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From Obama to Trayvon Martin, the Consequences of Right Wing Race Baiting
In what can only be a nod to Palin-esque self-martyrdom, Fox News is using the Trayvon Martin shooting as a reason to claim liberals are going after the NRA, with their lower third reading:
“ANTI-GUN ADVOCATES USE TEEN’S DEATH TO GO AFTER NRA.”
According to Fox News, the story here is that the poor NRA is being targeted by horrible liberals who actually want the rule of law to prevail in this country. Way to miss the point, but then, Fox News can’t afford to get the point, because the fingers point at them.
Pro gun rights activists defending Zimmerman are clearly identifying themselves as a group that is against the rule of law; and rather, in support of vigilantism and societal chaos.
The presumption behind the Stand Your Ground law is ironically that the interests of the individual come before the interests of the state and the community at large, and ultimately that life is of less value than property. I say ironically because the alleged “pro-life” “Christian” NRA faction of the Republican Party supports these laws.
But even replete with these flaws, the law does not grant anyone the right to claim self-defense after they were the proven provoker. If anyone in this scenario is covered under the Stand Your Ground law, it is Trayvon Martin, and not George Zimmerman. Trayvon was the person being chased originally, as proven by the 911 tapes that the police had access to.
Let this be a warning to the gun fanatics and self-described “watch” citizens; no matter what your state law says, you do not have the right to shoot other citizens based upon the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, or any other prejudice that falls under hate crime laws.
For those who claim hate crime laws are unneeded, we go to Jackson, Mississippi where a white teenager pleaded guilty to killing a black adult by running him over with his truck after he and his buddies decided to go find a “black man to harass.” They drove to a town with a predominant black population, found this man, beat him, and then ran him over with their truck. The white teenager admitted that he and friends had done this before, but since they usually picked homeless or drunk black people to harass, they had gotten away with it.
The judge told this young man that there was no excuse for his prejudice after the young man said he was not raised to act in the way that he did. Just where did he get the idea that it was okay to “harass” (euphemism for beat and kill) black people for fun?
Jason and I discussed the relationship between Republican rhetoric aimed at the President and racial fear and hate tonight on Politicus Radio.
We are all supposed to pretend that the rabid rhetoric from Republicans hasn’t contributed to ginning up racial hatred in this country since the election of the first black President. Examples abound, and include but are shamefully not limited to:
Reports on Fox News about Obama’s ties to ’60s radical William Ayers, suggestions that the president “is fundamentally not American”, Fox’s Sean Hannity saying that Obama was tied to the “Chicago mob”, Glenn Beck saying Obama has a “deep-seated hatred” of white people and accusing Obama of satisfying his “desire For racial justice” via “intimidation, vilification, bullying”, Fox analyst and Republican candidate Newt Gingrich saying Obama exhibits”Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior”, Palin saying Obama pals around with terrorists, Rush Limbaugh’s “Barack the Magic Negro”, the entire Republican Party claiming Obama doesn’t love this country, the entire Republican Party questioning Obama’s Christianity, the Tea Party referring to the Muslim in the White House, Gingrich calling Obama the “food stamp president”, multiple episodes of Republican Party officials being caught sending blatantly racist emails, The Washington Times editorial “Obama: Whites need not apply”, the most recent “Don’t Renig” bumper stickers, and so many more.
While researching the Tea Party for his book Backlash, Will Bunch discovered:
That they were uneasy, if not terrified, by the arrival of an American president named Barack Hussein Obama — often because of the information they had learned about Obama from Fox News or from right-wing radio hosts such as Glenn Beck.
Just days ago, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze ran a story that suggested that we could not be sure that Trayvon Martin wasn’t an arsonist kidnapper, because his school said he was suspended once for tardiness. Translated into Right wing, this means he is really guilty of other reasons one might be suspended such as arson or kidnapping (talk about projection). Why exactly The Blaze feels the need to vilify Martin is unclear, except that in their word, the NRA’s legislation as pushed by ALEC must not be questioned, and so they reach for the blame the victim narrative they are so familiar with.
We’re supposed to be shamed by the Right’s defense of their free speech; just as so many were shamed when Bush invaded Iraq on a false premise. We’re supposed to be quiet about what we know to be true in our minds and hearts, and ignore the narrative told by a bloody trail of death and destruction.
Did this nation learn nothing from its recent past? We must not be silenced into not calling things as we see them; to call their rhetoric out as incendiary is not the same thing as ginning up hatred, no matter how desperately they try to make that false equivocation. It’s called holding them accountable for their choices.
We have allowed this to go down the all too predictable path, resulting in an atmosphere that stokes fear and hatred of a race, opening the door to the deaths of innocents once again. No, the individual Republican leaders who use racist remarks are not responsible for the “lone gunman’s” actions, but they are responsible for creating a mood pregnant with eager violence and the legislation to excuse it.
They are responsible for catering to the worst in human nature for cynical political gain, and for pretending they don’t know why it’s dangerous to do so. From teenagers to the mentally ill, there are many people who absorb the rhetoric of hate and funnel it through their own disorders and limitations. Responsible leaders know this.
Words have consequences.
Oh, relax. Everything’s going to be okay. Things are always better when everyone is armed and dangerous, jacked up by hate talk and under the illusion that the Stand Your Ground law allows them to follow someone who was not committing any crime, shoot them, and avoid even being arrested.