It was more than 40 years ago that civil rights leader Martin Luther King fought a courageous and largely successful battle for equality and justice for African-Americans. Today, professional agitators and slick profiteers disguise themselves as civil rights leaders. With little to do during times of relative calm, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and others like them patiently wait for the next opportunity to fan the flames of racism, for it is the perpetuation of racial unrest that sustains them.
They found another gig in the Martin-Zimmerman case. It was a perfect opportunity for them. A young, unarmed black youth was shot and killed by a light-skinned older man. With the help of a collusive media, they painted a different picture. The victim became, not a strong, impetuous youth, but a “child.” The fact that he was carrying a bag of Skittles candy added to the illusion. The Hispanic shooter was identified as “white,” and the agitators succeeded in injecting racial overtones and rallying broad support for a fair trial. We knew that would not be enough. So after the fair trial and the acquittal, they went back to the media to demand more justice. It’s clear they are not interested in the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman. What matters is the chance to re-create the 1960s.
When the case first came to light, it was hard to find supporters for Zimmerman. Those who did support him believed the self-defense conclusion issued by police and the prosecutor. They were nonetheless willing to accept the verdict of a jury trial. Others, outraged by the public relations image of an angelic black child senselessly killed, demanded nothing less than a prison sentence for Zimmerman.
The trial gave us a clearer picture of the incident. The jury and most reasonable people concluded that Martin was the victim of tragic circumstance, and that both parties made mistakes. One was an untrained would-be cop, who happened to be Hispanic, and only wanted to protect his neighborhood. The other was a youthful scrapper, who happened to be black, and decided to confront that meddling “cracker” with his fists. By then, both were already in a dangerous situation, and when Zimmerman ended up on the receiving end of a vicious, potentially fatal beating, he called out for help. When none came, his instinct for self-preservation took hold, and without thinking about Martin’s skin color, he fired his weapon. Had he not, he would likely have died or suffered permanent injury.
Like vultures descending after a battle, other exploiters have swooped in to get what they could. Hillary Clinton is a perfect example. After the verdict, she quickly jumped in front of a black audience to express sympathy and outrage, carefully balancing her remarks so as not to alienate her other constituents. Several audience members knew what she really wanted and called out “Run, Hillary, run!” And while it was clear that she was scavenging for black votes, at least she spared us the phony dialect that emerged during her 2007 campaign speech in Selma.
Then there are the dupes – all those who blindly swallowed the inflammatory rhetoric without considering the facts. They are from all walks of life, but let’s focus on the big-name entertainers since they have the loudest voices, and best represent the dupes. While stereotyping is something they generally like to do, it’s fair to say that the political and social comments coming from their world generally reflect not so much intellectual honesty or prowess, but rather a herd mentality. Take, for example one such comment: “White people used to make black people drink from separate drinking fountains…now we just shoot their children.” Most Americans understand that comments like that are really nothing more than pathetic attempts to climb aboard the bandwagon. It feeds their over-inflated egos to imagine that they alone hold the high ground on racial issues.
The dupes ignore the simplest of questions. If Zimmerman had intended to hunt Martin down, why did he first call the police? More importantly, after an extensive investigation of Zimmerman’s past showed not a shred of racial animosity, but rather kindness towards minority youths, why has this become a racial issue?
The agitators, exploiters, and dupes all get something from the Martin-Zimmerman case. As they clamor to join Trayvon’s funeral procession, they ignore the facts and the consequences of their actions. For while they profess to be passionate enemies of racism, they in fact perpetuate racism by injecting it where it does not otherwise exist.
Peter Lemiska has spent more than 28 years in government service. He is a former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service and an Air Force veteran. His political commentaries have been widely published on line and in print.
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