David Limbaugh Column: Obama Should Help America Heal
It seems to me that almost every time President Obama talks publicly about race, he stirs things up rather than calms them down. Whether intentional or not, it's unfortunate — and damaging.
It's difficult to express opinions on race that don't conform to the politically correct narrative, because race baiters are always lying in wait to denounce as a bigot anyone who dissents from their assessment. Indeed, many leftists who call for a national dialogue on race routinely brand conservatives as racists — merely because they are conservative — even when they remain silent on racially sensitive issues.
But understand this: Whether or not people publicly express contrary opinions, millions hold them, and they'll continue to, no matter how effective the liberal establishment is at intimidating them into public silence.
Let me share with you a few objectionable statements in Obama's latest trip to the podium to discuss race: his unscheduled remarks last week on the George Zimmerman case.
He said he would "let all the legal analysts and talking heads address (the legal issues in the case)," clearly implying he wouldn't inject himself into those matters, which is great, except that he did just the opposite.
He said, "I'd just ask people to consider: If Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman, who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened?"
Aside from the inappropriateness of Obama's speculating about the legal issues after saying he wouldn't, his questions are gratuitously incendiary and misleading.
Under what set of facts presented to the jury — or that we've heard elsewhere — or under what law of any federal or state jurisdiction could Martin, had he been armed, have been justified in shooting Zimmerman?
Is the chief executive of the United States of America really suggesting that people can open fire on someone who is not attacking them or threatening them but just following them? Are neighborhood watch programs henceforth to be outlawed?
We don't even know whether Martin felt threatened — as opposed to, say, incensed. If he had been threatened, would he have circled back to assault Zimmerman after he had removed himself from the scene (and any danger, assuming he was ever in danger)?
Obama also said, "That all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different."
Oh? I just ask you to consider: If the races of the two gentlemen had been reversed, would any groups have organized protests to pressure state and federal authorities to pursue criminal charges against the shooter when investigators and prosecutors had concluded they had no winnable case? Would the president and attorney general of the United States have injected themselves into the case with racially charged remarks and otherwise to pressure authorities to file charges?
The answer is, "No — it's not even conceivable."
How appropriate is it for Obama to intimate that with the exact same facts except for the respective races of those involved, the shooter would have been convicted?
Obama doesn't and cannot possibly know that, but what's worse is that what he's suggesting — while denying he's doing so — is either that Zimmerman was guilty but acquitted because he is a nonblack person who shot a black person or that if he'd been a black person, he would have been convicted, even if he'd been acting lawfully in self-defense. Just, wow!
Is Obama projecting his own racial predispositions here? After all, he did say, "It's important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away."
Did people completely miss that outrageous remark? "A history that doesn't go away" or a history that he refuses to let go of? Of course history doesn't go away, but does that mean there will be no redemption and no forgiveness — ever? Is Obama saying that certain people simply will never allow us to get past our racially tainted history and live in harmony? If not, forgive me for drawing that inference based on my own observations of the endless exploitation of the race issue by the present-day civil rights movement.
President Obama has a moral duty as president of all Americans not to pit groups against each other. He has a duty not to undermine the public's confidence in the legal system based on his own biases, especially when virtually all experts believe that the case was correctly decided.
How can anyone have heard or read the totality of Obama's speech and conclude he helped calm racial relations?
Is it too much to expect that just once, Obama would not make a situation about himself? Could he just once use his uniquely historical position to lead the nation toward colorblindness rather than effectively fan the flames of racial animosity?
We really need to come together, and you need to help us heal, not drive us apart, Mr. President.
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book, "The Great Destroyer," reached No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction. Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.