Anyone who thought the acquittal of George Zimmerman would easily be the most disappointing thing Americans would hear this weekend was quickly proven wrong. There were countless offensive reactions to the verdict, most notably gleeful celebration (which I refuse to dignify by giving the sources of said celebratory reactions the benefit of additional readers and page views through links in this column). But the most offensive reaction of them all came from a surprising source: President Obama.
The White House released the following statement on behalf of the president:
The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.
The president left out one small detail. Well, several actually. For starters, one way to honor Trayvon would be to have an honest conversation about why his death happened. You can’t do that without mentioning the issue of race. Yet somehow the president managed to avoid mentioning it in the 166 words above. Just as he carefully avoided mentioning it when previously discussing this tragedy last year.