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Did Obama Shamelessly Capitalize On Trayvon Martin’s Death?

March 23
15:30 2012
ADAM MICHAEL LUEBKE
Los Angeles

Credit: adrigu

President Obama said, in that special way he has, that if he had a son (and he doesn’t), that son would look like Trayvon Martin. Was that an odd thing to say? Or was it a necessary line from a national leader in these charged times? Either way, the president’s words rang out like a rockstar’s power chord reverberating over an audience packed into an amplified stadium.

Whether for political gain, or to soothe the general populace, the president’s words seemed contradictory to me. If Obama’s son would have looked like Trayvon Martin, is it noteworthy to remind ourselves that the young sons in far away lands like Pakistan and Afghanistan don’t look nearly enough like Martin?


Why doesn’t our president ever condemn his own trigger-pulling, or that of the administration before him, when it comes to predator drone strikes and Tomahawk missile attacks in Yemen? Does he weep for Anwar al-Awlaki’s sixteen year old son, who was born in Denver, but perished in an American drone attack overseas? What about the boy’s 17-year old cousin? Or the seven other people who were caught in the whirlwind of US fire?

This essay isn’t meant to marginalize the egregious murder of Trayvon. It’s meant to ponder why, as a nation, we seem barely bothered by the hundreds, if not thousands, in Pakistan alone, that have been killed by drone strikes. Many of those murdered were children. Or the US missile strike on al Majala that ended the lives of fourteen women and twenty-one children. (Obama has forced the Yemeni journalist who exposed this attack to remain locked in jail)

Who is president Obama, and our US government’s military fixation, closer to in mentality? The shooter? Or the one pleading for his life?

Three children wounded by US bomb in Afghanistan. Credit: RAWA

Even if Barack Obama’s nonexistent son doesn’t resemble a Pakistani child, they are still children, and they have nothing to do with terrorism, or the suspected terrorist the drone was after in the first place (except that those children’s families happened to live in the same apartment complex, or city block that was obliterated by Hellfire missiles).

When will we be able to get somebody in office (man or woman, Hispanic, white, black, Asian, or whatever) who can honestly mourn the loss of life, and share in national suffering, without having his hands already dripping in innocent blood?

There’s no need to reiterate the stress and horror most in this nation feel over the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. The evidence so far seems to show that George Zimmerman shot the young black boy, execution style, even as he pleaded for his life. I can’t even bear to listen to the 9/11 recording. I won’t be able to sleep.

But I don’t care who you are. You don’t kill human beings, whether you’re invading a foreign nation, or stalking a black boy wearing a hoodie walking through your city block. You especially don’t shoot someone pleading for his or her life. You also don’t write off nine boys gathering firewood when gunned down by NATO helicopters as “collateral damage” in the war on terror.

Alas, nobody knows exactly what went down on that awful Florida evening, probably not even George Zimmerman, but the outrage continues to engulf the nation like a wildfire whipping throughout a dry, summertime forest. This is a good time to reevaluate our national values and principles.

It’s time to call for an end to all violence, whether in the name of war and invasion, or under Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. Those who murder should be held accountable with a speedy and fair trial — US presidents included. Enough of this blanket immunity spread by the War on Terror bullshit.

If Trayvon Martin’s mother and father can’t eat or sleep or speak, I wouldn’t be surprised. The heartache they are suffering must be enough to possibly threaten their health and lives. They have most of a nation behind them, supporting them, and will hopefully be given justice for their son’s murder. But who do the parents of slain Afghan children have? What kind of justice could they ever hope for?

Thousands of Afghans or Pakistanis could gather and protest the US’s continued military strikes, and the only press they’d get would be a clip on American mainstream media calling them jihadists and terrorists.

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