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When at the beginning of March, Allen Coon, a thirteen-year-old boy, was set on fire by two black teenagers who told him, “You get what you deserve, white boy,” this did not prove to be an occasion for national soul-searching. But the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by a Hispanic neighborhood watch captain after a scuffle between the two men has led to hysterical media coverage, state and federal investigations, civil rights marches, lynching threats from the Black Panthers and a statement from Obama urging Americans to search their souls for some unspecified reason.
The latter took time out from the trivial business of nominating a World Bank president to interfere in a local law enforcement matter and join his good friend Al Sharpton, who specializes in racist rhetoric, in throwing some racebaiting gasoline on the flames.
To Obama, the significance of the whole event was that Trayvon Martin looked like his hypothetical son, which presumably Allen Coon did not. The insufferable egotism of that statement suggests that shooting victims only matter if they look anything like the head cheese. It’s racial feudalism and personal politics at its ugliest even as it once again confronts us with Obama’s inability to talk about anything without shining it through the narcissistic lens of the self.
Even Trayvon Martin only matters because he is in some hypothetical sense linked to Obama, and every trending topic from Jeremy Lin to the million hoodie march must be commented on by him in some way to demonstrate his own relevance in the mobius strip of fame. There can be no 2012 election without the race card, and so Martin was posthumously drafted into the Obama family portrait that appears on campaign ads to remind the rest of the country that they still need to feel guilty and vote the left’s ticket.
“All of us have to do some soul searching,” Obama urged, as somehow a local shooting had become a national matter and then a burden of guilt staining the souls of an entire nation. With the dexterous agility of the practiced race huckster, a Hispanic man shooting a black man had become another reminder of our endless burden of racial guilt. A burden that only our pope of the race card could briefly lift from us in a climactic moment of electoral hope and change.
If Obama had enough time to spare in between playing golf, campaigning, wasting money and race-baiting, he might have taken a seat by the window, put his famous abbreviated chin on one skinny fist and searched his soul for all the people killed in Mexico by his own Attorney General’s plot to wreck the Second Amendment. But the soul-searching never seems to happen on the right side of the Oval Office window. It is a duty handed down to us from our betters, like schoolmarms urging us to “think about what you’ve done” until eventually you decide that you must have done something.
Obama said that it was “absolutely imperative” that the shooting be investigated at “federal, state and local” levels and praised the Florida governor for forming a task force to investigate the incident. From the overload of rhetoric, an outside observer might have been forgiving for assuming that this was the first time anyone had been shot in the country this year.
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