in the trial. He mentioned "If you have the right to carry, do you have the right to shoot"

Then he gave an example of Trayvon, if he was of age, would he have the right to shoot if he had a legal gun?
Sorry, what if's don't help in this matter. The facts of the case are the facts of the case. Putting forward a "straw-man" circumstance doesn't mean anything.

3. Point three was a very good point. The president said we must spend more time with our young African American boys, showing them ways to and means to educate themselves, pathways to succeed.

Absolutely, we need to do with all our children, black, white, brown...all our children. We need, both mothers and fathers involved with the raising of their children.

We recently had Father Mitch Pacwa out to our parish for a Saturday mini conference. The talks were recorded and can be obtained here: ( Events tab, MP3 Store).

His talked was on Culture War and the New Evangelization. He mentions many facts of how we came to be where we are today and what we need to do.

Seems all I got from the presidents speech is that I'm not Black so I don't understand, which is just as valid as "I'm white and you're not or Brown and you're not, or yellow and you're not or pick your race, and you're not and you'll never understand me".

What I do know and what we have been moving away from more and more is that fact that we do have something in common.

We are all children of God. We are all either going to Heaven or to Hell. No one seems to be concerned about that nowadays. We need to re-focus back on that once again.

 That is all that matters

Maybe then we can look at each other without colored glasses and know we have to help each other get to that heavenly reward.
It's not a world of "I'm getting all I can at the cost of everyone else" mentality. We need God back in our lives.

A couple of great resources, one of which I mentioned from Fr. Pacwa's website, and a book from Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy at Boston College entitled How to Win the Culture War 

Will the president's speech help prevent riots this weekend...I hope so. 
Is he a Divider or a Unite'er? 

 Will his remarks start the healing process? I don't know. I'd like to think his remarks were sincere but I just don't get that from his remarks.

 Prayer is what we need for the president and our nation and each other, for the Martin family for the 
Zimmerman family.

And a re-focus on our families, our faith, our belief on one God, on our brothers and sisters in Christ, black, brown, yellow, purple, red....

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